Day Nine: Kirkby Stephen to Keld

Day Nine of Wainwright’s Coast to Coast: Kirkby Stephen to Keld;  21 km, weather: warm and fine. 

An invigorating climb to the watershed of northern England, which is every bit as wet as you might expect. A boggy moorland traverse leads slowly and gently down through the wilderness to the beautiful headwaters of the River Swale. Martin Wainwright, “The Coast to Coast Walk, p. 92.

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Double click on the map above to enlarge. 

Surprisingly enough the trip today was anything but boggy and wet. The sun shone and we were treated to a wonderful day’s walk! Well rested from our rest day in Kirkby Stephen, we were up by 6.00am and packed ready for the day. From our bedroom window we could see the Nine Standards, a row of cairns on the horizon. The Standards will be our first “target” of today’s walk.

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Beautiful sunshine and clear blue skies awaited us for this spectacular part of the Coast to Coast. These first three pictures highlight the beauty of the countryside around Kirkby Stephen as we make our way to the Nine Standards. The fourth picture is the historic Northern Viaduct.

After crossing Frank’s Bridge we soon found ourselves in gradually rising fields, including Faraday Gill named after ancestors of the pioneer of electricity, Michael Faraday. On the upward journey we passed the Northern Viaduct, an incredible structure. It was on this stretch of path that we passed the official halfway mark of the Coast to Coast. We sat in the chair and some kind walkers took our picture.

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The halfway mark of the Coast to Coast and we finally are in a picture together! Ann obviously did not leave me much room to sit on the chair! Beautiful views looking back toward Kirkby Stephen.

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The Nine Standards in the distance and then close-up. It is uncertain why this row of cairns was built.

Within two hours we had reached the Nine Standards a unique row of cairns whose purpose is unknown. One school of thought is that from a distance they look like giant warriors and perhaps they were placed there to put off would be invaders.

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Gazing down the track we must follow.

After taking lots of photos and chinwagging with a group of English League players, whom we convinced that Australians had it all over the Poms in the League stakes, we soon took a course for Sheepfolds which led us down a trail passing Whitsundale Beck and arriving at Ravenseat Farm. This farm was made famous in Julia Bradbury’s “Coast to Coast” documentary. After an “exhausting” day braving the vagaries of English weather she alighted upon Ravenseat Farm and spoke to the owner who gave her a cup of tea and scones. The rest is history. Very few people pass Ravenseat without stopping for the fare. On our arrival at Ravenseat we enjoyed our cuppa with scones, jam and cream.

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After leaving the Nine Standards it was back on the track and heading downhill to Ravenseat Farm, where we scoffed down a beautiful afternoon tea of scones, jam and cream. Why don’t they have this along the tramping tracks of New Zealand.P1030533       P1030535P1030536       P1030534P1030537      P1030538 

These last six pictures show scenes as we made our way to our pick up in Keld. They are evidence that the spectacular weather remained with us.

We then waddled our way into Keld to await our lift to our overnight digs at Pry House. Our host, Glenda was most welcoming and drove us back to the farm. After a shower and a short nap we were transported back to Keld Lodge where we enjoyed dinner with other guests of Pry House Farm.

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