Musings From The Padded Cell

Day Six – Greetings From Everest…Well Bowness!

“I don’t want this to end…well the walking bit yes but not the nights!”

The comparison could not be more obvious; after the pig shed, a place where you would hesitate to take your dog we’d ended up somewhere that you just have to come back.

We spent the evening by the fire with Patch taking the lead as chief firemaker; we prayed he was better at this than outward bound.

He was sharing with Leapy and they’d had a bath though nobody dared ask who got the taps.

They’d had an hour on the bed watching an afternoon show that Leapy is a fan of. It seems home working has it’s guilty pleasures but don’t tell Lady Stephanie.

The food was simply magnificent, the wine in equal company.

Patch admitted that if he lived up here he would volunteer for the local rescue service; if he did I made a note never to get lost up here.

The fire began to die and, not wishing to go to bed anytime soon, Big Al began to stoke the embers like a demented caveman.

As the fire spluttered and spat we said a silent thanks for natural gas.

This place truly had healing powers; Big Al could walk again, Patch’s blisters had healed and Leapy’s capacity for denial had been restored.

“I could do a hundred miles tomorrow if need be” he announced assisted by another giant glass of wine.

We met up again with three octogenarian walkers who looked far fresher than us and far less dependent on alcohol.

Earlier in the day we’d met about halfway through the torment, just after we’d convinced Big Al not to leap off the bridge over the M6. We didn’t want to tell Luckless the body could be in Stoke.

The difference of approach was clear as they sat eating Kendal mint cake; we had set off without a Mars Bar between us.

They said their goodnights, staying someplace else, still in pristine walking gear looking nothing like the four stinking tramps we had several hours earlier.

Even though we had the smallest leg of the ordeal left, sense attempted to gain a foothold.

Several announcements of “just one more” were duly made and ignored, vanishing up the chimney.

Who needs a viaduct?

Morning came and blow me, sunshine! This was truly a place for miracles. Surely it’s healing propensity would ensure we finished the tour as a band of four.

The breakfast was magnificent apart from the James Blunt background music. Having had my first uninterrupted night’s sleep in a week, not even he could spoil this day.

And then there were three.

Big Al waved us off as we headed out in bright sunshine. We got a cheerful wave from a lady in Burneside as she warned us to get our sunscreen on; was I dreaming?

We followed the River Kent and the day had a surreal beauty about it. Gorgeous green fields, fluffy sheep and the sounds of the countryside free from a cussing and wheezing old man.

Patch further trashed his chances of ever making Countryfile, taking forever to work out a gate latch, in the process missing the open stile adjacent. Back to city living.

Farmer?

We passed some stunningly beautiful apartments that one could only guess the asking price for overlooking the river.

Thinking we’d gone wrong again – we had but only by trusting an aged guide – somehow we were on the wrong side of the river.

It was only when we found the wonderful Mr Duffin’s coffee shop in Staveley that we found out the bridge we missed had not been missed by the floods a few years ago.

Big Al was waiting for the final 6 miles of torment for his broken body. The owners were pleased we shepherded him out.

Onwards and upwards.

Up we climbed amidst stunning scenery.

Water hazard.

We met up with our octogenarian friends going their own steady pace as we ploughed on courtesy of GPS and Ghurka Patch.

Made it!

Eventually our destination, so far away mentally and physically for most of the last week, came into view revealing herself slowly and seductively; I had been in male company too long.

What a week we’ve had. To anybody considering anything like this I recommend it as one of the best weeks you will ever have.

It will hurt, you will smell like a tramp and there may be days you just want to sit down and stop. But when you get there it’s a beautiful feeling.

Thanks for following us this week, we’ve appreciated the banter along the way. I think it’s time for a beer.

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