Friday, 23 May 2014


The following morning, I made my way through the rain to the local railway station, which was located a little outside of the town. The Carlisle to Settle railway line travels through some of the most spectacular upland countryside in England and I had a long held ambition to travel it. Although this trip would only take in a section of this iconic line, I was looking forward to it very much, so I was hugely disappointed to choose the carriage containing an outrageously drunken Scotsman. This oaf spent the entire journey shouting and swearing loudly and drinking cans of beer while at the same time insulting the English and any walkers entering the carriage at each stop along the way. I mentally detached myself from this disturbance and tried to enjoy the scenery we passed through and as we crossed the Ribblehead Viaduct, which I had last seen through the haze on my walk from Horton in Ribblesdale to Hawes, I could clearly see the Pennine Way as it climbed over the hills in the distance and I found myself wishing I was still there rather than trapped with the drunken idiot at the other end of the carriage. 
Before too long, I arrived in Settle and spent a few hours wandering around the shops, cafes and pubs while awaiting a lift from my uncle. He was coming to collect me from his home in North Wales where I was going to spend the holiday weekend, having not seen him since he had moved there many years earlier. Soon, we were greeting each other in a car park in the centre of town and before long I found myself speeding along motorways to his home where I spent a very pleasant four days being introduced to the highlights of the North Wales scenery, albeit by car. 
Having returned home and spent a few days reflecting, I soon realised that I really shouldn't have undertaken the walk. My health had been adversely affected by the shingles virus and although I wasn't in any pain, my energy levels, and therefore my mood, were both very low. Most of the problems I had encountered along the way I would have dealt with without any great problem had I been in good health. Having 'dumped' most of my camping gear, which to be fair, was quite old, I set about purchasing newer, better quality replacements and began making plans to walk the northern half of the trail. I still cringe at the thought of littering the countryside - one of my pet hates - but my mood at the time was thunderous and all other considerations ended up in the bottom of the hollow with my failing gear. The following year, I did look to see if it was still there with the intention of picking it up and disposing of it properly but of course, it had gone. I hope someone got some use out of it!

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