C2C – Day 6: Thursday 7 April – PATTERDALE to SHAP (17 miles)
Today was to have been the first day that just the two of us, Rob and I, walked together unaccompanied. However on leaving our Patterdale guesthouse we bumped into a fellow C2C trekker, John, who we had met a number of times on the trail, and so it was that we became a three for the day! As it turned out, it was great to have John with us, for his good company and for mutual support, as today’s walk became the most challenging to date and potentially of our whole C2C trek!
Certainly the weather did little to help us on our way today, but it was all rather part of a unique and very memorable experience. An early hail shower hastened us into donning our waterproofs and heralded a day of mist and wintry showers on a strong northerly wind that was to culminate in a full-blown storm in the afternoon. Just to complete the meteorological lexicon we finally had an hour of welcome sunshine to thankfully dry us out a little as we approached our destination.
Our walking route today took us up high above Patterdale, first to Angle Tarn, and then on another steep climb past the small summit of The Knott, before a more gradual rise to Kidsty Pike. This peak, at 780 metres, is the high point on the entire C2C route. The photos tell their own story!
From the high ground we descended steeply past Kidsty Howes down to the south-west corner of Haweswater. Next followed a two-hour traverse of the tortuous undulating path along the northern shore of the lake, to the dam at its far end. At this point we left behind the fells for an easier walk through forest and along the Haweswater Beck, before an undulating few miles over pastures. Such a change in scenery provided a pleasant end to the day’s marathon, especially once the clouds parted and the sun arrived as we passed the ruins of Shap Abbey and walked the final mile along roads into the village.
Our 17 miles today took us over nine hours, and as we trudged into Shap around 6.30 pm we reflected with some satisfaction that we have now walked right across the Lake District and into a very different region. So far we have covered nearly 70 miles, around a third of our likely C2C total, and we have completed four climbs of over 600 metres. We celebrated with a pub meal and a well-earned early night!
And up ahead, to the east, the snow-clad Pennines now beckon us on – the next chapter in our challenge! We have a forecast of sunshine for tomorrow with good visibility, and a much shorter walking day in prospect!