Lord Nigel's Travels - A walk across England - Day Three

lordnigel
Lord Nigel @lordnigelSeptember 2019 · 13 min read


...it's a walk across the whole of England. 

This post continues the recount of my journey on foot across  the whole of England - it took 16 days of solid all day hiking to travel  from coast to coast. 

My chosen route took me through 3  National Parks, i.e. Lake District National Park, the Yorkshire Dales  National Park, and the North York Moors National Park.   

You can read about the previous day(s) here:

Day One - St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge - 25KM

Day Two - Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite - 23 KM

Without further delay here is my recount of Day 3..

As previously posted approximately 30 people a year die attempting to walk across the whole of England, so if you are squeamish it might be best to not read about day 3.

It was nuts, at one point I thought I might die! it was simply the most dangerous thing I have ever done. It was some of the roughest terrain of the whole walk, but for some reason I needed to do it during one of the worst thunders storms I have experienced in England.

It's possible at least one person bought the farm today (didn't make it); I heard the rescue helicopter and I confirmed the next morning with the locals at least 3 people ran into trouble to the level they required the rescue helicopter to hoist them out....it was tough and very dangerous.

They morning of day 3 I had another lovely English breakfast and purchased another take away lunch. The conversation at the breakfast table was bleak, with a thunderstorm forecast for late morning. The staff of the hotel reasoned with walkers to reconsider the walk today and busily organised cabs for many people. 

For me I didn't travel all this way not to walk every single step and my hotel was booked and waiting for me the otherside of the mountain...it was an easy choice, I would ignore the warnings and go anyways.

It was an approx 14.5 Km walk today from Rosthwaite to Grasmiere on day 3 and you can see my chosen route below:

The walk started out much like the previous days there were a few other walkers ahead of me and I started with my full wet weather gear on (with full knowledge I would be climbing a mountain in a thunderstorm). 

When I left the Royal Oak I had a  lovely stroll down a country England lane

It was a bit wet from overnight rain and I recall it was raining on and off lightly. 

The thing about walking across the whole of England is the path is constantly changing, so it wasn't long and I was walking by farm lands and had a few sheep wishing me well on my journey.

I should have realised today was going to be a bad day out with all the sheep looking worst for wear and seeming a bit more edgy then normal. Still I was determined and would not turn back.

The sheep were really sad looking and soaked and I remember having a feeling that they were trying to tell me something..In hindsight perhaps I should have turned around then.

After a short walk further the path turns and heads towards the mountains and into the wilderness. There was plenty to see at this early stage of the day; despite the growing rain the country side is beautiful and green with fantastic waterfalls to stop and stare.

It's unfortunate but the wind and rain was just too much to risk my DSLR so today's posts are photo's from the IPhone 6 in a plastic bag or from my water proof Olympus.... Anyways before long the path ascends and gradually the climb gains in difficulty, with the weather and path conditions worsening the more I progressed.

Even though the path sometimes suddenly becomes pretty much nonexistent, today's walk took me up and over the highest peak in the area, so to not get lost I just headed for that at times losing sight of the other walkers who like me decided to proceed.


As I progressed up the hill the rain worsened as per the weather forecast it was very rough and my body was losing heat -- I'm so glad I dressed for full wet weather, but no gear prepared me for what I faced today. The photo's don't give you a sense of how cold, wet and windy it was.

The path at this stage just didn't exist it was more like a stream that I think may have once been a path. I did my best to stop and take pictures along the way, but the ground was slippery and the slope was ever increasing.

I occasionally ran into others moving up the hill as I approached the peak I realised the entire top was overrun with flooding water, the path was pretty much just a waterfall. The rain at this point was a downpour and the entire area was foggy and cloudy. Occasionally the horizon lit up as lightening struck and the storm raged around me. At this point it was simply too dangerous to take photos, I knew I needed to just focus on the task and take some photo's once the storm had passed and/or I had made it off the worse slippery slopes.

It's very hard climbing up a waterfall, the water rushes in your face and the rocks are slippery making you slide backwards if you lose hold.  If your not truly water tight the water finds a way in, my backpack and all dry clothes were washed out in the final climb to the top peak. Several people had better sense and turned around at this point. For me madness prevailed and I was determined to walk every step across England so I completed the climb with a few other determined wanderers.

At the top it at least looked like I was on a trail again vs. just a waterfall so the danger level dropped a few notches in my books.

