DAY 31: Caldbeck to Keswick – 16.25 miles
No sooner had I finished the lovely breakfast spread that Nan had laid on for me, she was then offering for her hubby to drop my things to the hostel in Keswick for me. If Calsberg made B&B’s… Getting going with a full belly, a pretty much empty pack and fresh clean clothes, really does make all the difference and I was so grateful for all that Nan and her husband had done for me. And I was going to need all the extra help this morning as the outskirts of town slipped away, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped. I’ve never been to the Yorkshire Moors but I would imagine that this is what they are like, in the middle of winter.
Battling with the winds for about an hour, I made my way over this vast flat exposed piece of land and for the first time since I started this journey, I was sorely tempted to hitch my way out. Eventually the road started to wind down into a valley, the weather improved and I saw signs for a cafe. Nowhere near hungry but just wanting to warm up for a bit, I found the busy coffee shop tucked behind the village and ordered a cappachino. I also took time to study my map closely, as there appeared to be a number of ways to reach Keswick, and I was keen to take the one which suited me best. And with help from the guy who worked in the cafe, I ended up on the perfect small country road, which I easily followed for the next few hours. With hedgrows to filter out some of the wind and the weather improving all the time, I was able to take my apple and cheese picnic overlooking the stunning Lake District. Amazing what a bit of sunshine can do and what a difference a few hours can make.
Rejoining the main road for the final few miles, I was also pleased to find a woodland path running parallel for walkers to use. And keen to make the most out of each and every sunny opportunity, I stopped at a woodland cafe to sit in the sun and enjoy an early dinner of quiche and salad. With new black clouds forming over the mountains but still in glorious sunshine, I arrived in Keswick about 5pm. And knowing that once I got to the hostel I wouldn’t want to move again, and realising on the map that my hostel was through town and out the other side, I took my time meandering through this very pretty tourist town. From the pencil factory, to quaint cafe filled alleys ways, a cheese deli, a funky Friday “funk, soul & disco” night at the Mexican bar, to bunting and pub lined streets. I would definitely love to return here when I have more energy… and more suitable clothing! Eventually I found my hostel – another large functional place which also serves as an outdoor activity centre – where I gave up hanging out in the reception hallway to get internet and simply got cosy in the tele room with the biggest, sweetest, stickiest slice of hostel made flapjack I’ve ever had.
*You can always tell the sign of a good day = too many photos to choose from 😜