Last night I was just too bushed to string a sentence together, such was the exhaustion we both felt at the end of the thirty kilometres we had climbed, scrambled, slipped, plodded and crawled over during the nine hours we were walking.

If you look at the map, you will understand the challenge. The walk out of the Lakes District takes you over Kidsty Pike, at 780 metres the highest point in the walk. If it were not still misty this morning, we would be able to see it behind us for the next couple of days. To get past the Pike, requires a steep climb out of glorious Patterdale, followed by some interesting navigating across the fells.

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The nice couple in the picture are taking their dog for three days on the route, and we have kept meeting them along the way. The dog loves it.

We walked past tarns and lakes, and enjoyed the view all the way out to the dales, until the mist came rolling in. This made life interesting, as navigation became critical. As we walked at high level across the narrow pass of the Straits of Rigdale, following the Roman road, we were on a track ten metres across that plunged on each side.

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The steep climbs, two hours into the walk were a bit much, but we were ok until the downhill started. It’s hard to explain how much energy it requires to go downhill, especially if you don’t want to injure yourself. With all our care, Paula and I both came away with sore joints from slips on the fifty degree slope.

The it was lunch, the five kilometres along Hawkeswater, and the long walk to Shap.

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Those last kilometres nearly finished us. We briefly glanced at the ruins of the Abbey, but it was only the enterprise of the local farm kids, leaving an esky of soft drink with an honesty box to raise money for African children, that really got us over the line.

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Thirty five kms and then a two km walk down the main drag of Shap to find our lovely BnB was the last house in the town. Very tired and weary, we were asleep by nine! What a walk, and tomorrow is longer— but perhaps on gradients that were less insane.

I should have mentioned that when the marvellous Margaret at Brookefields House saw Paula, her first reaction was to ask her if she wanted a good cup of tea (poor dear); and then didn’t recognise her when she had brushed up and had had a shower!