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PW day 09: Tue 01 Mar 2016; Keld to Bowes

PW day 09: Tue 01 Mar 2016; Keld to Bowes
Walk descriptor Pennine Way Day 09
Date Tue 01 Mar 2016 Start to end time 06h 23m
Start point Keld End point Bowes
Miles today 13.71 Cu miles 145.92
Ft today 1,521 Cu ft 24,829
Route miles left 139.95 Route ft left 20,321
Today’s weather Intermittent cloudy periods with blustery intervals of bright sun.   Strong to gale force westerly wind all day.   Occasionally squally showers.    Appx 6C
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Today’s location
(the red cross in a circle shows where I am at the moment)
GPX based track of today’s walk
(click button to download file) GPX
Commentary

Have you noticed how companies sometimes attach peculiar words like “Lite©” or “Gold®” to the names of otherwise ordinary sounding products, in order to make them sound more attractive?   Well another of these descriptions, “Classic™”, has recently appeared on the scene. I think this adjective has been invented by marketing executives who have been presented by their product development people with a new model which is actually worse in every way than the one it is supposed to replace. Coke Classic™ is a case in point, and you will know what has happened when Apple launch the “iPhone Classic™”.

I’m not usually seduced by marketing jargon, but I have to admit that the “Classic™” adjective is useful in relation to long distance walks.   And in particular to today’s long distance walk, which I have decided to call “Pennine Way Classic™”.

So far, I have been enjoying Pennine Way Gold® because it has been such an easy, almost luxurious experience.   But today, things started to change.

For a start, I discovered when I checked into the lodge where I was staying last night that there were no other residents there at all. Just me and the barman.   So although I mostly managed to banish thoughts of the Overlook Hotel from my mind, I did lie awake for some time, uncomfortably keeping an eye on the door and awaiting the crash of the axe accompanied by the cry “Heeere’s Johnny!”

So I slept a bit fitfully anyway, and my slumber wasn’t exactly eased by the sound of heavy rain lashing on the wind and roof, decisively signalling the end of the long dry spell I’ve enjoyed so far.

I came down to breakfast a bit bleary-eyed and checked the weather forecast and it seemed to indicate that the rain might break for a period from about 10 am until early evening.   So I lingered over my bacon, and then enjoyed it for a second time as I picked the bits out of my teeth with fantastic floss afterwards.

And to my surprise, the rain did indeed ease at about 10 o’clock.   But the barman (who I mentally nicknamed Jack) observed probably accurately but definitely not encouragingly, that “Well – it might have stopped raining but it will still be wet underfoot.   VERY wet”. So, with this cheerful thought running through my head, and a little later than normal, I ventured out, glad to have survived the night.

II hadn’t quite appreciated how much it had rained in the night – but soon did.   The waterfall just below Keld, at the confluence of two rivers, was in massive bloated spate.   A deafening maelstrom of boiling peaty water hurling itself over the boulders and down the valley.   Fortunately the bridge was in tact but I hurried across it anyway, in case it decided to succumb to the cataclysmic pounding.

It was on the hike up from Keld to Tan Hill that I realised that “Gold®” had become “Classic™”.

For a start, the weather was blowing a whole gale with flecks of rain and hail thrown into the icy blast.   Quite a contrast to the sun and more gentle breezes of the southern section of the Way.   But more noticeably, the path had reassumed a much more familiar Pennine Way state.   I.e. there wasn’t one.   Just a muddy, boggy stream marked occasionally with white posts, heading generally north.   Gone were the comfortable, dry flagstones of the Peak and Dales, in their place a soul-sapping morass of cold porridgy sludge to wade through.   Yes, this really was the Pennine Way as I know and love it.

But today was not at all without levity.   The Tan Hill Inn (although only semi-remote, in my opinion) served a very welcome cup of hot coffee which I had with a calorie intense Snickers bar (and the bar lady agreed with me that the name should never have been changed from “Marathon”.   Presumably the misguided change was devised by the same marketing people who thought that Gold, Lite and Classic could transform the ordinary into the extraordinary).

But most remarkably of all, as I sloshed my way across Bowes Moor, the most amazing rainbow opened up directly in front of me.   It remained in the sky for fully two hours – quite remarkable for what is normally a transient phenomenon.   I realised as the rainbow appeared that, just as in 2016, on the Pennine Way in 1977 I was also infected with an earworm – in that case it was Elkie Brooks “Sunshine after the Rain”.   It was appropriate in 1977 as I had a lot of the latter and not much of the former.   Anyway, suffice it to say that now that it has popped into my head, I can’t get rid of it, so I strongly suspect that once I’ve had tea tonight, Elkie, like Cathy and Heathcliffe before her, will too have to succumb to expulsion by iTunes.

I wanna see sunshine after the rain
I wanna see bluebirds flying over the mountains again
Oh where is the silver lining shining at the rainbow’s end?

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
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Catrake Force, just below Keld.   Mmmm yes, it did actually rain rather a lot last night Looking a bit apprehensive as the stream in the background is normally narrow enough to be casually stepped across, but today was in full spate and required a great deal of care
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Yes it’s remote but they do nice chocolate bars.   And it’s nowhere near as remote as the Crask Inn Pennine Way Classic™ – a marker post, a bog and a lot of water.   And nothing else. 
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New bridge at Sleightholme – previously the path crossed the river by nearby stepping stones, which today were submerged under two feet of raging water This really isn’t very helpful
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I asked a farmer this evening what the name of the castle I could see in the distance, on the approach to Bowes was.   “It’s Bowes Castle“, he said- a clear if unimaginative name.   But he went on “and there’s nowt much too it except four walls“.   Well that’s true, but I did think it looked rather dramatically windswept against the glassy evening sky
The previous day’s blog follows below the blue line