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Monday, July 1, 2013

Like Here Only Different ~ Day 9 Kirkby Stephen to Keld

Kirkby Stephen to Keld 14.5 miles 24Km 6 hours ~ Kirkby Stephen - Nine Standards Rigg - Keld.  I am staying at Keld Lodge  www.keldlodge.com

This route day comes with notes from Sherpa that there is an easy all road alternative for people suffering from agony of De'feet.  This route welcomes conventional waking shoes.  It does, however, miss one of the top attractions of the C2C

It would be a shame to miss the mysterious Nine Standards Rigg.  Nine stone pillars for which there are no official historic reference.  Most think they mark a territory border, some think they were a prank.  Others say they were put in place to be a visual representation of a mock military force.  From the valley floor they look like an ammased military force.  No matter they are a magnet for hiking visits and the routes and land in the area are worn by thousands upon thousands of feet.  At the five mile post there is an option for three routes.  Only during May to July can you climb to Nine Standards.  The ground is the introduction to peat, which will be with us the rest of the way to the North Sea.  My guide book says this is a good day for gaiters.  The Rigg marks the Pennines, the "continental divide" of England.  From here all waterways flow to the east.  If at the five mile mark you cannot see the Nine Standards due to clouds, you option is only the low level paths.

The day started drizzly in the village so I put on all my wet gear and my gaiters.  The way climbed easily out of town and it was not but an hour and I could see the Nine Standards.  Looking out around all the horizon the sky was filled with clouds dropping rain.

But it seems that the sky over us was going to bless us with a halo of blue sky the whole way.

The Nine Standards were really interesting.  Some were clearly older than the others.  Jill, a woman who ,along with her husband Richard is one the route and schedule had any interesting theory.  She said she felt like some of  the newer ones were built to carry on the tradition, perhaps multi-generationally.

Keld means "spring" in old Norse and the river here runs brown with the stain of the peat ground.  Being the head of the valley, the area surrounding the community has a number of forces ( another Norse word) small cascades of streams coming down from the hills.  Entering the village gave a good introduction to these soggy features.

The river runs brown from the tannin in the water.  Peat mud is all over my boots, which promptly went into the drying room.

We cross from Cumbria to Yorkshire today.  We are walking into and across the north area of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

It was a fabulous day!  I finally got to see a grouse butt.  Not the bird, but the rocky shooting hides.  They are regular landmarks on the map, so knowing what to look for is important.

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