Seems our reputation is now going before us. Started with a 'Here's the girls!' everywhere we went and, I have to say, it's a very flattering welcome - pubs, tea shops, Black Sail Youth Hostel... you name it, out rings the chorus. Our Canadian friends ask of each passing walker, 'Have you seen the girls?' concerned if we haven't overtaken them (as we inevitably do) by lunchtime! Then there were Mavis and Sylvia and our 'as seen on TV' moment.
And then came today... En route to the Nine Standards (deepest, darkest, boggiest Yorkshire now), the four chaps we'd first spotted in Patterdale, also doing the West to East route for the first time, greeted us with 'So which rescue team is it tonight girls?' Seems they just happen to be passing at precisely the moment we're posing in front of yet another team vehicle, alongside another set of hunky mountain rescue men. Every evening.
And so to Muker where we had to cross a wooden bridge over the River Swale, followed by a couple of fields, before reaching the village where we'd been due to meet members of Swaledale team a good hour earlier. Just over the bridge I glanced up towards the gate ahead and there was the distinctive navy and red Mountain Rescue logo, on a navy polo shirt. Clearly this was the forward party. So I smiled. As I reached the gate, David (currently the most popular name in mountain rescue) said, 'Are you who I think you are?'
Well, seems I was who he thought I was because he then escorted us into the village. But not before he'd radioed his colleagues of his find. 'The party of three we've been tracking down the River Swale appears to be our two, over.' Swaledale team members from across the county called of their search. Confused the hell out of them you see, because we'd picked up a 'hanger-on' and a dog en route in the form of team mate Mike and Scree. (which made Gail's day!) But all's well that ends well and we headed for the pub for a shandy and... er, another photo in front of a team vehicle with a load of hunky mountain rescue men. It's a tough job...
And, in case you think I've said all there was to say about this 'preceding reputation' thing, chatting later to our lovely landlady, Joyce, she revealed there'd been two lots of mountain rescue team members knocking on her door through the afternoon, asking if we'd arrived yet. Cue much amusement when we did finally arrive and not too much of an anti-climax I hope.
And speaking of Joyce (and I DID tell her I'd be blogging this), there was some concern expressed that she get away from doing the breakfasts in sufficient time to strip the beds and be off out by 10.30. We gather she and her husband help out at the local pub on a Monday. So much so that we even offered (well Gail did) to strip the beds for her after sleeping in them... No she said, that's fine, but if you could just hover, you know, rather than mess the sheets up... Hovering over the bed now as I type.
Back to the the bog: bog? What bog? lol. Skipped across those tussocks, to the bog born.
Okay, okay... it's been very dry recently, and the sun was shining, and it didn't rain, well not much... and we're used to bogs in Lancashire... and yes, I really wouldn't have fancied navigating across that in poor visibility... and yes, it was a BIT boggy, and some of the peat hags were as big as Volkswagen Beetles...
Anyway, onwards to Reeth tomorrow. A very short hop. We're due to meet the cave contingent of Swaledale in the afternoon, a man called Pete, whose reputation has very much gone before him. Even Joyce knows him. The plan, they say, is to take us down a cave... not sure, at this stage, whether the plan is to let us out again. Tune in this time tomorrow to find out. And if everything goes horribly quiet, just dial 999' ask for 'Police' then 'Mountain rescue' and tell them you've lost your Twirlies. That should do the trick.