Unfortunately, the rain did not stop at all over night and the poor Crimson Moon took a battering from that and the gusts that rumbled through. Even the ear plugs did not help with this and I had the worst nights sleep of the week.
When we awoke it was found that even moving things into the centre hadn’t helped everyone. Sam and I were lucky to be in on of the centre-most compartments, but a few of our items did get soggy. Unfortunately, the same couldn’t be said at the guys who’d had the back compartment. Kel’s kit was saturated as was Andy’s. Still, at least we had the prospect of solid roofs and real beds to keep us going through the day. Just one day!
Tiky Taxi dropped us back by the church, and on the way we’d pondered our tactics. The first part of the walk was due to take us across fields a little way but with the quagmire horror or yesterday, and with a passing tractor driver informing us the path was virtually flooded, we decided to divert via tarmac road instead
Everyone was carrying at least one injury now. I’d had to put my old boots back on as my new ones were caked and wet on the inside but the damage was done to my right foot anyway. Ankles, knees, egos…all a little bruised.
Now this bit of the journey was well and truly flat BUT we only had 10 MILES TO GO. We mostly walked through tiny hamlet villages. One with a dyke that was virtully overflowing. In fact I think it was at some point, so a local with a bucket was trying to stop it. Thankfully it wasn’t rainy today, just overcast. At every opportunity, today, we stopped at cross road sign posts to take photos of us with how far we had to go.
The exciting bit of this day was crossing the salt marshes. We’d had to check the tide times to make sure we wouldn’t be washed away and sure enough, when we showed up, the road was clear but since it WAS a road, we’d taken to shouting at the rest of the group for oncoming cars. Also I’d not seen a marsh before so the site of it was new. The novelty wore off though and all there was to see was ongoing road, the edges of scotland and…swamp.
In the middle of this road we stopped for photos, of course. Scotland was giving us the gift of 3G signal so I used it to update some folk on our progress. My Dad had been particulally interested, him being a bit of a wanderer himself. I was also getting work colleagues who’d kindly sponsored in on the action with FourSquare. Ah technology.
At the end of the salt marsh road there was…more road. A pub was promised in a guidebook. Lies! But luckily there was a building, it’s sole purpose seeming to be a stop/picnic point and WC for walkers! We stopped for a short conversation with a lady about our walk with her made dog circling the yard. Not much for him to do out that ways I suspect other then chase the rather sodden looking cattle. You’d be sodden to if you were made to tread through swamp.
As far as I can make out we came and went through Port Carlisle pretty promptly, walking past a masseur’s sign that was taunting me! Only now have I just remembered my other (whiny) complaint of the walk: a sore shoulder! Serves me right for having a tiny pack, though it did carry everything I needed. What was the point of overloading!
We were on the home straight when we were joined by a smiling pretty lady who I’d correctly assumed was the absolute saint that has to put up with the caffeinated, sugar-powered (3)5 year old. We’d had a call from Iain and Susie and they weren’t far off. We’d got to the edge of Bowness when we saw them and frantically got Susie out of the van so she could start as she’d begun! Iain ran ahead taking snaps and when we’d paused to let Gary go ahead first, we got a head shake in reply. And then, finally, our destination! The Kings Arms pub for our last stamp and hopefully a beverage or two.
It was shut when we got there but due to brilliant timing, the landlady returned from shopping and quickly opened the door before we were about to head off. So in we filed to pat each other on the back, have some final words, and take a rest before, some of us, went their separate ways.
T-shirts were purchased, pints were brought and guzzled, photos were snapped and positive words were exchanged and jokes were revisited. I still need to send the passport off to get the pin badge to add to my mini collection.
Eventually time was getting on. Sara had a train to catch, Kel had a family to see, and we had a hotel to check in to! Gary had booked Iain, Susie, Drew, Jane, Dave, Ant (in place of a poor chap who couldn’t make it in the end), Sam and myself into The County Hotel back in Carlisle so we could rest up before journeying back home on the morrow.
Our room on the third floor was a welcome prospect though annoyingly our lift was out of order and because we had all our stuff from the Tiky Taxi Trailer to take up meant the physical work was not done yet! Once in, baths were had and some major relaxing was done before dinner at 7. I fell asleep watching some daytime TV show and was annoyed to be awoken but glad because I was very hungry!
Drinks then dinner and trying to ignore the raucous partying of the ‘experienced’ (yes I am using that word again) bingo goers next door. No, I mean it, they were making a lot of noise and dancing on tables. At least this helped me stay awake through eating but as soon as pudding was done I could be polite no longer and practically ran to my bed. And out like a light I went with only one or two interruptions from some of Carlisle’s pub clientele.