Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Day 40 -- Buttermere to Dungeon Ghyll (Langdale), 8 miles

When I checked out of the hotel today, the clerk processed my credit card to pay in US dollars rather than in pounds. Hotels sometimes attempt that because they charge an exchange rate of about 5% higher than the official rate, in this case charging about $8 more. I’ve had hotels try to do that in the cities, but never in rural areas. When I objected, the clerk said that the charge already went through and he couldn’t undo it. When I told him to issue a refund, he said that he would have to issue the refund in Great Britain pounds, and there would be another conversion fee. “That’s OK,” I replied, “as long as I don’t get charged the fee.”

“But then the hotel will have to pay the fee,” he replied.

I shrugged my shoulders with indifference. “No problem, I’ll just call my bank and have the unauthorized charge reversed.”

In the end, the clerk issued a refund of about £6 pounds more than he had originally charged me and converted the refund to the same amount of dollars he had erroneously charged. Then he processed the bill correctly in pounds. I expect the transaction cost the hotel about $10 in fees, so maybe they’ll be more circumspect with other guests.

The start of the route from Buttermere to Dungeon Ghyll repeats much of what I walked yesterday, so in the interest of time (not to mention energy), I took a bus to Stonethwaite, where I joined the Cumbria Way. From Stonethwaite, the Cumbria Way coincides with a portion of the Coast to Coast that I walked 17 years ago, but I didn’t remember any of it. After about a mile, the two paths diverge, the Coast to Coast heading to Grasmere (where I picked it up several weeks ago) and the Cumbria Way following the course of Langstrath Beck.

Footbridge leading to Stake Pass

The Cumbria Way then climbs steeply up a seemingly never-ending series of switchbacks to Stake Pass, levels in the saddle, and then drops steeply into Langdale, another picturesque glacial valley. A long walk through Langdale brought me to the “New” Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, located about a mile farther along the Cumbria Way than is the Old Dungeoin Ghyll Hotel. I don’t know when the old hotel was built, but the new one was built in 1862. That was back when guests paid in cash rather than with credit cards.

Switchbacks up Stake Pass

Top of Stake Pass

Descending to Langdale

New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel