DAY 34: Kendal to Arnside – 16.50 miles
Despite the noisy nights sleep, I woke feeling really excited about my day ahead. Finally after that one day in Scotland (19 July to be precise!) and the odd hint here and there, summer has arrived in the north west. Having pre-ordered the full breakfast, Tony was busy in the kitchen preparing my feast as I surfaced. I seemed to be the only one having the full monty and my large place setting had already been laid out in dining room, sun streaming through the windows.
Over the last few days I had finally worked out my route for the next stage of this walk, and specifically through Liverpool. And seeing as most of my accommodation will be covered over this period – what with couch surfing and friends in Liverpool – this morning I decided to post my sleeping bag, bivi tent and tent begs to the southern most of those friends. It might have only been 2.3kg but it made all the difference to my pack, which suddenly became invisible on my back. So what with this, the fact the beautiful weather looks set to stay for a while and with an unexpected coastal stop booked ahead for tonight; to say I had a spring in my step this morning would be a gross under-estimation.
When I first dreamt of doing this walk – before my romantic notions were trampled on by the stark reality of what I’d taken on – this was the kind of JOGLE day I had hoped for. Quiet roads, country paths, quaint villages, quirky houses, colourful flowers, an endless supply of country pubs, smiling faces, green landscapes, the occasional coastline, fluffy clouds, even fluffier sheep and of course endless sunny skies! After weeks of waiting, finally the perfect day had arrived.
Stopping regularly for cold drinks and late lunch at yet another pub, I finally reaching the River Kent estuary mid afternoon… Ok not officially a coastline and there wasn’t much water around, but it might as well have been with sand flats, nature reserves and that perfect endless summer horizon. Following a coastline path for a the last few miles, the final stretch I headed down onto the reserve which ran parallel to the road, and got to enjoy an un-interrupted lush grass landscape full of sheep, who simply parted for me as I walked on through. Finally reaching Arnside and finding the hostel, I sat outside until the sky turned flame red, and the midgies started to come out. Ok… maybe today was only 99% perfect 😉