It was another very cold night last night in Keld! Wearing all my clothes inside the sleeping bag helped.
But Keld is a beautiful hamlet (no mobile reception for a 4 mile radius) and great place to camp. Just beside the river and a lovely waterfall. Apparently, in the summer there are swarms of midgies. I knew there was an upside to it being so cold.
Still, the day has been warm and sunny, even a bit hot during the afternoon. Perfect for a walk and for drying socks hanging off the back of the bag.
As a day it was one of the shortest and easiest on the whole route apparently. It was a bit like a rest day – just an 11 mile ramble, although at one point the path was so narrow and the drop to one side so precipitous I unclipped the waistband of my rucksack…just in case I slipped and wanted to get it of quickly before it took me to the bottom of the ravine!
It was also my first day going solo, although inevitably you meet up with, and leap frog, different people or groups throughout the day, depending on their pace and rhythm of taking breaks. There are the plodders that never stop and the speedier ones that stop regularly. I’m probably in the second category.
(Ruins of Crackpot Hall!)
Lunch was beside the river. And I found a Gigantoproductus. Yes, I know. How exciting!
For the few of you who don’t already know, that’s basically a really, really old clam. How do I know this, as I know nothing about fossils? Well, not 10 mins after finding it and still wondering if I’d ever discover what it was, I saw a man kneeing on the ground ahead with a small hammer, tapping rocks. Low and behold a geologist! He knew everything there was to know about rocks and the like and we chatted for about 15 mins. My only dilemma now is whether to keep it, as it weighs a lot.
So, my first solo day complete. I got on the road at a reasonable time without leaving anything behind, didn’t get lost, (even stopped someone else from heading way off track), bought enough food and water for the day and made it in good time to Reeth. It’s different being on your own. There’s no one to check in with, to test your idea about where you are on the map or encourage you on when you’re flagging. No one to help you put your tent up.
Our lads also need to step out on their own – do things that they haven’t done before – to prove to themselves that they can do it. It might be as simple as getting a doctor’s appointment or going to the Job Centre. Maybe we’ll need to help them the first time, but the next time we’ll challenge them to do it themselves. They don’t always rise to the challenge the first time, but when they do they always have a real sense of achievement. It’s small steps, but our plan is always to move them from dependence to independence, so that in time they won’t need a mentor. But you don’t just become independent like that. You need to practice with others until you start to believe you can do it yourself.
I’m glad it went OK going solo today… and now I know I can do it again tomorrow.