C2C – Day 7: Friday 8 April – SHAP to ORTON (9 miles)
What a difference a day makes! Today started cold and clear, with blue skies and bright sunshine warming us through, despite the efforts of the lingering northerly wind. So after a wonderful Full English breakfast at our Shap guesthouse (the Hermitage, built in 1691), Rob and I set off wearing a layer or two less, and with sunglasses retrieved from the bottom of our packs. This was the first time on our C2C Walk that we had no other company, and over the flatter and better-drained terrain we were able to cover the ground quite quickly.
Shap itself is quite high, around 250 metres above sea level. The West Coast Main Line, the A6, and the M6 Motorway, all linking the North-West with Scotland, pass over the ‘Shap Summit’, as it is the lowest col between the fells of the Lake District and the Pennines. We crossed these transport arteries early on our walk, and reached the Yorkshire Dales National Park soon afterwards.
Quite unlike the climbs and route-march of yesterday, our pleasant ramble continued with a gentle ascent across pastures, then past Hardendale Quarry and it’s lake, and up onto the moorland of Crosby Ravensworth Fell. From here we had some fabulous panoramic views encompassing the snow-clad tops of the Lake District fells from yesterday around to those of the Pennines towards which we are headed. We stopped also for several conversations with fellow walkers, before an early sandwich lunch taking in the views.
Finally, after bumping into John, our companion from yesterday, we descended the final couple of miles across rough pasture land into the lovely village of Orton, where we found our evening’s refuge at the George Hotel.