It was still dry when I woke but the forecast was for a particularly wet and generally awful day so I packed everything into a large waterproof stuff sack and pulled the built-in cover over the rucksack.

Going down for breakfast I sat next to a couple of blokes, who had walked from Borrowdale the previous day. They were walking as a group of four and had found it tough going. One of the lads told me they were from London, and although they had completed some long training walks, they had all been on flat terrain.

‘Nothing prepared us for the Lake District!’ he said. I asked whether they had ever been to the Lakes before. ‘No, never!’ was the reply. He added ‘I wondered why me father-in-law just laughed at me when I told him where we were going!’

He had also accidentally walked over the Helm Crag ridge to Grasmere as he and one of the other walkers had become separated from the two with the map. His companion (who told me he had been one of those with the map) had hurt his knee and so planned to ride on the baggage bus rather than risk a long, tough and probably wet day… I was almost tempted to join him when I noticed it had already started to rain.

I gathered my stuff, left the pub, dashed back to hand in the room key that was still in my pocket and walked out of Patterdale. As the rain grew heavier I put on waterproofs although this is the last resort for me as I detest the ’boil in the bag’ effect.

Leaving Patterdale

The path slants up the fell side towards Boredale Hause; it is a fairly gentle ascent, and when I looked back I could see Patterdale and its surrounding fells gradually disappearing. Today was the day Doris the GPS really came into her own- there are a myriad of paths at Boredale Hause so I was able to be confident I had chosen the correct path to Angle Tarn. I could see Kathy and Dan ahead plus another couple, and Lynne and Andrew came past me so we spent a few minutes moaning about the weather.

Climbing to Boredale Hause

I couldn’t see Angle Tarn initially but the clouds parted for a few seconds before hiding it again. Following a track to avoid bogs on Satura(ted) Crag, me and the other couple realised we had left the path to The Knott but were soon able to pick it back up.

Angle Tarn

There followed a long and very wet ascent towards Kidsty Pike, with zero visibility and horizontal rain… not pleasant walking! I passed Carrie and Ed hunkered down by a wall, eating lunch, and they caught up with me when we reached a junction of tracks. A glance at Doris confirmed that we needed to take the path that looped a sharp left towards Kidsty and so we sloshed our way up. I didn’t bother going up to the summit cairn as there was nothing to see, so started the long and wet descent to Kidsty Howes, where the path drops steeply to Haweswater, which I could just see emerging from the cloud. This is a bit of a tricky descent and I needed to use my hands.

Haweswater

I caught up with Kathy, Ed, Di and Greg at Haweswater shore and they had miraculously found a bench under some trees and beckoned me to join them for a dry(ish) lunch.

The path round Haweswater is quite undulating and rocky. I am slow so I soon found myself walking alone but it was very peaceful. The rain was actually easing off although it was wet underfoot. I saw Di and Greg at Burnbanks for the last time as they were trying to contact their B and B to collect them.

Huge deer gates

I passed an honesty box and purchased a restorative can of coke and a chocolate bar, then faced a good bit of sloshing through wet fields and farmland towards Shap Abbey. What remains is quite impressive, so after a quick wander (bizarrely amongst some free range chickens) I headed to Shap.

First sight of Shap Abbey

Now, Shap is a long, thin village straddling the A6… the Coast to Coast route passes through the top end of it but my accommodation, Brookfield House, was right at the bottom! I was so tired it felt as though I was walking to Kirkby Stephen but it was worth it when I got there as owner Margaret is lovely- I thrust my wet gear at her and she promised to do what she could with it.

Shap Abbey

After a bath I walked back into the village for a pub meal, bumping into Carrie and Ed and then an older couple who were headed to Maryport as whales had been sighted there.

Apart from feeling tired, the feet were holding up well and I didn’t feel too bad.

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