Woke to a glorious sunny day. They do have them! Our B&B was very good, efficient, well organised and spotless and she made great breakfasts too. Today is the shortest day of the year- summer solstice but one of our longest walking days. We have a 9 hour walk ahead of us. We are walking up to Kidsty Pike(2559 feet) and High Raise (2631 feet) which mark the edge of the Lakes district. The going will be steep and the descent long so a few of the group have opted to spend the day doing alternative activities such as taking the oldest steam driven ferry in working order across Uldswater and back, then catching a taxi to meet us for a flat five miles walk to Shap. Moria was still struggling with her cold, Lyn was anxious about the descent ( that it the guide book looks straight down!) Dennis and Stuart wanted to see something different.
The walkers set off and soon encountered a rough path that was being renovated by the parks authorities with huge boulders. They fly them in and lower them alongside the path with helicopters. We made jokes about every walker carrying a stone up! It would make it a more arduous and slower walk! The scenery is spectacular and we can look back to many of the fell peaks we have crossed. Unfortunately the wind picks up as we climb and soon it is buffeting us around. The Romans made a road across this pass called high street which linked a fort near Brougham near Penrith, with Ambleside. It was their highest road in the country.
It is getting really cold now and Allen pulls a muscle on the last reasonably flat stage near the top. He is in a lot of discomfort. We have a group photo at the Kidsty Pike before heading to High Raise. It isn’t far but by the time we stop for lunch and shelter out of the wind my hands are frozen. It is supposed to be about 6 degrees up here but the wind chill must make it less.
With Allen injured Paul decides to take a different descent across the alpine meadows for which we are all grateful. A 5 km slog over steep rocks would be miserable! The ground is boggy and spongy to walk across so it is a test for ankles but easy underfoot. Allen starts to fall behind so Paul rings for a car to meet us at the bottom. It is slow going and by the time we get to the bottom we are an hour late. Allen is collected( wish we were too) and we meet the others for the last stage. Now we are walking through cows, sheep, and even horses through paddocks and over stiles- about 8. Having to climb some was a real effortbecause everyone is tired. Shap still seems a long way off! We pass the ruins of Shap abbey built around12 th Century. Finally at 6 pm we arrived at The Kings Arms Hotel.
After all the walking I have done I hoped to be not so tired but we are walking at a very fast pace and Bruce remarked that he had done 3900 steps but I have to do double that because my stride is short. I think it is the pace. We are averaging 4.6 kms per hour ALL the time. We only have short breaks too. I am fine but it is strenuous and I wake feeling ready to go in the mornings so that is the main test of fitness I think.