This 18 1/2-mile day was almost exclusively spent on the highland moors. I felt like we were on the North Pole of a heather-covered globe! This is the day the heavens finally opened, and poured on us for hours. Joseph dug his flannel coat from his backpack but neglected to put on his rain poncho. Soon he was drenched and chilled to the bone. This was Joe’s low point of the entire walk. We kept walking furiously. If it had to rain, this was the best possible day. The trail was well marked and level.
I have never heard thunder bellowing for such a long period of time. It roared over our heads, back and forth from one side to the other. In spite of the miserable conditions, it was easy to lose myself in the drama. The clouds we were walking through began moving away to reveal a cavernous valley to our right side. It held the brilliant green tracts of land that were now familiar. Then the most amazing thing happened: the distant view was telescoping toward me. You know the sensation when you’re in a parked car but you feel like you’re moving when cars drive past you? Because of the shifting clouds, it was as if I was transported toward the valley opening up before my eyes! It was extraordinary, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
Finally, with nine miles behind us, we reached the Lion Inn–a refuge in the middle of nowhere. We have never been so relieved to arrive anywhere. We entered and made our way through dripping clothes and boots into the inviting warmth of the pub. After refueling with a hot meal, we bought Joe a “Lion Inn” shirt. With a dry shirt and the rain poncho he was ready to hit the trail again.
After a long day, we descended into the welcoming, green landscape. We stayed at the Red House Farm, a charming home from the 1700s, tastefully appointed with modern amenities. They didn’t serve dinner, however, and when our hostess said the pub was just a 15-minute walk, Joseph and I looked at each other and said in unison “we’ll skip dinner!”
Settled in at Red House Farm
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