More rain today and a long stretch from Patterdale to Shap. I thought we were lost at one point, as the one they call Harvey seemed to be momentarily unsure which way to go. He wanted to avoid going up the ‘High Street’, he said – I don’t think he likes shopping – but then we heard a woman’s call of ‘Harvey’ coming from behind a stone wall. “So God is a woman” I heard him mutter, “Speak Lord, your servant hears.” But it turned out to be Marion Jones who, with husband Mike, had come to meet us. Best of all, they’d brought their dog, Tasmin (Taz to her friends) and we soon sniffed each other out and became friends.

Then we all trooped down to the edge of Haweswater, leaving the drowned village of Mardale behind us to reach Taz’s house in Burnbanks, which she shares with the Joneses. Mike’s parents were there as well, and they all set about guzzling tea and cake. A furtive scrutiny of the plate later revealed nothing but a handful of crumbs.

Then Taz showed me her sleeping arrangements. Very nice, but I was able to counter that by telling her about my earlier opportunity to have a rest in Nick and Cath’s camper van which has been trailing along behind us ever since we set off. ‘Support’ they call it, so I took full advantage and would have been perfectly content to get to Robin Hood’s Bay in style, but ‘she’ said that would be cheating. I feel certain I detected a note of regret in her voice, however, and there was definitely a wistful glance over her shoulder.

Last thing I was a ‘shut in’ whilst they all trooped off to ‘The Greyhound’, where tell me they ate ‘Cumberland Greyhound Sausages.’ This made me slightly uneasy. I think I should start on converting ‘her’ to veganism before I end up as the best part of a burger.

On to Kirkby Stephen tomorrow. Another twenty miles, and rain forecast.

Miles walked – 60

Miles to do – 132

Dog miles scampered – 420

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