Monday 7 November 2016

The 2nd Leg: It Started With a Pie

Tues 20th Sept
The plan for today was to conquer Dent Hill, which we had originally hoped to negotiate as the final stage of our first C2C leg from St Bees. We didn’t expect the climb to be too difficult, but the descent was noted in the Trailblazer guide as being ‘just about the steepest path in the whole trail – mind your ankles!’ which caused me some slight concern.

After travelling up from Cheshire / Lancashire we positioned one car at Ennerdale Bridge and returned to our starting point at Cleator (where we had finished on 24th August) in the other car. I had read in another C2C blog that the Village Store in Cleator must sell wonderful pies because they have a sign outside informing customers of their pie status. The interchangeable sign was displaying ‘NO PIES’ when they were passing – as it was when we were there at the end of our previous leg. This morning, however, it announced ‘PIES’ and I thought it foolish not to investigate.

I had a chat with the lady in the shop who told me that the pies are baked on the premises very early in the morning and that they have usually sold out by lunchtime. People come from all around just for the pies which are the store’s best seller. I opted for a meat and potato which was excellent. Crammed with filling like a double Cornish pasty. Took a bit of eating and I didn’t want anything else for a few hours! Don’t even think about climbing Dent Hill without first arming yourself with a famous Cleator Village Stores pie. See Footnote

Through the farm. We are on the way to Dent Hill (this tractor is going nowhere)
entering the forest
The route through the forest which envelops the bottom half of the hill was fairly apparent – as was the climb to the summit once we emerged from the trees. This was a fine day and it made for a really enjoyable trek. Wonderful views were to be enjoyed from the summit and for a moment we debated whether we were looking at hazy outline of the Isle of Man or whether it was Ireland (it was of course the former).
leaving the summit
the walk alongside Nannycatch Beck

Time for a snack at Nannycatch Beck
The steep descent proved less daunting than feared, but hiking poles were employed as we carefully made our way down to the charmingly named Nannycatch Beck. From there, a pleasant walk alongside the beck took us to the road into Ennerdale Bridge.

a helpful C2C sign as we approached the road to Ennerdale Bridge

The Ennerdale valley is a haven for red squirrels. (They didn't appear while we were passing)

Although we had only walked 6 miles, it had taken about 4½ hrs. At Ennerdale Bridge we picked up the car and returned to Cleator for the other car. It was 3:30pm and, as expected, the Village Store sign now announced ‘NO PIES’.

Tomorrow was going to be a longer expedition so we had booked into a Bed and Breakfast hotel – The Royal Oak at Borrowdale. The evening meal was excellent (salmon) and the accommodation about adequate for the price. I tried to befriend Spot, the old dog who seemed to have to live outside, but he was too weary (and cold probably) to be bothered with affection – poor thing. He didn’t look as though there was much spark left in him. At least he didn’t bite me!

Footnote: Bob's wonderful wife had generously provided both of us with substantial packed lunches. There was absolutely no need to supplement them with Cleator pies - I simply had to satisfy my curiosity. The benefit was that I saved some of my packed lunch for the next day when it was greatly appreciated!

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