ilanarama: my footies in my finnies (snorkeling)
[personal profile] ilanarama
old railway building

Alas we did not get to do the last bit of the Coast-to-Coast within the Lake District, Patterdale to Shap; instead our tour bus took us from Glenridding to a tiny spot on the road in the middle of farmers' fields, by a pond called Sunbiggin Tarn. The leaders headed across the fields at what seemed like a fairly random point, despite the C2C signpost just a few hundred yards down the road. It wasn't a bad cross-country jaunt. We flushed several pheasants, which exploded from the grass in great whirring flutters of wings, and soon we intersected the proper trail and turned onto it.

Starting on the road stone walls and sheep

From there we followed the inevitable stone walls through the inevitable fields of sheep (and cows, occasionally, for variation). At one point we walked along what is apparently a very important archaeological site, the prehistoric Severals Settlement; there are signs asking walkers to stay close to the wall, though the settlement itself isn't apparent to casual view. Eventually we neared an abandoned railway building (with its abandoned railway line below - it's now a walking path, though not the one we'd use) and turned down the valley to cross the Smardale bridge, a lovely old stone bridge where we ate our picnic lunches. In the distance we could see the old viaduct that is now also a walking path.

Smardale Bridge Smardale and viaduct

We continued up the other side of Smardale along more stone walls and sheep etc. And across the walls as well; we climbed stile after stile, and they got thicker as we neared Kirkby Stephen. Under bridges, over stiles, occasionally down roads, but usually we just followed the line of bent grass that marked the path where thousands of feet had gone before us.

crossing the pastures

And here, my friends, in a pasture a mile and a half from our day's objective, is where disaster struck. You may recall that on our first walking day, we passed a woman who had somehow fallen and broken her ankle along the coastal trail, and I uncharitably wondered how she could have done so on a fairly moderate descent. Well.

Britt had just commented on a particularly adorable lamb that was prancing across the field near us, and I'd looked up at it and laughed. I took a few steps to cross from the rutted track we were following over to another rutted track to our right, which looked a bit wider and more major...and somehow my foot landed badly on the edge of the rut and rolled across it, and there was a horrible loud crunching noise from the vicinity of my ankle, and it hurt like hell, and I fall down go boom.


I just sat there for a moment, hoping nobody had noticed me fall. Maybe I could just get up and everything would be okay! Britt, of course, immediately rushed over to me, and through clenched teeth I told him I was fine, I just twisted my ankle, I was going to get up in a moment, really. I told the same thing to Gene, the assistant trip leader, who hovered over me like a helicopter. "I'm just going to take a couple of ibuprofen," I said. "I'll be fine." I refused to take my boot off - I knew I would probably not manage to get it back on afterward!

By then most of the rest of the group had gathered to see my ignominious fall from gazelle-hood. I gritted my teeth, pushed my way to my feet using my hiking poles, and tested my ankle. Unsurprisingly, it hurt. A lot. But not so much that I couldn't hobble forward, so I figured it was just a sprain rather than a break (I broke my foot 30 years ago and know what that feels like). Lying through my teeth, I told everyone I felt fine, and we continued on to Kirkby Stephen.

Kirkby Stephen, which is pronounced Kirby Stephen for some unknown reason, was the biggest town we'd seen since Carlisle. Our group was split up into three B&Bs, and naturally mine was the farthest away (and we had to walk to the closest one for dinner!). But it was a lovely place, and our room was big and pleasant. I'd hoped to walk around town before dinner; instead Britt got ice from the owner, and I lay on the bed and grumped and read while he wrapped my ankle in a compression bandage and covered it in ice.

Sure enough, when I'd taken my boot off it revealed a lump the size of a tennis ball atop my outside ankle bone, but I managed to get my boot back on for the short walk to the B&B where we were having dinner. Joining us was Simon, one of the owners of Packhorse, the company shuttling our luggage. I sat next to him and it was very interesting to hear about the growth in the number of walkers on the Coast to Coast route, and the way the towns along the way have benefited. Talking with him also gave me the excuse to not tell the others in the group how badly I was hurting (though ibuprofen and beer helped a lot). I promised to make a decision in the morning as to whether I would walk with the group on the next leg - 12 miles to Keld, over infamously boggy terrain - or take a taxi instead.

Total distance was 9 miles, with 890 feet of elevation gain and 1100 feet of loss. And one stupid sprained ankle.

All six pictures and no whining, at Flickr

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-07 12:05 am (UTC)
sobelle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sobelle
Stupid sprained ankle! But what wonderful, beautiful photos of an incredible place.

I worry about sight-seeing for all those same reasons... plus, I'm a *major* klutz.


ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)

August 2017

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My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31

You can reach me by email at heyheyilana @


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