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Day 8: Keld to Reeth
Overnight the threatened rain never developed as far north as Keld (or Tan Hill), but the day began misty and chilled. We caught a ride back to our starting point in Keld, and set off later than usual across the River Swale, and up along the slope, heading south along the valley.
Today’s walk offer the choice of visiting the ruins left by vast lead mining operations, in the hills above Keld, or continuing down the idyllic path of the Swale, which we did. Nonetheless, there is ample evidence of the depopulation that occurred when the mines shut down with abandoned and crumbling stone houses and barns the length of the valley.
The day turned gradually pleasant and warm, with actual sunshine by 2:00 and the walk was great fun. We took several small deviations after turning east towards Reeth. We came upon hundreds of rabbits in the low corner of a field and along the way we saw ample evidence of both the damage they were doing to the pastures and the locals’ ongoing fight against rabbit overpopulation.
Passing through Gunnerside just before noon, we had to decide between waiting for the pub to open and pushing on and lunching on the oranges we had in our packs. We went on.
Just on the outskirts of Reeth, we talked briefly with stone masons, Belkeniron and son, working to restore a stone house above the Swale. They wondered if we were the two walkers expected at their house that evening. We walked on with some regret that we had not spent more time appreciating his craft.
Arrival in Reeth was later than expected, but we found friends from British Columbia outside the Black Bull there.
Today was James’ birthday, and the crowd treated him to a chorus of “Happy Birthday” in the blended accents of Austria, Canada, and Britain.
We found lodging at the Hackney House, cleaned
up and arrange for a load of laundry, the returned for dinner at the
Black Bull. The only Internet connection we have seen for days
turned out to be out of order, email will have to wait for a day
until we get to the Richmond Public Library.
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