Walking The Walk: Laversdale to Beaumont

About to set off, destiny is up and to the left
Prior to setting off, we pointed towards our destiny.
Photo by Iain Sewell

Just for once, we all started together at the same time! And we had our Gary back!

The Tiky (I realise I’ve spelled this different each time, ah well) Taxi dropped us off at the bus stop in Laversdale where we’d finished the previous day. Day seemed pleasant enough and after a few silly photos we were raring to go. Well I was anyway, which I think went to show just how good an idea the change of boots was!

More fields meant more lifestock and more innane giggling at Kel’s liverpudlian Ewe puns. He did the best scouse accent and so got the most laughs.

Quick pub stop at The Stag Inn
Us having a Bevvie at the Stag Inn.
Photo by Me

Our first stop was the Stag Inn and the first sign of 3G mobile I’d had in a while. This was a lovely, old pub so we stopped for beverages. Tea for everyone, except me who had a cola. And here was we worried about buying a flask for hot drinks.

Whilst sitting outside the pub, we felt a few wet dots. After the bright start to the day, there was low cloud and specks of rain. As the day went on the rain went from drizzle, to light rain. We donned our waterproofs and trundled on along mainly tarmac at this point.

Just before we crossed the M6, Kel and I felt the need to do improtue song and dance routines in the styles of chickens. I can’t really remember what brought it on now. First we did That Tenacious D Song, then New York, New York. That one was inspired by me mishearing something Drew said about Frank Sinatra. I’d say it’s a funny story but I won’t repeat it as I’m certain it was one you had to be there for. Anyway, Sara tried capturing the bizareness on film but that’s tricky when everyone is moving about.

Before long, we were skirting the suburban bits just north of Carlisle town, through a lovely park and on a path beside the river. It wasn’t long before we were at The Sands Centre for our penultimate National Trail passport stamp and also our lunch stop. Just as we’d got inside, the rain started belting it down. I think we were all grateful for the warmth and shelter.

As we’d made even better progress, we were ahead of The Crimson Moon, though they’d also been scuppered by heavy traffic into Carlisle. As it was raining, it was decided that lunch would be better taken at the cafe in the centre to save faff and squash. We’d timed it well as we got our tables just before the cafe was swamped with ‘experienced’ theatre goes who were there to watch the Calendar Girls matinee.

The rain continued and we would just have to remember, but with the slogan of the walk (something about Mt Fu, though we weren’t in Japan) in mind, we pulled up our hoods and continued on. And were to come unstuck (or just plain stuck) in the afternoon.

Bridge over the Eden. Waterlevels high.
The river Eden is looking pretty full there…
Photo by Sara Wingham

The path continued along the river and under bridges. We reached our first proposed stop point in no time and decided to continue on. Massive error perhaps for when the nice gravelly/shallow muddy track of the footpath gave way to field/grass/knee high mud we not only slowed to try and find routes through that wouldn’t pull us down into the sinking depths of bog but we also got horribly, horribly wet. Even gators didn’t see off the level of wet, though I was helpfully informed by Ant that they did. Funny, because I’d be told by my expedition experienced, Army employed fiance that I wouldn’t need gators. My comfort here was that he didn’t have any on either.

To be fair, we had been warned by a group of ladies going the other way that it was a bit boggy. You live, you learn.

With my trousers legs clinging to my legs, I was a little grumpy. We made a decision to start using the road instead of the track which ran paralell anyway, pretty much. We had to come off the track anyway as a diversion to the national trail had been put in place due to a mudslide. Big surprise there!

Us lot after braving the muddiest field ever
Us lot after the horribly muddy bog. Note the forced grins and distance between Sam and I!
Photo by Kel

As I was fed up and keen to get back to camp and into the dry, I spurred on ahead at a bit of a march. The end was in site anyway and I just wanted to get into shelter at the very least.

No pubs in Beaumont, but we had to make do with the local church (St Mary’s) porch whilst waiting for Iain. A local popped in to close it up and was happy that someone was using it, even if we were just sheltering from the rain.

When we got back to site, shivering and dying for a shower, we noticed the poor marquee was suffering from the wet too. We pulled our stuff away from the sides and in our sitting area we tried to avoid the drips. The space around the fire got quite crowded with mud caked boots.

As it was to be our last evening in the marquee, and a bit of a farewell to The Crimson Moon as we currently know it, Iain told the story of the invention of the Crimson Moon drink ‘Maidens Cream’. I’d not actually heard it before! I won’t spoil the tell but Maidens Cream is a refreshing blend of Vodka, Red Bull and Vanilla ice cream.

With a barrel of beer to be finished, and The Crimson Moon to be drunk in for the last time under Iain and Susie’s care, a few stayed awake to drink and chat but, as ever, Sam and I went to bed fairly promptly. One last day to go!

Mileage for the day: approx 13 miles