Coast to Coast – The First Scheduled Rest Day

The hill to climb the next day

The hill to climb the next day

Chapter Five – First Rest day – Patterdale

And the best day weather wise since I set off

When I first decided on doing this trip and started to make the first investigation into what it would entail I had decided on rest days. When it looked like I would take 13 walking days I decided it would be 4 on, 1 off, 4 on, 1 off and then 5 days to get to the end.

However, I wanted to maintain as much flexibility as I could. I was tied in a sense that all the accommodation had been booked in advance and thought that if I felt OK and the weather was good I could walk the next stage (to Shap) with less of a weight; there get a bus back to Patterdale via Penrith to spend the second night in the YHA; and the following day do the bus route back to Shap. That fell apart as my free day happened to be a Sunday and transport was not too good and I didn’t want to risk attempting to hitch after what would still have been a long day. And I wouldn’t have had time at the computer if I did that. Perhaps it’s best to make a plan and keep to it.

Different people have different attitudes as to how you factor in rest periods on such a long walk. Some think that a few short days allows the body some rest but keeps you moving on. Others just want to bomb it, do it as fast as possible and get it over with. Each to their own in this as it all more a matter of psychology than physical fitness.

I like the idea that on day 4 I knew that the next day I wasn’t going to have to pack up my bag and carry it however many miles to the next stop. On the morning of the rest day it’s good to wake up knowing you don’t have to get up (within reason) if you don’t want to. However, there are down sides to a free day and that’s also psychological – it’s difficult to get started the following day. But that’s, really, no more nor worse than many people’s approach to a Monday morning if they work a 5 day week and have had the weekend off. Unless you’re like the girl in the Boomtown Rats song of the 70s/80s, ‘I don’t like Mondays’, you just get on with it and not end up shooting as many people as you can.

As I want to maintain this blog I needed some time to sit at the keyboard. From the very start I didn’t put a great deal of faith in the idea that I would be able to write each night. Notes, yes, but not something that holds together reasonably well.

So that’s what I did on that rest day, stayed in the hostel canteen sitting at a table typing away, getting strange looks, but no comments, from the staff of the hostel as they went about their business. Outside it was bright and sunny with blue skies. At one moment I looked over my shoulder to the hill I had to surmount the next day and there wasn’t a cloud in sight. What it might have been like out of sight on the mountain peak I don’t know but from where I was sitting in the valley bottom it looked like a perfect day.

But I spent no more than 10 minutes outside of a building all day. After I had written what I wanted for the first four days I needed to get to the local pub for the internet connection. I knew the pub and didn’t rate the beer too highly (only one cask beer and the first time I had it felt it was indifferent to say the least so never tried again). So I was in the White Lion for about three hours having a couple of pints of cider and another indifferent meal (not having too much luck in the evening meal stakes) as I waited for things to download. I learnt then, as I should have realised from previous experience, that downloading pictures on a public network can take forever and effectively locks up the computer for much else. I must not do that in future and leave the picture downloading until there’s more time or when I’m back home.

So I walked no more than a kilometre in total all day, but was knackered after typing up my ideas. So it was early to bed, with the hope that the weather of tomorrow would be a carbon copy of today.

Didn’t fall down once today – even on the way back from the pub

The Old Water Hotel, right next to the YHA, also has a bar and advertises wifi so that’s another option for internet connection.

So on the afternoon of Sunday 22nd September it was still 47.5 miles down, 152.5 to go.

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