Missed what happened on day 1? Click here to find out!
Day 2 – Carlisle to Banks
~14 miles / 8 hours 45 minutes
Day 2 began with sore, achy muscles – the speed of the previous day’s walk had clearly caught up to us. We took ibuprofen, Krysta covered her many blisters with band-aids (even though we were wearing anti-blister walking socks), and we stretched our muscles.
We realized it’s essential to constantly stretch while walking. Stretch at the beginning of the day, stretch at the end of the day, and stretch in between. This allows your muscles to loosen up so they don’t seize and become even sorer than they will be anyway, making your walk much more manageable.
We hit the trail at 11:00 am – a much more reasonable time! Because we weren’t in a rush on day 2, we decided to take our time, take more breaks and enjoy the scenery which was getting a lot better as the hours went by!
We were looking forward to a more enjoyable day of walking when disaster struck! After about 45 minutes of walking, James started to feel some pain in his left foot. He wasn’t sure what had caused it since he didn’t roll over on it, step on anything, or do anything that would cause pain. Nevertheless, the pain worsened as the day went on, making certain parts of the walk much trickier than they should have been. More on this in day 3’s post!
Despite James’s pain, there were several memorable moments for the right reason. At one point we were on the edge of a field sitting on a picnic bench in the middle of a small town when a lady and her little boy walked by us and hopped into their car. She looked over at us and our backpacks and asked if we were doing the walk.
We told her yes, and she jumped into her car. Thinking that was it and that she was going to drive off, it was a surprise when she hopped back out of her car with a large bar of chocolate. “Here you go,” she said. “It’ll give you some energy. You need it more than we do!”
That little moment shows the typical good nature and kindness of people in small towns and villages. But to be fair, northern England is full of friendly people who will often say hello and smile as you walk by or, in our situation, give you a massive bar of chocolate.
We gobbled it up and headed off again, now with an extra spring in our step (well, maybe not in James’s). As we went on we got our first glimpses of the actual remains of the wall today (by that we mean stone wall, rather than turf wall) which was exciting, and we also had our first run-in with a sheep, which was scary.
If you’re used to being around farm animals you’ll probably roll your eyes at us. And no, nothing traumatic or life-changing happened.
James was walking ahead and accidentally walked a bit too close to a couple of lambs. The mommy sheep turned and started to run at James. Krysta was behind, laughing, and grabbed her camera to take a photo of this hilarious sight. At this point, the sheep turned around and refocused her attention on Krysta. Now it was James’s turn to laugh as Krysta shouted, “James, help!”. He didn’t, obviously. Instead, he just laughed and waited to see what would happen.
Krysta skirted the edge of the field and flattened herself against the fence, trying to create as much distance between her and the sheep as she could, all while having a staring contest with it. She tried to move away as quickly as possible, but not too quick as to spook either the sheep or the lambs.
Finally, with a sigh of relief, we were both on the safe side of the fence and in a fit of giggles. We survived the wrath of the sheep! Terrifying!
It was funny, but once again, please keep in mind that you’re in the animal’s homes and that the sheep only thought we were threatening her and her babies. We learned our lesson here to keep a distance between us and them, and we didn’t have any more problems. Lambing season is a stressful time for these animals, and they don’t need the added stress of feeling threatened by walkers.
Much of this walk runs through what is now private farmland. You’re constantly going in, out and over fences and gates to follow the path (don’t worry, it’s a public right-of-way and you’re allowed to walk on it), meaning that you’ll encounter many farm animals (not just sheep and lambs) along the way.
They’re scary and intimidating at first, especially if you’re city-raised people like we are. We’re not used to coming face-to-face with a sheep or a cow (cows are massive and curious!). But, after seeing so many of them day after day, you do get used to them being there and you almost think of them as friends by the time you finish the walk. PS. lambs jumping around and playing are extremely adorable. And they make the cutest sounds!
We pushed on after the sheep incident and were soon at our next challenge: Hare Hill.
Hare Hill seemed like a never-ending upwards climb. It even teased you a little bit by flattening out for a few steps halfway up, before making another seemingly vertical incline that you have to clamber up.
But there was another little treasure to be found about halfway up. Off to the left was a small hut that we curiously entered to see what was inside. It was extremely basic inside, but it felt like heaven at that point – there were bottles of water, cans of pop, chocolate bars, energy bars, a kettle, teabags, and coffee. There was a sign stating that walkers could help themselves, but to please leave a donation to help replenish supplies for future walkers.
We excitedly stocked up on what we wanted/needed, left a donation, and tackled the rest of Hare Hill with more energy.
By the way, we just googled Hare Hill to see how high it is, but all we’re finding is information about how the tallest remaining part of the wall stands here. We remember seeing a large chunk of the wall but didn’t realise it had a particular significance to it. Clearly, we were too entranced by the massive hill ahead of us that we didn’t pay it proper attention.
We continued on to Banks and decided we should call it a day as it was getting late, we were ready for a meal and the sun was starting to go down. We pulled out our map to see how far we were from our accommodation for the night (which was in Gilsland) and realised we were still quite far.
There was no way we could walk that distance with the amount of daylight we had left, so we called for a taxi and paid a whopping £15 to get to our accommodation for the night, The Samson Inn.
It was a cosy pub that had some rooms to rent above it, which were a lot nicer than we thought they were going to be (we would recommend staying here if you’re in the area, but please look at the note below). The food was delicious and we wolfed down our meals. We remembered our lesson from the previous night and only ordered a regular amount of food this time. We did order pints again, but this time the pint glasses were full of water and not beer!
We took turns taking hot and relaxing showers before we took more ibuprofen, did a blister-check (Krysta had about 10 by now), stretched, and gave each other quick leg massages to loosen up our muscles.
Then we slept like babies.
NOTE: As much as we loved our stay at this inn, it wasn’t an ideal location for us to sleep because it was too far away from our stopping point. If you like our pacing, try to find accommodation closer to Banks rather than in Gilsland to make your trip easier.
Have you had a confrontation with an animal before? What happened? Let us know in the comments!