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I had to start this post with a Coast to Coast sign, as it shows what a perfect day we have had. Indeed, there is not much to report, other than we walked along the abandoned railway line for most of the morning quite comfortably, met up with all the friends we had made along the way and potter along cheerfully chatting, even when our feet were burning from the miles under our feet and a bit too much tarmac.

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So we have ended up in this pretty village — miles from top to bottom, and of course the pub and our B and B were at the bottom — with just about everyone we have walked with along the way. There is Terry, Karen and Incey, the Three Musketeers (mercurial Dave, magisterial Dave and lugubrious Matt), Celeste and Pedro (nurse and surgeon, now we know) and Neill and James, who was not well today and did the Sherpa van express. Neill is raising money for cancer charity and just left one job before another. He seems to be finding it tough, but chirped up remarkably tonight at the pub.

It was a near perfect day, climbing out of Clay Bank on our own and out onto the moor, joining up with Incey and his owners, and finally the boys. The sun shone and the path lay along the old mineral railway. It was long and perhaps a bit hard under the foot, but as more of us joined up the chat pushed us along. It’s actually hard to remember details of the walk, because most of what I recall is moving in and out of conversation and failing miserably at remembering all the verses of “Waltzing Matilda”, giving the boys the chance to completely mystify Celeste with “Ilkley Moor” — how does without thy had become abaht t’at? And my synopsis of the song didn’t really satisfy either Paula, Celeste or Pedro… and nothing beat Mathew’s solemn response to each chorus, “wi’ thy pants down”!

Mercurial Dave has had so many disappointments with distances the he now believes that all the books, all the advice from locals and the Wainwright path itself are the work of “lying Northern bastards”, and as the afternoon drew on and everyone’s feet started to burn, we started to agree. We got to pretty Glaisdale and started down what we thought as the main street without seeing the promised pub, before realising that, like a couple of other places, the whole village was divided into two by a common, with half the houses at the top, and the other half with the pub at the bottom of the hill, which is where the railway station is as well.

We split off to our accommodation, and Paula, myself and the lads ended up at the wonderful Beggars Bridge B and B, drinking tea and earning toasted tea cake, a wonderful reviver before showering and heading off for the pub at 7 pm. Karen and Terry would be feeding Incey and tucking him into his bed in their pub bedroom — he really is a wonder dog. We have convinced them to finish the walk with us tomorrow rather than stop and Little Beck: the weather is going to hell on Saturday, and it’s fifteen minutes by taxi from the “Bay”, as everyone calls it, so they can celebrate with us and then sleep back in the village. A taxi ride against a 30 kilometre walk? No contest.

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