Day 49: 11 May 2014; Scales to Carlisle

Day 49: 11 May 2014; Scales to Carlisle
Walk descriptor LEJOG2014 Day 49
Date Sun 11 May 2014 Start to end time 07h 54m
Start point Scales End point Carlisle
Miles today 19.58 Cu miles 914.23
Ft today 587 Cu ft 128,663
Route miles left 576.99 Route ft left 70,406
Today’s weather Heavy downpours of rain, with bright sunshine in between. Very little wind. About 12C
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Today’s location
(the red cross in a circle shows where I am at the moment)
GPX based track of today’s walk
(click here to access to access downloadable file)

“I woke up in a good humour this morning. I knew I only had a relatively easy walk to Carlisle today – mostly downhill, low level and easy navigation. And I’d been excellently looked after the night before at Scales campsite, so I was looking forward to the day.

It had rained a bit overnight: not deluges but sufficient to attract a healthy crop of slugs. They were everywhere, and had to be carefully removed before I could pack up the tent. I know that they aren’t poisonous, bloodsucking or disease laden but I really still can’t get to like these slimy molluscan blobs.

Once the gastropods had been evacuated, I packed up and headed off down the back-lanes towards the Caldew valley where I rejoined the Cumbria Way (which I’d been following as far as Skiddaw house yesterday). Much like the Dales Way a few days ago, this felt like completing unfinished business. We’d walked most of the Cumbria Way a couple of years ago, but stopped at Keswick, so now I had the chance to complete it by walking the last section to Carlisle.

The path follows the river Caldew due North, through rural pastures being grazed by sheep and cows. Soon after joining the river, the heavens opened. It had been looking increasingly threatening ever since I set off and then finally the rain came in great stair-rods for about an hour and a half. I got absolutely soaked, and was glad that I’d taken the precaution of booking into a B&B tonight, which would at least give me the chance to get a bit dry.

At Dalston, the super-efficient Cumbrian Scouts had arranged for one of the Scouts who was going to Japan for the Jamboree next year to join me for the hike to Carlisle. Once again, it was nice to have company, and she was able to point out where she had spotted otters and kingfishers on the banks of the Caldew. I’ve never seen either outside of a zoo – but sadly didn’t spot any today. But it was good to know that they are still thriving, especially so close to a major town – you just have to go out and look.

I arrived in Carlisle in mid-afternoon – in time to get a cup of tea in the station café, and to buy some provisions for tomorrow’s walk. I noticed that today I crossed the 900 mile mark and also reflected that tomorrow I’ll be leaving England to enter the next stage in my journey – a traverse of the entire length of Scotland, from South to North!”

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
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These were the first orchids I’d seen on the trek – growing high up near Scales, in the roadside verges. I think these are early purple orchids From near Greystoke Forest I was able to glimpse the Solway Firth and in the distance beyond, Scotland – tomorrow’s destination!
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Rejoining the Cumbria Way near Serdbergham. The dark clouds subsequently dumped gallons of icy cold water on me! “Quintessentially English” cottage, on outskirts of Dalston
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A clasically industrial skyline on the approach to Carlisle “Downtown” Carlisle – the city hall
Panorama looking north over the Solway, to Scotland
The previous day’s blog follows below the blue line
Solid line blue
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