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Day 7: Kirkby Stephen to Keld
After a hard last two days, this morning we were looking for an easier path. There are seasonal routes from Kirkby Stephen to Keld, but despite the fine weather, we opted for the southern green route, hoping to avoid the worst of the bog walking. That worked well, but we spent a lot of time walking along roads instead of cross country. Perhaps it evened out.
The day grew warmer, sunny but with a haze, and by midday we were finding English couples everywhere out in the country reading newspapers and basking in the welcome sunshine.
We passed from County Cumbria to County Yorkshire shortly after rejoining the road , and walked on toward Keld above the narrow valley below. Dropped down to cross the river just below Catrake Force (waterfall). We arrived in town.
Keld is small. It's heyday included large lead mining operations in the hills above, but it's present is more about visitors passing through, since it is at the junction of the Coast to Coast and the Pennine Trail.
We ran into our Hollander companions from early in the walk, and others we have walked with in recent days, on the walled lawn of the Park Lodge, while having afternoon refreshments. There is no pub in town, a surprise at such a crossroads, but the hospitality we found at the busy Park Lodge made up for it.
When we tried to book a room in Keld, seven weeks ago, we found nothing closer than the Tan Hill Inn, four miles north along the Pennine Way. We were concerned about being so far off our path. Friends had assured us that we would be grateful for the substitution. Footweary, we called for a ride and were whisked to a joyous place on a desolate moor, at 1732 feet the highest inn in England. In celebration of our first night in Yorkshire, we dined on great Yorkshire Pudding (Jamesí first experience with it). The inn was cheerful, the Inn's playful kitten a friendly visitor, and the company by the cheery coal fire good.
We saw lightning flashes off to the south. The forecast was for wet weather overnight and tomorrow.
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