Day 7: Orton to Kirkby Stephen

We knew that today would be a hot day so we tried to be efficient.  It actually was the hottest day of the year so far in England.  I believe it was about 84 degrees midday. Still with an 8 am breakfast (same as every other day), we didn't get out until 8:45 am.

We saw our friend Jimmy as we were taking off and walked with him for most of the day.  He is in the foreground of the blog photo for today.  Jimmy is an 82 year old from England with a REALLY heavy accent.  Today is the first day that I'm starting to understand most everything he says.  Sweet soul.  He's doing the whole C2C solo and has a unique way of getting across.  He has a VW camper van and a small car and will go to the next days' finish location to sleep.  Then in the morning he drives the car back to the start location and hikes back to the camper.  Then he drives the camper back to the start location, hitches the car to the camper and drives to the next days finish location.  He does this every day.  And he's 82!  His camper gets 40 miles to the gallon too!  I want to grow up to be like Jimmy!

We had a lot of pasture hiking today and set a pretty good pace, usually hiking about 3.2 miles per hour.  But with snack, photo, and bathroom breaks our actual avg. time was down to 2.6 mph.  Still a pretty good pace.  We wanted to make good time to get out of the sun as soon as possible.  And there wasn't many opportunities for shade today.  Early on we saw a field with miniature horses - these obviously were a big attraction for the kids and we took some time with them before moving on.  About an hour into the hike we caught up with our Australian friends, Charlie and Sue and we joined forces hiking most of the rest of the day as a group of 7.  Charlie and Sue are in the back row of today's blog photo.  This was to be Charlie and Sue's last day before going on to other adventures (they will likely be back next year to finish their hike.)

We took a lunch break a little after noon today after having hiked close to 9 miles.  We found the one shady spot for miles, under a walking bridge with a nice stream.  It was a beautiful place to stop for our packed lunches - PBJ sandwiches and fruit. 

The heat became a little oppressive when we started up again. Today was Olivia's day to wilt a bit.  And Jonah and Lara gave her the encouragement she needed to continue.  I also found that chocolate espresso beans were good incentive.  I had a bag from the chocolate factory that were quickly melting.  So I gave them 2 each every 1/4 mile.  I felt a bit like a dog trainer rewarding my pet for tricks! ;-)   Olivia bonked during the stretch that we had separated from the other 3 (we took different lunch breaks), but by the time we caught up to them again she was doing well and finished the hike in good form.

We also got a show from the Royal Air Force who did some fly bys.   They were doing some training, but it definitely felt like they saw us and were putting on a bit of a show for the kids.  And that really gave the kids a boost too!

We made it to Kirkby Stephen at 2:15 pm.  Everyone agreed that today was the easiest day of our hike so far - not our shortest, but the least taxing (except for the heat).  Unfortunately the inn where we are staying (Old Croft Inn) was closed until 3 so the others sat down to wait and I went across to the outdoor store and got some information about tomorrow's hike from the owner.  After we got in to our rooms and showered, Jonah and I went back to the outdoor store (Eden's) to get Jonah a hat and me a compass.  I just didn't want to be caught in the middle of nowhere with just my watch and have it lose power.   The owner spent a good 20 minutes going over how to use it on a map with Jonah and me.  I've used compasses before, but it was great to get a refresher course and also for him to teach Jonah how to use it.  The girls went to do the laundry - sounds very gender specific activities, but it was just how we have divided things for this trip.  Lara does the laundry, and I organize, navigate, and get everyone out the door on time!

We went back to our inn to relax and read before dinner.  Our place is great and the owners, Nick and Rachel, are very warm and hospitable.  They are going out to get us vegan cheeses for our pack lunches tomorrow!  Definitely would recommend this place for people passing through.

We met Charlie and Sue for dinner at Mango Tree Indian restaurant and had a great time relaxing and sharing stories.  Another perk of this trip, we're making friends with people from all over the world!  Now we are back in our rooms reading and writing journals before heading off to bed (at about 10 pm) so we can get an earlier start tomorrow.

One quirk of my GPS watch - it tracks steps and lets you know when you have been stationary for too long.  So most every day after a 12-15 mile hike, I'll sit down to rest for a while and then my watch will buzz and will flash the word, "MOVE".  I'm thinking, "Really?  What do I have to do to get you off my back!"  :-)  

Distance hiked: 12.7 miles
Total time hiking:  4 hrs.  52min.
Avg. miles per hour: 2.6 miles per hours
Total Ascent: 1180 ft.
Total Descent:  793 ft.

Lara's Observation of the Day:  Today felt easier than any other day so far except for the heat.  Fortunately, we were entertained by farm animals, the kids stories of books they have read, and the Royal Air Force flying overhead!

Olivia's Observation of the Day: We stopped at a cute spot under a bridge for lunch just as the sun began to feel scorching.  That gave me a bit of a boost just as I was starting to wear down.

Jonah's Observation of the Day: I loved the views of all the bridges today - we even saw one that looked like the one used in Harry Potter when the kids are on the way to Hogwarts!