Got up this morning to promising sunlight. Hawes is apparently a popular biking town (there were a number of the bikers with their machines lined up outside a busy looking diner before we left). The road out was quite straightforward, lined with speed warning for the bikers and mortality statistics. The tight bends and death warnings made me wary, but as we reached the brow of a hill some pigs trotting merrily in their muddy garden cheered me up. Pigs, I decided as I watched them munch on thistles, really will eat anything; are they not supposed to be one of the more intelligent creatures? I see discernment as a quality associated with intelligence; perhaps the pigs are privy to some knowledge about categorisation that I’m not. As we stopped to admire the pigs we decided Sun cream would be necessary.
As we hopped over a dry stone wall, sheltering behind an abandoned shack for lunch, we decided we’d wasted Sun cream; it was time for waterproofs. The rain seemed to be following us; every so often we’d get ahead of it, and then whenever we rested it would catch us up and drench us to the bone.
The rain only seemed to get worse, and we decided to take a break in Horton-in-Ribblesdale, simply because since planning the trip Robert had been set on visiting the place. Don’t ask me why; I think it was some superficial reason like it had a bizarre name or something. We piled through the door of a tea room for a mug of hot chocolate. This was one of the strangest tea rooms I’ve ever been in (thanks to Grandparents I have a reasonably background of visiting these quaint, British cafes). The tea room was essentially someone’s front room; an adjoining room featured some leather sofas, a wide screen TV and photos of someone called “Doris.” In the tea room (literally a room for tea) were a number of small tables, the wall was crowded with random pictures of family members (biological and regal) and commemorative plates. To my right a table was stacked high with jars of jam and bags of biscuits. An old couple sat secluded in a corner, shrouded in shadows from the dim light, and three young builders absorbed all the attention in the middle of the room, chatting loudly and greeting us warmly.
We ambled on, and off the road I noticed cakes for sale. Any excuse to get some grub, I wandered off buying a large sponge cake. This resided in my pocket for the rest of my day, becoming increasingly compact. I sat chewing it in the tourist information stoop in Settle, the rain forming a curtain separating me from the grey streets beyond. After arriving in Settle we discovered there’s no youth hostel here, all the inns are full and we’d passed the sodden camping ground half an hour ago. I’m not a huge fan of camping, and our items were too wet to camp; we have no dry clothes, and no clean ones either. The situation was looking dire; however, a ray of hope pierced our desperation when Dad called to give us details of a few guesthouses that had vacancies.
We limped, shivering, between the suggested venues, but at “Oast” the door refused to open for us and the King William IV had lied online about its vacancies and turned out to be full. The guy at the door recommended the Settle Lodge, hen we asked him to suggest somewhere. We called ahead, and after meandering about town looking for it, we discovered the plush establishment behind a rather prominent bush. Not a moment too soon, since Euan was shaking uncontrollably and mumbling incoherently by this point; hypothermia was about to set in.
Fortunately the couple who own Settle Lodge are exceedingly nice and accommodating. They led us into an en-suite room, recommended somewhere good to eat and offered to dry our clothes. They also offered to give a few things a quick wash for us too! We are doing this walk in aid of charity, but have met with much charity ourselves along the way.
We sat, half dead, at the Indian buffet recommended to us and filled ourselves up on two jugs of lassi and all we could eat. The food tasted excellent, not just because we were famished, and the buffet selection put me in mind of the food I’d had in India a few years before. It’s rare to get authentic tasting food without possible food poisoning, but this was spot on, and for the three of us (lassi included) the meal came to a reasonable £40.
Off to Earby tomorrow; apparently not far as the crow flies, but complicated by roads and farms. I’ll be reluctant to venture away from the comfort of Settle Lodge; a haven and run by eager, kind folk.