We set off from Langwathby after visiting its post office. The people in the post office were as lovely as their village. Langwathby has a village green surrounded by a village hall, a pub, the shop and, on the outskirts, a railway station. If I wanted to move to Cumbria I would move to Langwathby.
The weather was perfect for strollers today with a cool wind and a slightly overcast sky. The little road, on which we strolled, was virtually free of traffic. From behind we heard the swish of tyres and the chatter of many voices as a group of coast to coasters passed us, cheerily crying out greetings and other pleasantries.
Just after being passed by the lycra clad cyclists we passed a more sedate coast to coaster parked on the side of the road. A cyclist more like myself I thought.
Janet’s cousin Ian told us that we must see Lacey’s Caves. We had no idea what Lacey’s Caves might be but, as they were close to our trail, we decided to take Ian’s advice. The website entry suggested that the caves were not easy to find and were dangerous when found, both good reasons for giving it a go.
We found the path to Daleraven Bridge which seemed to be, more or less, in the right direction and followed it. The bridge in the photo isn’t Daleraven bridge, it is just a bridge for cattle on our path the Daleraven Bridge. To pass on we had to duck under a line made of binder twine used to turn the cows down into the field. This is a wheeze we have used many times ourselves. Cows are a bit dim and can be easily gulled with lengths of binder twine.
Further on down the path the council had erected a sign saying that the path was closed due to its collapse. There was no barrier to climb so we pressed on. The path followed a narrow lane lined with wild flowers and with the smell of wild garlic in the air.
It quickly became obvious that what had once been a broad sandy stroll had fallen into the river. We could see upside down trees in the river and chunks of path missing
As we strolled onwards our confidence grew that we were probably going to able to get through to the caves and continue onwards to our destination without too much difficulty.
Lacey’s Caves were hewn out of the sandstone rock for Colonel Lacey of Sankeld Hall. Colonel Lacey was obviously a bit of a lad as he also tried to blow up the Long Meg stone circle. I’m not sure if the caves were a fashionable folly or a wine store. There are five interconnected chambers and I read somewhere that Colonel Lacey may have employed a hermit.
After Colonel Lacey’s Caves we thought that we had had enough excitement for the day, but we were wrong. The council’s warning notice wasn’t just the usual council notice. The usual council notice forbidding passage due to dangerous conditions can be initiated by a pebble larger than usual being found on a beach or a twig falling off a tree onto a beetle. Today’s notice saying that the path was missing in places was true.
The drops in the photo look fairly insignificant but my camera foreshortens things so swinging around the marker post was more exciting in practice than you might think. We could have climbed over the barbed wire fence but decided to stick to the country code and follow footpath markers.
We bought a pice of brie a few days ago and it has been with me in my pack as we walk. Before setting out this morning we inspected this piece of brie and it looked ready. We packed some teaspoons in order to be ready to dig in when a suitable place to sit presented itself. We found a suitable place and ate the brie, all of it, it was like a delicious custdardy pudding.
Years of morris dancing stood us in good stead as we strode confidently over the wooden path through the bog. No balancing poles for us. The circus life beckons after this demonstration of funambulism.
The roads, on which we have walked today, have been incredibly quiet. Janet was standing in the middle of the road for ages reading the map, nothing came. It was as if cars, lorries, buses etc no longer existed.
Tomorrow we head for Carlisle, a shortish day. This evening we have to work out how to get to Glasgow by foot. There are a number of options but which one will get the nod? Will we have to retrace our steps?