I imagine in good weather it would be very beautiful views and a great part of anyone's walk across England - just not mine with the conditions so poor today.

It's a bit flat on the top of the mountain, which makes it less dangerous in that if you slip you won't tumble to your death, but for me I didn't like it as I quickly cooled down. I tried to keep up the pace to keep warm but it was difficult because the rocks were slippery and I fell several times cutting my hands.  To roll an ankle here despite courage and determination would mean the rest of the walk would be over, so  I had to force myself to go slow and safe at the cost of lowering my core body temperature.

The top was a bit boggy in spots but a good enough spot to stop and have a bite while I waited for the thunderstorm to calm down a bit. The weather changes pretty rapidly in England and before I knew it the mist/cloud started to clear again and the thunder and lightening was replaced with just a constant rain and much slower wind.

While the thunder and lightening stopped the rain kept moving from light to heavy, so I found I couldn't sit still long without shivering and losing too much heat, this was despite all the layers; I recall having to keep moving even though feeling very tired.

I remember feeling really exhausted after having something to eat. This worried me allot as it was dangerous and I was shaking...I realised this was not a walk, but a high intense deathtrap! I was starting to think those who turned around earlier may have made the right choice. It was around here I heard the rescue helicopter approach.

I remember thinking how truly shit this was as I approached 3 other walkers.  I cried out "Nooo" as I saw one slip sideways popping his knee cap out. I ran over to lend a hand and his two buddies decided they would use the sat phone and call the chopper to get back. I checked my mobile...There was no signal and they made offer I could go with them.

I had to make a choice leave these guys and finish the other 50% of the walk remaining or take the last chopper home so to speak.

I decided to push on, knowing It was unlikely now I would see others on the path and if I hurt myself there would be no call for help.

From here on in I gave up on paths, I looked at my map on the mobile and kept moving on and just used my wits to work my way down the mountain. The rain was getting in my eyes and I needed to look down allot to ...there were bog holes everywhere.

I checked my mobile often, but it was starting to get wet as I had to slip my hand inside the plastic bag to touch the screen it wouldn't react any more. Having made little progress on the slippery decent I came across this sign.

At this point I found someone sitting and eating their lunch, the presence of another human and the sign gave me some fresh hope I was on the right track and raised my spirits.

..This is where it got tough and I spotted the rescue chopper in the distance. The heavens opened up and it bucketed down.

I sat with this other walker for just a few moments, we nodded at each other but couldn't talk over the noise of the rain and wind and I recall he looked about as happy as the sheep I had seen on the way up earlier that day.  I wished him well with another nod and made my decent, he just seemed content to sit in the rain munching on his soggy sandwich :(

The pathway down was steep and not defined, at times I walked through small streams and tried to avoid but follow the larger ones down. Many times I had to cross flowing water streams from leaping on rocks which were not safe and could have easily pulled me off my feet and killed me if the water flow took me down the mountain.

Sometimes there were stepping stones in the right place, just shallow enough to  make it across just getting up to ankle high (my water proof shoes seemed to hold out). 

I don't know how but I recall my feet stayed dry until about 75% complete and then I had just one wet foot - Haha, Although it's possible the other one had just frozen and I couldn't tell anymore.

It was around this point I came across some people stuck in a large mud bog..When I say stuck, I mean they were up to their knees and they were trying to scramble up a boggy ridge. I approached slowly and realised I needed to cross this as well.

By the time I got there they were physically exhausted. The ground was leveling out a little so we were about 80% of the way through the days walk. I'm quite experienced with tough terrain and nibble on rocks and things and I managed to scramble around the edges crushing a few bushes and using them as leverage I made my way past the bog. I felt exhausted, too exhausted to help these stuck people...but I couldn't be that guy to just walk away.

I made my way over and jumped in the bog with them. I managed to manover them to slightly more stable ground but by this time their spirits were broken and I could see they just couldn't even lift their legs. I asked them to lie forward to unstick them and then I just dragged each out by just pulling them by their hands and brute force and help of some broken shrubs and sticks.

Anyways I pulled them out and it wasn't long and the rain had washed the mud off.

After a few minutes rest I found the energy to get up again. Not sure where their strength came from, but once they were out they just powered off, clearly they were trying to get the heck out of hell and could see the end not far below... I only hope if I ever get stuck like that, someone will stop and help and do the same thing.

