Ponden to Gargrave: lunch in Ric’s hometown of Lothersdale

Miles: 19.25

Elevation: 1821 ft

So much to write today. I probably can’t get it all out at the moment. Today we walked 19 miles. It was the most glorious day. Weather was perfection. The miles came easy. It was the best day yet. And the longest.

It is a bit of a challenge to define how the longest day walking could be the easiest and the most enjoyable. We’ve learned a few things about helping ourselves feel good while we walk. But it wasn’t just that.

Some would say that we are on a walking holiday. We’ve met another couple who we are on the trail with — they stop at 11am and 2pm. Each evening they’ve arrived at our destination an hour before us. They are beautiful walkers.

We eat. We should call it a snacking holiday! We eat and walk and walk and eat. Today it was green apples, Yorkshire Crisps, M&Ms, wine gums, croissants. It takes our mind off our feet and honestly, I’m starving. 19 miles builds an appetite.

At one point a woman came out of her kitchen when we were in Ickornshaw and stopped us. She asked if we’d like for her to refill our water for us. We got to chatting and Ric told her that he had gone to Craven Primary School. So did she and her husband. She started asking if he knew so and so and so and so. Such a sweet interaction.

The terrain was different and gorgeous today. Up and down rolling hills. And funny enough, we longed for the uphills. So much easier on the feet! Truly our feet don’t hurt on the uphills. We also shared a lot of pasture with the sheep and cows today.

The beauty of gates: yes gates. We have gone through a lot of gates and stiles. They keep the sheep in, mostly, and let the people go through. Some are quite ingenious in their design.

This one uses a log as a counter-weight.
This was a lazy one — shove an old piece of bark in there and hope for the best.

Hunting: As we ventured across Cowling Moor this morning there was some grouse hunting going on. There was about 12 people with flags waving and their dogs ready. When this lady, dressed very sharp, blew her whistle everyone began to walk in a circle waving flags. Chasing the grouse toward the men with the guns. We learned later that property owners charge a lot of money for permits for this type of “organized” hunting. Then on the other side of the moor we walked by a “village” of hunting cabins. Regular guys go hunt from these cabins, shoot a few grouse for themselves.

You really DO need a 1000 pound Burberry hunting vest on the Pennine moor to make it Instagram worthy. She was for real, hard to believe.
Little hunting cabins.

Ric’s hometown: a highlight of the day was having lunch in Lothersdale, the village where Ric grew up. We ate at the local pub, cheese and branston pickle sandwiches.

Overlooking Lothersdale.
Hare and Hound Pub with a happy Ricky.

The Hills: they were rolling. We didn’t climb as high or as steep. The vistas were gorgeous and the locals kept saying how glorious the weather was — it’s true. We brought the NM Sun.

There is more to be written about this — after we’ve had time to reflect. But the contentment of walking really set in today. The easy laughing, the silence. The miles glided by with ease. And even though we had to stop several times to take care of our feet, we were back at it with very little effort.

There’s a poem in that if I was a poet — something that includes being stared at by sheep and scared by grouse. Maybe it will come to me after a bit.

Tomorrow is a short six mile day. We are sleeping in and having full breakfast. Our friends suggest we get ice cream on the way out. Ice cream before lunch! We shall see.

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