Day 13 - Brough to Appleby

22km, no hikers

Field paths and farm tracks.

The seven-thirty bus dropped me at Brough for my walk to Appleby. The map showed a bridleway that I hoped would take me across the A66, but I found that the main road had severed it. I retraced my steps and chose another bridleway.

I can’t imagine any horse rider has passed this way since Lady Anne was a young lass. I found gates fastened by modern-day Gordian knots, gates that needed lifting, and gates I had to dismantle and rebuild. The process grew tedious, and by the time I reached Warcop I was stalled. A bus was due, and I was tempted. At such moments, the lone hiker has no one to raise his spirits and urge him on. I had to pull myself together. It was too early to give up, so I ate a snack and continued.

The route became more amenable, in that the gates easily swung open. I had a close encounter of the canine kind, being rescued from the threatening teeth of a farm dog just before, as its woman then explained, I crossed an invisible line into Fido’s territory. A mile further on I gossiped for ten minutes with a farmer who was driving round his fields, checking for signs of moles. I wished him the weather he wanted, and he wished me luck at dominos.

The morning’s low and level plod turned out better than the flat Vale of York section on the Coast to Coast walk, but the route is simply not high enough for my liking. Maybe the ‘Alternative’ via Crosby Garrett would suit me, although at that stage I wouldn’t have welcomed anything that involved extra miles. Appleby came into view, and I trundled gratefully into town. With a packet of sandwiches in my hand I swiftly climbed the steep hill to the railway station. The ride home on the Settle-Carlisle line was as perfect as ever.

Interlude

David and Helen visited from Australia, so I took a four-week break. The May weather was cold and wet, which didn’t suit any of us, and in such conditions I was not disappointed at having detached myself from the windswept northern hills.

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