Day 7              Orton to Kirkby Stephen

12.7 miles                Fair and dry

Breakfast at Chestnut Garth was very nice and taken in the conservatory.  Our boots were more or less dry and we were soon on our way.

It was nice to be walking with dry feet, no rain and less in the way of marshy ground.   We began with road walking then joined wide green paths across fields and Ravenstonedale Moor.

House in Orton.  Photos today taken with my phone while my camera recovers

Starting with road walking...

... then into fields

Green paths across fields for much of the day

This was a relatively easy day although our legs were tired from yesterday, but it became a lovely walk when we came to Smardale Bridge where the sun was shining and the views were terrific.

After Ravenstonedale Moor we followed a stone wall for a couple of miles, eventually finding a sheltered spot overlooking Begin Hill where we settled down to our coffee, waving to The Aussies as they passed by. 

We found this grisly head, unsure whether fox or hare

Taken as we sat enjoying our coffee

Moving on, a steep descent took us to a disused railway line, then across Scandal Beck at the picturesque Smardale Bridge.  

We startle the natives

Descending to the disused railway line

Smardale bridge over Scandal Beck

We then walked up onto Smardale Fell where there was an excellent view of Smardale Viaduct in the distance.  The walk from here to Kirkby Stephen was straightforward until we misread a sign at Greenriggs Farm.  Doubling back to correct ourselves we met a man in his 30s, walking fast and heading in the same direction as ourselves.  We walked with him for a few minutes and he told us he was doing the C2C in 10 days, having walked 19 miles from Shap today and arriving with ourselves before 3pm.  He soon left us behind.

Smardale Viaduct in the distance

The weather brightens

We walked in to Kirkby Stephen and found a nice welcome at Fletcher House.  The Aussies arrived shortly after us and we were treated to coffee and cake by our hostess.  Then we wandered up the road to the Black Bull with the Aussies and indulged in a couple of pints.  We booked dinner at the Black Bull for 7 pm but the Aussies said they would stay and eat so they could have a very early night.

We enjoyed our fish dinner at the Black Bull.  Kirkby Stephen was full of members of the travelling community as nearby Appleby Horse Fair was in full swing.  As we ate we watched sukies being driven up the high street and travelers sat outside the pub drinking and talking raucously.  There was a great atmosphere about the place.

The forecast was dire for tomorrow with more heavy rain and wind which made us worry about crossing the Pennines by the Nine Standards route which is notorious for bad visibility and boggy ground.  We mentioned this to our host and she told us that paving had been laid over the worst area of the bog aided by a crowd funding scheme, and this had been recently opened.  We cheered up at this, perhaps we would take the Red Route over the top after all!