River Caldew

Cumbria Way Day 10

Today’s mission is simple – get to Carlisle. I’m ditching Fauld’s Brow. It looks rubbish. I reckon this might save me up to 3 miles. It’s still going to be bloody hard going though. If need be it’ll be on with the MP3 player for the duration.

And so it proved. Day 10 turned out to be the hardest day of all.

The wind whistled around the barn all night and it took ages to get out of bed (or should that be off of mattress). It was only when I saw that the weather was brightening up, although still windy, that I got going. But none of my gear had dried out and so I started the day wet, and got dried by the weather for once.

The wind helped me down the farm road and having suited up for bad cold weather, off came the first layer, waterproofs, at the main road. I followed the lanes into Caldbeck and then picked up the CW there, heading out alongside the River Caldew along a bridleway.

Very soon I found today’s villain – horses. The bridleway through the wood was all churned up and slippery. When the revolution comes and I am supreme dictator, one of my first decrees will be that horses can only use one side of bridleways, and that those falling foul will be slaughtered and fed to prisoners.

The mud slowed me down and what should have been a simple stroll through the woods became very hard going. Eventually, the path dipped down alongside the river Caldew and I saw a pair of sunglasses on a rock. With no sign of their owner and no chance of knowing which direction they’d gone in, I left them there (they wouldn’t have suited mer). By the time I got to Sebergham the muddy bridleways were pretty much done and I found the owner of the sunglasses who hugged me when I said, yes I had seen them. The hug stopped abruptly when I pointed out that I hadn’t actually picked them up. She and her companion were also doing the CW and were the first, and only, CWers that I saw on the whole trip. We parted with “may see you later”s. (We didn’t).

Caldbeck Clouds
Caldbeck Clouds
Carrock Fell and High Pike from Caldbeck
Carrock Fell and High Pike from Caldbeck
River Caldew
River Caldew

Across the fields from Sebergham church and I was onto the riverside path across grassy fields, and soon was eating the miles up.
A lunch stop in a field of daffodils and then I was on my way again, but fading fast. A detour along the road in Dalston brought me to a painful crawl, and the cycle route into Carlisle alongside the railway, was miles of unremitting tarmac too, so on went the MP3 player to help me get through it. It didn’t help that the whole city was out walking their dogs, and at times it felt like I was wading through a canine sea (dogs will be the first thing to be banned after the revolution) Emerging from under the railway, a passing local told me it was 5 miles to go, when my map showed only 3 grid squares (I.e. 3km) to go. Still it felt like 5 miles. I arrived at the finish at Carlisle Castle having done 17.5 miles and how I managed the additional 1.5 miles to the Travelodge I don’t know.

Carlisle Castle - Finished !
Carlisle Castle - Finished !

Today’s stats:

Distance: 27.96km
Ascent: 92m (but 382m of descent)
Time: 7:01
Highlights: the grassy riverside walk.

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