Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cam Farm area to Hawes

After a soggy and fairly uncomfortable night, we awoke to.... (drumroll, please)... clouds and fog.  Oh wait, did I mention the cold? Yeah, it was cold too.  Despite our attempts to find a flat spot last night, we ended up sleeping on a slope, a soggy slope.  Everything was wet, and we were not well rested.

It was no real surprise then that we started bickering early.  I believe comments were made about how one of us was "not walking properly" and "walking too heavily."  This caused the heavy walker to stomp off for a bit on her that person's own.  Chalk it up to lack of sleep and of dry clothes.  Fortunately, the nice thing about Chuck's and my friendship is that we never argue for long.  Movement soon lifted our spirits, as it usually does.  We both find walking to be its own form of therapy, although sometimes it's only temporary therapy. Still, relief even for a short period of time from the traps of your own fears and insecurities can be a blessing.
Muddy but happy walking
The area below us and to our left was called the Snaizeholme Valley and on our right was Dodd Fell. I fell to wondering where Snaizeholme Valley got its name.  Was it the home of a person named Snaize?   Holme is actually from a Middle English word (holm) which is derived from an Old Norse word  (holmr) and means small island.  I have no idea what Snaize might be.  But, the valley below looked nothing like a small island to me.  So much for etymology.  I'm going back to "the home of Mr Snaize."

Other than the trail itself, there were no blatant reminders of civilization to be seen - no buildings, no wires, no antennas.  Just lots and lots of hilly ground and limestone rocks.
Snaizeholme Valley
We knew the town of Hawes couldn't be far away because early in our day we'd been passed by three guys on motorcycles (who didn't look as though they were out for a lengthy journey), but for a while, we were on our own with Mother Nature.  And Mother Nature was apparently pleased with us because as we made our way around Dodd Fell, the sun came out.

Despite the sunshine, it was still cold and windy.  As we headed down Rottenstone Hill, we had to huddle by a stone wall while we took short snack break.  Rotten with mud, rotten with mire and muck, Rottenstone Hill was aptly named. The descent was a struggle. There was so much mud that with every step we went from slipping to sinking and back to slipping again.  By the bottom of the hill, I was so covered in mud, I wondered if I would ever be clean again.

Finally we reached the end of the rotten hill and emerged onto tarmac and grassy meadows on our way to the tiny village of Gayle (which didn't seem to be a distinct municipality from Hawes - they just blended together).  
Instructions provided for crossing the field
As instructed, we walked single file through the meadows to Gayle, after passing through an extremely narrow stile.  In fact, we had to go through a number of stiles that were clearly not intended for those with backpacks.  Chuck worried about me damaging my pack (which is actually his), but fortunately, the pack (and I) made it through unscathed.
How skinny are the people of Gayle?
As we entered Hawes, I realized we had arrived at my favorite town on the journey. Hawes is quaint and lovely -  cobblestone streets, old churches, tiny shops, a small bridge over a rushing river... oh, and at least four pubs within a block of each other.

We made our way to our B&B, Ebor House.  Our hosts for the night, Stuart and Janie McLoughlin, were gracious and friendly. Stuart met us at the door, gave us a place to put our muddy boots to dry and even took the trouble to learn our names (a first on the trip).  Ebor House would be, in my opinion, the nicest B&B of the trip.

After a shower, we strolled around town, where we visited every outdoor gear shop we could find (and there were at least 4) in search of mittens for Chuck, stopped by a used book store (where we picked up some new reading material) and then found a place to have some lasagna for dinner.  Sated but exhausted, we returned to the comfort of our room and watched one of the DVDs the McLoughlins made available to guests - a new BBC version of Wuthering Heights.  It was all a little too "interpreted" and "artistic" for me, but Chuck at least got a sense of the story, and the images of the moors were all too familiar.  As I snuggled under the covers, I knew I would sleep well.


  1. It certainly looks like a beautiful little town. It must be nice coming upon a town like this after a long day on the trail.

    No mention of your knee lately. A good thing...I hope.


  2. Fortunately for me, my knee had been troubling me less and less. I think it was because we tried to be really smart and slow about each descent (whether small or large).

    1. Smart. It's always the downhills that beat you up.