Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Kendal is home of the world famous Kendal Mint Cakes – not nearly as famous as my PB&J sandwich, but respectably famous nonetheless. Why, I suspect there are dozens of my readers who’ve never heard of Kendal Mint Cakes, but everyone’s heard of PB&J. I thought I might consult with the mint cake manufacturers and assist them in developing a peanut butter variety. But I realized that I will be in a better bargaining position if they contact me rather than if I contact them. So I’ll just wait until they contact me – shouldn’t be long now.
Shortly after leaving Kendal, I entered the Lake District National Park. National parks in Britain are quite different from those in the U.S. In the U.S., the government owns everything in a National Park (although sometimes there are pockets of private land that existed before the park was designated). In Britain, the government does not typically own the land. I presume that the major impact of national park designation is more onerous development regulations. I reach that conclusion because of an brand new gate I saw today. The homeowner apparently wants easy access to the property, but instead ended up with easy access to a 100-year-old stone wall. Go figure.
A heavy cloud cover was present the entire day, making the day perfect for walking. The clouds filtered out the sun, resulting in a low UV index. More importantly, the clouds kept the weather cool (upper 50s to low 60s F.), especially important since the humidity was 80% or more.
I met Ingrid, from Australia, several days ago in Ilkley during breakfast. She started walking after I did, passed me, and I never saw her again that day. Several days later, she started at a village about 3 miles behind where I started, and she quickly made up the distance and swept past me again. In Kendal, we stayed at the same B&B, and made arrangement to share a taxi to Burneside in order to avoid repeating several miles of road walking. I decided to keep up with her this time – and I did for at least 25 yards. Then she turned on the after-burners and quickly left me in the dust – or rather mud, because there is no dust on these trails. From a ridgeline I could see that in 10 minutes she had gained almost a half mile on me. I think she’s a “destination” person.
With nobody to talk with, I decided to take a picture of myself in the countryside. Why not, the countryside is magnificent. With all humility, I’ll withhold comment on myself.
At breakfast, I learned the proper pronunciation of the town's name, at least so far as the server is concerned: Setburr -- no hard "D" in the middle and no berg or bruh at the end. So there you have it from someone who lives there. I'm sticking with that, for all it matters, because I left town thereafter.
Despite the reasonable distance, today’s walk was extremely slow. Bad footing due to wet rocks, roots and mud combined with difficult route finding, numerous stiles and gates, and an unintelligible diversion due to a bridge closure, all slowed my pace to a crawl – and I didn’t even stop to talk with anybody. That’s because I met only two people during the entire walk.
One was a farmer who shouted from his passing tractor that I was headed in the wrong direction, “Wrong way, fella, you need to cross the bridge and turn left.” No matter that the footpath sign pointed where I was headed. I thanked him and courteously followed his advice, and when he was out of sight, I checked my map. He was right, the directional post was wrong.
As I neared Kendal, I reached a point where I had a choice: either follow the most direct route along a busy A road that may or may not have a verge, of follow a slightly longer route through pastures that may or may not have decent footing. As I pondered the decision, a local farmer stopped, got out of his car and explained that the A road would not be interesting (I knew that already) but the route crossing the farmland would be better. He assured me that the farm route “had good footing underneath” and that the grass had been mown last week. I followed his recommendation and had a better walk.
Kendal is a large city with too much traffic, but a nice town center. I will take some form of public transportation tomorrow to escape the city limits and avoid road walking.