Leaving Keld at 8.55 I was delighted that the sun was shining and the overnight rain had not materialised. However, within 30 minutes I was putting on my rain jacket and over-trousers, which stayed on for the rest of the day. I can only say that the weather has certainly changed for the worst, and at times the rain seemed to be falling in biblical proportions.
Two hours after leaving Keld I reached Tan Hill Inn. Like the Windmill they never close, so I was able to get a mug of tea, and a very kind gentleman gave me a £5 donation for Sobell House.
Leaving the pub you enter Sleightholme Moor, best described as bleak and boggy. Unfortunately this goes on for around 8 km. I am sure it would have enjoyed it more without the driving rain. Eventually Sleightholme Farm came into view and the path goes through a delightful limestone valley before reaching Trough Head.
Turning north the path descends to God’s Bridge, a natural limestone slab bridge, before climbing to cross the A66. From here to Baldersdale it was a hard slog. My rucksack was uncomfortable, the path was straight and boring and in danger of being washed away, as was I. The only interest was listening to the guns blasting away at the grouse on the hillside opposite. Eventually, just before 4.00 the best thing I had seen all day hove into sight: Alan’s car.
I barely had a stitch of dry clothes on me so did a rapid change at the car. Sometimes the small pleasures are best: just to be in dry clothes and out of the rain.
Returning to Middridge I was able to get some washing done but, as Alan does not have a dryer, I will have to use my Scotland kit until Jedburgh. The Bay Horse next door provided a fine dinner and it was good to catch up with Alan.