The last couple of days have not been to difficult, we are getting used to manoeuvring around rocks, mud and water. Unfortunately one day getting lost in the rain put a damper on the day but after a friendly welcome at our next B & B, shower and food, all is good with the world again. Little did we know what an exciting day was in stalled for us leaving Kirby Stevens for Keld. After a chat to a fell runner at breakfast, he said you have the perfect day to go over Hartley Fell on the blue route. This would ensure a great view of the 9 standards rigg and terrific views. Sounds good. There are actually three routes to Keld (I might mention never trust a fell runner, they are crazy people, hurtling themselves up and down hills at breakneck speed.) The green route has a bit of road walking so we didn’t consider this. We could also make a descission later up the trail if the mist came down in a hurry either red or blue routes. The weather started off fine until three quarters up the path and down the mist and wind came. Quickly into our wet gear and beanies we continued up. Out of the shadows behind us came an escorted group heading to the top as well. By the time we all reached the top visibility was very poor.
There were a few quick photos taken and the guide asked me which route were we taking down and I said ” the red to now avoid the peat bog.” She also was considering this but after a quick chat she said she was going to take the blue route as she new that very well and would we like to join the group. Looking into the mist I considered it for half a second and said “we’re with you”. Like gorillas in the mist two more men , father and son who had been following us appeared. All eleven of us set off in single file across the Hartley Fell heads down braced against the wind and not wanting to loose sight of each other.
Soon the bog appeared or what we thought was bog, I called it baby bog. The real peat bog soon appeared. I was following one of the group making sure I was standing in her footsteps. If she went down at least I would be warned. Every now and then you would hear yuk! Oh! As someone went down into the black, sludgy mud. The peat bog is not flat ground, it is large mounds coming out in front of you with enticing green patches lulling you into a false sense of security. Look at me I’m high ground , you can stand on me. Little do you know that just under the mound of lovely green is one big sludgy mess. We were nearly all running across the top of the bog, you couldn’t stand still as you would sink. The walking poles going down just as think they will support you. After a few map and compass checks by the guide we were through the bog and starting to see the 100 metre pole markings as the mist started lifting. We all had smiles across our faces and were totally exhilarated by the whole event.
All of a sudden the mist now was gone and the landscape opened up the whole valley and the Yorksire Moors. A big thanks to the guide Jane from Badger Adventures for a day I won’t forget in a hurry.
After lunch we realised the day wasn’t finished with us yet! Walking along the valley we discover a small landslide and so we had to walk straight up and around to avoid that. The path was extremely muddy, but we were past caring about keeping our boots clean and walked straight through it.
One good highlight of the day though was meeting Amanda Owen the Yorkshire Shepherdess. ( a book on her life is out now) On her remote Yorkshire farm with husband and eight children, dogs,chickens,cows and sheep they live a very remote life. But, the good thing is she offers scones, jam and cream with tea to walkers going through her farm. What a sweet treat to have while having a rest and recounting the last thrilling few hours before walking the last five or so kilometres into Keld.
Truly one of the best walking days I have ever experienced.