I still had a very rocky and somewhat steep decent to go. Unfortunately it just kept bucketing down and I realised I was having a bit of a 'spiritual moment' on this mountain as I came to a raging waterfall with no way to hop across. It was strange my energy levels were near zero but my courage grew as I waded through the fast flowing stream breaking all my water proof seals and ignoring my own feelings of danger. I remember thinking I could be swept away as I was waist deep and it would have killed me and flung me off the mountain. It was cold but it was suprisingly stable under my feet. It was the most crazy thing ever, If I had slipped during that crossing I surely would have died.

From here on in it was good news I looked back and saw the mountain behind me (which basically just looked like a massive waterfall) and in front of me a familiar looking path spiraled forward into some farm land and towards a little bridge. It wasn't long before I came across some hikers heading the opposite direction.

I gave them fair warning, but they were just starting their day and like me earlier that morning were dead set  keen on exploring and giving the mountain a go.

Tonight I stopped at the Moss Grove a fancy pants hotel and the shower was bliss.

With a great meal in my belly I headed to bed

.. I slept and wandered how I didn't hurt myself and die on that hill and dreamed what day 4 of my hike across England would bring.

 That's it for this Lord Nigel's travels - if you  would like me to continue with each day of the walk,  please show your  approval in the usual way - exclusive for Steemians of course :)


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thevillan
The Villan @thevillanSeptember 2019

This makes me super pumped for my trip tomorrow :D
Are those gaiters under that mud?


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lordnigel
Lord Nigel @lordnigelSeptember 2019

Yeah, that wasn't my legs in that photo - but I too had gaiters, with the bush and mud they are a must in that territory.

M8 your Kayaking adventure sounds awesome and is a well deserved break for ya - enjoy!


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Awesome! I liked those sheeps. They look cute.


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lordnigel
Lord Nigel @lordnigelSeptember 2019

Cheers - Yeah they were brilliant!


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Awesome pictures … too bad about the DSLR but I totally understand .… you don't want to take your baby into those conditions.


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lordnigel
Lord Nigel @lordnigelSeptember 2019

My DSLR is water resistant. I did put it to the test once, basically as soon as it gets more then a drizzle of rain it locks up and needs to dry out and have the battery swapped...so yeah, sadly not worth the risk. Was probably a good call anyways as several hours on day 3, it was all misty anyways.


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ryivhnn
ryivhnn @ryivhnnSeptember 2019

Glad you lived to tell the tale 😱

Maybe listen to warnings next time 😆


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lordnigel
Lord Nigel @lordnigelSeptember 2019

True! it was a bit risky/dumb - Still, I wouldn't have a story to tell today and I would have failed in my quest to walk every step across England :)


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You're quite possibly the most insane walker I've come across on here! Well done for making it through, if you can do it through that and the storms of today then you'll be fine for the rest of the expedition!

Is this the coast to coast walk? 192 miles from West to East in 16 days?


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lordnigel
Lord Nigel @lordnigelSeptember 2019

Hey, yep that's the walk! basically wainwright's coast to coast (with a few small variations). It started in St Bees and ending in Robin Hood’s Bay.

I wouldn't call myself an insane walker normally (by day I'm just an office worker these days and have gotten a bit soft); that day was definitely the most difficult set of challenges I have faced in a single day, I will occasionaly do something dumb like sit on the edge of a cliff for a photo and feel a little like.. I'm in danger, but day 3 on the coast to coast as soon as I headed up that mountain and I saw people sliding around and over, I knew it was bad news...I just never expected it to be as bad, particularly the way down being so dangerous, slippery rocks and walking through fast flowing streams... I imagine it's a pleasant hike, with beautiful views... when the conditions are good :)


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I was thinking of doing that at some point. Maybe in the "summer months" where the days a bit longer. I was near Robin's Hood bay a couple of weeks ago, went to Whitby Abbey which is a great place to finish off. Also done the Yorkshire 3 Peaks and UK 3 Peaks Challenge which were tough! But not in the conditions you did.

With you on the office worker front, it will probably feel like a holiday when you get back to it after all these battles of the hiking challenge! Slippery rocks are my biggest fear, hate them with a passion!

Hope the conditions are better today for you and you get some great views!


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lordnigel
Lord Nigel @lordnigelSeptember 2019

Nice job with those peaks - I did this walk sometime ago, just took me some time to get around to posting it on Steemit. Fortunately the days got much better and the lake district was definitely the more difficult area.


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