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Well over half way now and only a short trip up the road to Kendal where we left the car and 'civilisation'.

When I first did the Dales Way over 25 years ago there seemed to be a greater sense of isolation, nowadays you never seem far away from a road, TV or sense of urbanisation. On the whole the route hasn't changed much, RAF Phantom jet pilots used to buzz the Yorkshire Dales in the same way the modern day fighter trainers do, I remember there seemed to be a little bit more space between the concrete edges and the only 4x4 were very posh tractors.

I like Sedbergh, it has the sense of being a town with a link to the past, on one side the Yorkshire Dales, soft slightly sanitised and touristy on the other The Howgills, wild, unexplored and just appearing in the distance the Lakeland hills. Surprising then that the main West Coast railway and M6 are a stones throw away.

My first trip to Sedbergh ended in disaster, a Backpackers Club winter  meet wild camping on the Howgills, heavy rain soon swelled the streams and before long the valley we were camping in flooded. That wasn't the bad part, during the evening someone suggested a trip - in the dark, to a pub that was marked on the map on a road at the bottom of the valley below our wild pitch. We were in for a shock when we got there, although the pub name 'The Temperance' should have given us a good clue, a cup of tea and biscuit later we were back in the rain heading for our tents!

Back to the Dales Way, it's beginning to get a little serious now with some great scenery along the River Lune to the Howgills and the ascent gaining slightly but on the whole the way is still a valley walk and nothing too testing.

One minute you are sitting in a green field with views across the Howgill fells then literally a step over a large stile and you are walking above the M6 - very surreal. Do the drivers below have time to think about what the walkers above them are doing or take in the views? Will our car still be in one piece at the hotel? Do we care? Well yes we do really we have a week planned in the lakes and after 4 days walking in the valleys have just started to warm up for the big hills. The hills ( and cows ) lie ahead. At Black Moss Tarn the 'Doctors' passed us again - going in the wrong direction completely lost, unfortunately they were too far away to shout and warn them and besides I for one was just taking in the remoteness and tranquillity of the place. We stopped for a drink and chocolate bar and this time it felt like we were really in the countryside.

Then the cows got us, or more accurately a herd of young heifers. As we came down from the tarn through a field the herd panicked and bolted first towards us and then the drive-way which was gated. The heifers trashed the gate and were off down the road. Luckily even though they had trampled on each other none of them were seriously hurt and we set off for Burneside and the end of that days section.

From Burneside we walked back along the river into Kendal and were reunited with the car, fine food, wine and foot massages. Although we had another day to go we felt an achievement already in walking back to the place we left 5 days before. And ....It was great floating in the pool, Liz had her pedicure and the world was a better place. 



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