Well, the new boots appear to have been a good investment, as were the Compeed Blister Plasters I purchased in Kirkby Stephen and applied this morning (much better than Doctor Scholl’s and a huge improvement over moleskin as well). Today’s walk was relatively pain-free, and wonderfully pleasant, as we made our way through Swaledale, to which Wainwright gives high praise. At first I didn’t understand what he found so beautiful about the area, but as the day went on, I became entranced: lush green fields, wide open views, lovely clear becks, stone barns and houses, quiet villages and old churches. I’ve begun to get the rhythm of how the walks are organized: up a hill for a view, down to cross a beck, up again for the view, down to cross another beck, up, down, and so on.
The final section today was a high walk through Whitcliff Wood, along a wide, well-shaded bridle path, leading out onto a road that granted us a dramatic view of Richmond. We had fun finding the gates and stiles we needed to pass through, and were never too uncertain of the path; at one point we met a large “organized” group of Americans being led by British guides and followed them for a while; we met several women from Richmond out for a day-long walk; and we also encountered a very friendly man from Danby Wiske (where we’ll be tomorrow night) who chatted with us at length while we looked out over Richmond. In Richmond itself, we ran into a couple we had first met in Orton. They had had a rest day here and were happy and relaxed.
It was hard to say good bye to Reeth, but here we are now happily settled in Richmond, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow, when we begin our walk across the Vale of Mowbray (2 days) and then onto the North Yorkshire Moors. Only seven more days of walking! We’re at mile 117 here; 192 is the end.