Monday, 27 July 2015

Just a little local walk around Brampton

I am still suffering from our High Cup Nick walk last Thursday. My
shoulders and quads ached from the boulder descent for two days until I discovered a tube of Ibuprofen gel in our first aid box. I had forgotten we had brought it! The gel has made walking, especially up and down the caravan step, much more comfortable, although our gentle four mile stroll on Saturday was pre-painkillers. Dave said he didn't mind ambling at a much slower pace for once and the loop took two and a half hours. Uphill slopes were fine, but downhills had to be done with real baby steps to avoid stretching my legs too much. And stiles were just painful! Fortunately, after the first half hour or so, I could feel my muscles relaxing into the exercise, but still had to be careful not to stumble when the path was unclear.

I'm not sure where we walked, which will no doubt annoy anyone hoping
to follow the same route. Sorry! I know we started downhill through the cow field in front of our campsite and I took a photo back upwards to the caravans in a line. Bailey is the furthest left of the right-hand group. There are effectively two five-pitch sites here, separated by sheds and trees.

We came to a stream and a ford through which we could have gone, or
we could have used the handy bridge. There was a nice light in this wooded area and it felt tranquil. Not as magical as Dufton Ghyll, but somewhere pleasant to pause and ponder a while. We turned right, not crossing the stream and found ourselves leaving Brampton Watermill which has a large old millstone as its signpost. Crossing the road and up past Espland Hill Farm, we were ambushed by ridiculous numbers of flies. I mean real cover-your-head-with-your-jacket flies. Yuk! They stayed with us for ages as we walked along a narrow overgrown track on the edge of woods looking out over cow and sheep fields. In compensation, we did spot some fabulous fungi and met a black Labrador called Harvey.

We met the Pennine Journey route again around here. Our footpath
forked across a tough grass boggy field which we floundered in for several minutes before spotting a bridge across the stream in its centre. If you find yourself here, don't follow the direction indicated by the footpath sign! Instead walk on another twenty yards or so and you should see the bridge in the middle of the field to your right. Dave is pointing back from the bridge to the track in this photo. You might notice the lack of path linking the two!

I coped with varying field-exiting contraptions including incredibly
wobbly basic stiles, low narrow sections of stone wall with metal bars across, and this new-fangled metal gate with footpads. We had not seen one like this before. It was solidly built and easy to manage. The gate led into a weird area of messy land. It looked as though a drainage ditch had been dug some time previously and the spoil from it left alongside to return to nature. Mostly overgrown, there were also part-submerged builder's sacks and Dave nicked his leg on hidden barbed wire. The cut bled, but doesn't seem to be infected.

We were intrigued and concerned by a fenced-in duck pond, populated
by dozens of birds. There looked to be far too many for the space and the water was filthy. What was weird was their swimming back and forth, packed together in a shoal like fish. It reminded me of the obsessive circular swimming we saw an otter doing in an aquarium zoo once. The ducks looked healthy enough and there was a big heap of grain inside the fence, but the whole set-up didn't 'feel right'.

Our path continued in a dead straight line until we found ourselves emerging onto the road by Clickham Cottages, one of which has a large black and white toy dog in its window! I appreciated having got out for the fresh air, but was absolutely knackered which is both irritating and embarrassing. I am obviously nowhere near as fit as I think I ought to be! Since this walk, we have had two quiet rain-bound days in and I am pretty much back to moving normally now. I need to be - we want to go and see the waterfalls at High Force and Low Force this week and I can't still be hobbling for that!

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