Saturday, 10 May 2014

Day 12 : Dufton/Appleby - Garrigill (27km)

Total distance covered so far : 295 km

This morning as I reached to silence the alarm, I could hear the rain on the window. No need to look. The dreary prospect of setting off already waterproofed troubled my partly awake mind and I snuggled back under the duvet. Repellent memories of cycling to school wrapped in cheap waterproofs with leaking seams, soaking shoes and stinking blazers in steaming classrooms made me wish I could just lie in and go nowhere!

I had naively guessed from the pastoral views of the Eden Vale from High Cup Nick yesterday that today's hike would be somewhat flat. Then I checked the map! Oh dear! Today is scheduled to be a huge clamber up Great Dunn Fell, Little Dunn Fell and then Cross Fell, rising up to the highest level of the entire Pennine Way before falling slowly into Garrigill. In the rain too. Bugger!

Thankfully the rain eased by the time I started walking but not for long. As I trudged and squelched up Great Dunn Fell, I rose to meet the clouds. Things changed then, for sure! At one point about 800m up Little Dunn Fell, a storm blew through with such force that I began to think how stupid I had been to not have Plan B ready, just in case! The rain and hail flew past sideways and the wind was so strong I could barely put one foot in front of the other. My hiking poles flayed around in the gale unless I wrestled them down and the slope was muddy, slithery and inclined at about 45 degrees. And I still had to go up blindly on a compas bearing into the fog, mist and howling gale! At that point, I did feel very alone. I've not been in weather like that since I was a kid on top of Ben Nevis in March; which was actually worse, as it was a total white-out! But this was very frightening.

Here's the pictures from the day.

Calm start...
Stream where the path should be!
Goodbye normality.
Hello dark, other world...
There's a 'golf ball' transmitter up there in the distance.
Summit of Cross Fell. Highest point on the Pennine Way.
Last remains of snow in the hollows.
Lots of very pretty purple stone. Don't know what they are.





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