Distance: 7 miles
Weather: warm and sunny
A great breakfast, a chat with fellow guests and our hosts at the excellent Sun Inn and we were on the trail by ten o'clock. We planned an easy day today as we had the wonders of the Howgills to look forward to tomorrow. So today we were following a route to Sedbergh of our own devising as we thought the fields and paths would be sodden or still flooded after the deluge the previous day.
We followed a minor road out of Dent and it was a delightful walk with stone cottages, farms, occasional meetings with polite, brightly coloured cyclists and the River Dee popping back to see us as the road and river wended their ways along the dale. I recognised part of the route from last year when I was completing the final stages of The Pennine Journey. The views of the dale were beautiful and we could see the Howgills ahead looking gorgeous in the sunshine. We could see we had made the right decision to walk along the road as many of the fields we passed were still flooded with marooned sheep looking...sheepish. We walked through dappled woodland with huge Oak, Beech and Ash trees towering over us. We passed an old, empty watermill with the mill stones propped against a wall. Birds twittered and rustled in the hedgerows amongst brambles, ferns and wild flowers. Moss covered stone walls shined emerald green and, always, the sound of gushing water tumbling over rocks.
Now we could see the Howgills in all their glory and beneath them the shining town of Sedbergh. Through a gate onto Holme Fell where the sheep grazed on rich, green meadows and we found a convenient bench to sit and enjoy the scene and watch a paraglider attempt to launch himself off The Calf (our highest point on tomorrow's walk). We set off on the final stage of the day's journey and turned right and downhill through Sedbergh Golf course which was busy with golfers. Our path was blocked at the River Rawthey as the footpath was being replaced so we headed across the fields to Millthrop which is a hamlet filled with stone cottages and pretty, flower filled gardens. We also saw a trampoline upside down on top of a green house - I am sure it wasn't supposed to be there...
We crossed the river on a fine stone bridge and entered Sedbergh. Lunch was eaten in a café and we visited the tourist information office followed by a sit on a bench in the sunshine by a lovely bee friendly public garden. It seemed everyone wanted to talk to us as we sat there in the sun. First three gentlemen from Cambridgeshire, who were on a reccy for a walk they were leading in the autumn, asked us which we thought was the best route out of town and up onto the Howgills. We also gave them advice on a place to buy their lunch for tomorrow and where to buy hats and sunscreen. They departed with queries answered and then another chap stopped for a chat who had just been doing interviews for a project manager with the task of raising the Sedbergh's profile with the help of volunteers as there is no money in the pot. Again, Mrs C and I had lots of advice and suggestions - Yarn bombing, scarecrow festivals, litter picks and so on. It turned out he knew a teacher I used to work with at home (it is a small world). We shook hands, wished him well and off he went. Next a young woman on a bicycle stooped for a chat. We were in our element.
Gin and tonics at The Dalesman and then we headed to our B&B, Wheelwright Cottage and our landlady Suzy. This was my third visit to this B&B and it was just the same - simple, comfortable with a good breakfast. As we showered and changed for dinner, the church bells were ringing out as it was practice night at the church. Phone calls were made to our dear husbands and then, on Suzy's recommendation, we had dinner at the Red Lion - excellent pies.