Hike Southbound through Britain with Daryl May
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DS37 River Melo enroute Beetham
DSS37 Weir
Days S33 - S43                                                                  North of England
Day S37 - Kendal to Beetham 
Day S36                              A visit with friends                               Day S38
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Scottish Highlands
Central Scotland
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North of England
English Midlands
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Northbound Home
Sunday, March 30, 2008

Time of departure: 8.15 am
Time of arrival: 1.00 pm
Place departed: Kendal, Cumbria
Place arrived: Beetham, Cumbria

Miles: 11
Cum miles: 498.2
Percent complete: 51.3

Bed sign Bluebell Cottage, Beetham ****
Cost for bed and breakfast: 30 ($60)
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DS37 Wheatsheaf Inn Beetham
Wheatsheaf Inn, Beetham
Hobson launched into the rain at 8.15, at an hour that seemed earlier than it was because of the switch to summer time (daylight saving time) last night.

Into the rain? When I vacationed in the Lake District 45 years ago, mention of the rain invariably evoked the comment, "Something's got to fill the lakes". I am sure they make the same comment today. It's one of those reassuring remarks which tell us that this part of the world is as perfect as it's always been.

But, in Kendal, looking at the rain from the comfort of the Sawyers Arms breakfast room, I didn't feel reassured. I wondered if it would just be simpler if I filled my boots with tap water, and soaked my clothes in the shower, before dressing and heading out. At least that would end any drama about my state of wetness for the day. But, as I relate below with considerable satisfaction, I stayed dry today.

Happiness is a B&B or inn at which your boots dry overnight. That was a close shave at the Sawyers Arms last night, since the heating was meager. Better still is a B&B or inn at which you arrive in dry boots in the first place. That's Bluebell Cottage in Beetham tonight, where I've stayed before. That's because it stopped raining soon after I set out this morning from Kendal, and changed quickly to Scotch mist, and then later to sunny spells . . . and, after I stopped, to a beautiful clear evening. My clothes never got really wet.

I haven't checked back in the journal, but I think it's rained for a portion of just about every day except two, since I left Tain four weeks ago. So I'm grateful for any day that's mostly dry.

Today, I have a short walking day for a reason. A friend from my youth, Richard M, has a second home near here. We've arranged to meet this evening after a gap of ten years or so. One of the nice things about friendships formed in one's youth is that you can do this without awkwardness or apologies. Today I met his wife, Linda, for the first time.

They picked me up at Beetham, and we had a sherry at their Arnside home before visiting the Arnside waterfront on Morecambe Bay. This is a famous bay with a racing tide that covers the low-tide mudflats with a rapidity that's impressively dangerous. Afterwards, we dined at the Kingfisher, which offers great food with a stunning view of the bay and, in clear weather like this evening, of some of the Lake District peaks beyond.

It was a great pleasure meeting Richard and his charming wife, Linda. Richard has risen to the top of the UK civil service, and I can see why. He combines a rare capability with British modesty and humor. He didn't mention this, but I happen to know that international aid to developing countries has been put on a sounder footing by Richard's untiring work over the years promoting the need to measure its effectiveness.

The lonely life of the long distance hiker has the effect of eroding one's social skills. Tell me a joke, and it will take longer for me to see it. Ask me a question, and I'll hesitate before answering. I wish to thank Richard and Linda for bringing me back to human society for the evening. And for being instrumental in renewing an old friendship.
Day S36                                     2007 and 2008 Daryl May                                       Day S38