Sunday, 4 May 2014

Day 6. Thursday 1st May. Netherby to Arnside

It had rained heavily during that last night. The Terra Nova Competition hasn't leaked or flinched in gale force winds in over a hundred nights, but the atmosphere becomes damp and condensation gives a clammy feel. You have to move carefully to prevent the inner tent touching the condensation on the outer. Packing everything into the rucksack is demanding in the confines, and latterly agility seems to elude me.

I roughly stuff the rucksack and get all my belongings into the pristine heated toilet block and return to dismantle the tent, then regroup packing the sack correctly, and off we go.

There is damp fizzle in the air and I wear my waterproof, and the rucksack rain cover is deployed. The first fifteen minutes are slow and painful as my various joints accustom themselves. Such discomfort is familiar, but I know from experience that spirits lift after half an hour and pleasure can be taken from the surroundings and happenings, but today is not really like that because I have decided to return home for a reason that is unsettling.

I fall into a steady two and a half mph rhythm, and cover the five or six miles into Wetherby by about 11:30am. I have not eaten much in the last twenty four hours. I shamble into a confined rudimentary café, clumsy with my sack, wet gear and walking poles, and order a bacon and egg butty and a pot of tea, and then find myself re-ordering the same again. I am reluctant to leave the cosy, steamy protection of this haven to face the dampness outside. I go to pay and am almost embarrassed by the modest £5.50 and recklessly throw in an extra pound.

Fortunately the Tourist Information Office is only thirty yards across the road. I learn there is a bus to Leeds within twenty minutes, and the so called bus station is only a hundred yards down the road - things are looking up. They are looking up more when I board and find that I can use the bus pass I have only used once before in 2008 to travel from Penzance to Land's End.

It takes less than an hour to Leeds. Fortune continues. Leeds City railway station is only a couple of hundred yards from the bus terminus. Leeds to Lancaster and a short twenty minute wait will deliver me to Arnside by 3:55pm. When I flaunt my Railcard I find the cost is only £11.55! Wetherby to Arnside in three and three-quarter hours for £11.55 - that resonates well with my almost forgotten parsimonious Yorkshire birthright.

There is an eery feeling about the train journey as I reverse my route of the last few days and the train announcements relay the names of places I have walked through: Skipton, Gargrave, Giggleswick, and Bentham. I had not realised how closely I had followed the railway.




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3 comments:

Dr Ruth Livingstone said...

Sorry to hear you have had to go home. Still, it sounds as if you were rather wet...

mike M said...

Let us know how you're doing.

Sir Hugh said...

Ruth - thanks for your comment. My essential gear was not wet, nor my clothing, but just a sort of dampness in the tent in the morning. It is very unlikely that getting things wet would be a reason for packing in. Experience provides one with the means to control the possibility in the first place and ruses to sort it if it happens.

One celebrated backpacker I heard of booked into a B and B and removed all the pictures from the wall in his room and draped his wet tent round on the hooks to dry out, but of corse I would never do anything like that!

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Mike M -d daughter is awaiting an interview to re-apply for her present job. We have a contingency plan to set up a small retail/on-line business and I am helping with that at the moment, but just now we are in a state of limbo.