We managed to get the early start we craved for setting off from Keld at 7:30am. It was a bit chilly this time of morning but it would improve later in the day and turn out to be a great day for walking, just what we wanted.
It kicked off with a steep uphill walk through Keld and it wasn't long before we were back walking alongside our old friend the River Swale. If you are looking for a section of the walk to complete then from Keld to Reeth would be the one I would recommend - 11 miles, not too many ups and downs as well as fantastic views. All of a sudden the Coast to Coast started to become a pleasure!
It wasn't long before illness struck Ged again and he was sick, but fortunately it was one of them where it was better out than in and we were back on our travels. It made the difference having had a dry run as we were confident of where we going without a need to look at maps or GPS, it meant we could pick up the pace and hit the 3mph mark.
It wasn't long before we had passed Crackpot Hall and Ivelet Bridge and found ourselves sitting in the Queen's Jubilee area of Gunnerside. It was 6 miles over already, we tucked into a little snack and headed off again, we would be in Reeth in no time!
Despite the great weather and pleasantness of such a walk I found myself hit with a bout a lethargy (even more so than normal!) and I was dragging my heels with a mile or so to go into Reeth. Maybe it was the thought that most other people doing the C2C would just be about finishing for the day and enjoying the afternoon and evening in Reeth, whereas we would be stopping for a short break and then having to do another 11 miles.
We made it to Reeth just after 1pm and it turned out they were having a village fair, which meant only one thing - a big game of quoits (apparently!). They seemed to be taking it very serious, and looked like a game I could get into - not very energetic and played just outside a pub. The village square was very busy and we stopped for lunch on a bench outside the Black Bull, it looked decent inside, we sat directly outside the restaurant area with people waiting for their meals to arrive. Not sure the window seat was the best choice today as Ged decided to unleash his feet in full view, picking at his blisters, applying his cream and cleaning the cheese from his toes. Still, I am sure they enjoyed the meal when it arrived.
After the break, all of my lethargy just seemed to disappear and we were all raring to go for the second half of the day. Having walked Reeth to Richmond previously in the snow I knew this time would be a lot easier. We passed through Grinton and came to Marrick Priory, it was at this point on our dry run where we went wrong, missing out a stile to the 375 or so Nuns Steps. Unfortunately we found them this time and we headed up, once we were at the top we knew there was a lot of fields to come but it was relatively flat. After a few stops and a lot of huffing and puffing we made it to the top, it wasn't as bad as I had anticipated.
We passed through the fields, some with an overbearing smell of garlic, and eventually came to the dreaded downhill walk to the village of Marske. It was a tough and long downhill which played havoc with my thighs after it was over, the twinge was to stay with me until the end of the walk and I felt it on most downhills thereafter.
We stopped for a breather in Marske before conquering Applegarth Scar and Whitcliffe Wood and making it into Richmond. We were staying in a pub (great planning), and as we entered Richmond it looked like a scene from 'The Walking Dead', it turns out there was some kind of fair there as well, and it was strewn with underage drinkers sozzled on a bottle of Lambrini and a few cheeky Jagerbombs (ah those were the days!). We made it into the pub at about 7:30pm, a whole 12 hours from start to finish, and were greeted by Nat, Mam, Amy and Philly.
We all had a few drinks and grabbed something to eat back in the room, which was massive for a double. It was a 3 in a bed night again (I mean me Dad and Ged - nothing to do with alcohol filled teenagers in the streets of Richmond!) but I opted for the floor, and to be fair the staff in the hotel did provide extra pillows/covers etc, but still, the thought of Dad and Ged's feet hovering above my head for the night meant I slept with one eye open anyway, and it wasn't the greatest nights sleep.
It was over, the 22 mile beast was tamed. I have no doubt the idea of Granda, now joined by Alan, willing us on kept us going today, as well as our reminiscing with stories of Alan making us all the more determined to make the C2C a success.
Day 7, in memory of Alan Mawby, was over, only 5 more to go, Robin Hood's Bay was well within our sights.