Trails and trials of the writer who walks
If you allow plenty of time, this leg of the PW can be a very pleasant pub crawl. I’ve never passed the Cross Keys at East Marton without calling in The range of Copper Dragon beers included Sun Chaser which refreshed perfectly. Good job I’m only aiming for Gargrave today, just a further easy 2 ½ miles. Some nice pubs in Gargrave too.
Just before the Cross Keys, on the canal section, is this charming double bridge.
Last night was my first wild camp. On the moors above Cowling, I had revelled in the quiet of it, but was not so keen on the number of spiders I had to chase around the tent. The litre of water I’d carried up was insufficient for breakfast, so on arriving at Lothersdale at 11:52 am in front of the Hare and Hounds (food served from 12), I was quite happy to sit and wait for the doors to open. When you’re camping, you do tend to get fed up with instant pasta meals, so it was with great relish that I tucked into a home-made corned beef and onion pie served with potato croquettes and rich gravy, all washed down by a pint of Saltaire Blonde. I had a large glass of red wine for my pudding. This Pennine Way lark is no hardship at all!
I had not met any backpackers attempting the whole route since setting off on Thursday, whereas on the same section a few summers ago I was part of a disparate convoy of around 30 hopefuls. This morning, during a window of non-rain, I had stopped at a non-descript gate to make a brew and four others turned up – two solo gentlemen and a couple who were doing the trail back-to-back. I don’t mean that was the position they were walking in, although considering what the naked rambler gets up to who knows! They had completed south to north and were now on their way back. And they were no spring chickens either, definitely silver-tops.
I fell into conversation with the solo back-packer who was going my way. He was from Morpeth in Northumberland. Steve. (Hi Steve! See you got to the end the Way before me, but only just!) We indulged in a lot of nerdy gear talk but I could barely keep up with him on the level so we didn’t walk together for long. We were destined to be the tortoise and hare, Wherever I arrived, he was already there. We shared a few pints at various locations and blamed each other for being a bad influence.