Day 18 Gargrave to Settle
It is difficult to write about a day in which all navigation has been perfect, all weather perfect, all trees perfectly in blossom and skies perfectly blue.
The Pennine Way soon wends its way across fields but we wandered up a lane lined with may blossom instead. The map indicated that there was a path on the other side of the walled lane, up which we strolled, in a field more or less parallel to the lane. Our slightly sunken and tree lined lane trapped the perfume of the trees just for us. In addition to the tree perfume there was also that of cows. Some people find the smell of fresh cow droppings offensive but for me the smell is a reminder of my past and I find it comforting.
The Pennine Way is full of various energetic types, people running, cyclists cycling at great risk to themselves and other, slower, persons and sometimes a family of kiwis striding forward like chamois. Today, being off the track was by contrast quite different, we have seen no one. We did see an ancient couple standing in the lane and looking at a house but that was it. If we say that they were an ancient couple you can imagine how ancient they were.
The leafy lane, along which we strolled, was very beautiful but lacked logs or other suitable seats on which we could take our ease for a moment. The margins of the lane were infested with nettles and where there were no nettles there was nowhere on which we could perch. Over these last couple of days our knees have worked beautifully when in an upright, standard, operating position. The difficulty has been in the transition from horizontal to vertical so, in order not to have the undignified spactacle of us rolling about until we can stand we sit on logs and boulders.
If there are any cows in a field I usually take photos of them. The cows today being Highland Cattle so I took lots. The poor blighters looked really hot and uncomfortable in their heavy fur overcoats. The calves in particular were roasting as they have much thicker coats than their mothers.
I learned today that the road our path joined for the last mile or so into Settle is used by cyclists doing the coast to coast run. We must have seen at least 30 whizzing past as we approached the town. Then, alarmingly, on the side of the road was a sign warning of a descent of 12% into Settle. We lengthened our knee protecting sticks and started to descend. We were met by many red faced and panting cyclists pushing their cycles upwards. Without exception they all wanted to know “Is it much further?” The first ones we met we replied “No not too far, just around that bend there.” Further down we had not the heart to tell them the truth about what was ahead so just wished them well and suggested courage
Settle is such a lovely town. After dumping our stuff at the Royal Oak we went for a stroll around in order to enjoy the sights, buy maps, blister plaster and a whopping ice cream each. A lovely day.