Deepdale to Langdon Beck YH
(Posted the next day from Dufton)
Today: 17.5 miles
Total so far: 723.0 miles
Percentage completed: 43.3%
(Click map to enlarge)
The wind got up a bit in the night and Wanda Warmlite started to misbehave. She got all jittery and so I snapped in her internal restraints (cross bracing for the large diameter hoop) and things calmed down noticeably. I should also have pegged out the rear guy lines that brace her rear hoop but it was blowing a hooley out there and I was all snug inside so I let her backside wobble a bit!
So it was a bumpy night and when I finally got away in the morning I was slightly bleary-eyed. It was a bit of a trudge passing the reservoirs.
At Hannah Hauxwell’s idyllic meadow I had quite a frightening moment with a farmer's hound that looked like a cross between pit-bull, Rottweiler and Labrador: a leathery brown short haired athletic affair that vaulted the wall where his owner stood ineffectively whistling for the beast to come back to him. The dog ran full tilt straight at me and pulled up at the last moment as I swung my rucksack off my shoulder so I could get a better kick at the animal. It was an incredibly tense few moments. Lots of teeth, muscle and sinew all trying to tear me to shreds.
One tried and missed drop goal attempt later and with me shouting at the beast and its stupid owner, it ran back to the oaf, clearing the wall in one leap. No apology was offered. I have noted down the farm and will be speaking to the RSPCA about it when I return home. That animal was incredibly dangerous and this is a National Trail! His owner should be castrated publicly with a sign hung round his neck saying "I have a tiny dick."
By contrast, Middleton-in-Teesdale was a delightful spot. I arrived in good time to send completed guide books and maps home, buy postcards and arrive at the hotel for a few pints of Pedigree and a cauliflower soup, held firmly in place with ham sandwiches. The company in the bar was friendly and I noted that the accents (to my really bad ear) seemed to be slipping towards Geordie.
I was given the best place to buy pork and beef & gravy pies, which was shut so I settled for the second best pies and the barmaid donated some packets of mustard for my afternoon tea by Low Force. I liked Middleton - it has everything a walker and local could want and sits perfectly in its valley.
Everyone will tell you about the waterfalls and wildlife of the River Tees, but what struck me most was the Whinsill on the south of the river, hugely dominant and magnificent. It is also responsible for the Falls along the river and the quarry further up.
I had the south side of the river all to myself apart from one very rude fat walker who was bowling down a steep narrow section of the path in the opposite direction, poles flailing ineffectually. Now I don't know about you, but when I see a chap laden down with a dirty great rucksack coming up the hill towards me, I always but always move to one side to let the poor soul pass, before I carry on down the hill, grateful that I was going downhill.
Not so for this fat oaf. He bowled down, actually prodding my foot with the sharp end of his ridiculous pole at the end of his podgy arm, and actually bumping me off the track! Again, no apology offered. Incredible. I hope his thighs chafe and he gets lice in all his sweaty crevices.
So - a 'two oafs' day! I think the first two of the entire walk that I can think of! Not bad in 50 days of the trip. I shall try and be calm. It's not good for the blood pressure.
Tonight, I quite amazingly managed to get myself a berth in the Langdon Beck Youth Hostel. The very kind lady at the Middleton Tourist Office booked me in on-line. However, when I arrived here, the warden was quite surprised to see me. He thought he was going to be all alone tonight and seemed to be quite put out that I had arrived to spoil his evening. I showed him the confirmation of booking print-out, and he gave me my room - a compact but bijoux little two bunk room. The shower was good, but the warden did not want to do a meal, so I had one of my freeze-dried jobs. He has not lit the fire, even though he said he would.
The YHA should send their wardens on a B&B landlady hospitality course. The landladies seem to have it right. They always answer their phones, make you feel welcome and go the extra mile to make you almost part of the family.
But, on the positive side, they do serve beer here. Two very nice bottles of organic pale ale so far. I think I might have another, to fortify myself for tomorrow’s endeavours as Lynnie has just told me that the weather for crossing over to Dufton tomorrow looks pretty grim. I arrived here this afternoon in a cold claggy bit of rain that was getting more and more steady. It looks like its here to stay for a while. Ho hum!
No phone signal here this evening and so this will probably get sent from Dufton tomorrow night (If there's a signal there!)