Arrived in Patterdale - only a short hop today so indulged in a rather late start. In fact, later than we'd planned really, delayed in no small part by my bladder crisis. No, not THAT sort of bladder crisis! Behave yourself!
No, half way down the stairs for the off and I suddenly became aware of a distinct wetness down my left side - the one the rucksack was slung over. Stopped mid-stair to feel underneath the sack and realised it wasn't just damp: there appeared to be water streaming through it. Hot foot back up to the room to investigate, thinking the thing had burst and it turns out it's user-error (Hah! No. Surprise there then!). I've screwed the top back on to the water bladder in rather hasty fashion, and water is now being forced out the top of it with every move I make.
Only a slight delay though - thanks to the super-absorbent towels of the Grasmere Hotel - and we're off. Bit of a climb out from Grasmere, but we have the hills to ourselves. Wonder where our Canadian friends have got to but assume they must be way ahead - feel sure their guide will have drummed them out of bed for an early start. Maybe, maybe not. Later, as we continue to climb slowly up Little Tongue Gill, we see them far below us, strolling along the lower path of Tongue Gill. They wave up to us.
When we meet them later, there's much teasing comment about us being happy to talk to them today, now we no longer have our 'celebrity friend' with us. Glad to hear, though, it made their holiday too, to see a famous face on their way across England.
Our only other encounter that side of the hill was a poor unsuspecting chap, a lone walker taking the weight off his boots and enjoying the view across to Great Rigg, who engaged Gail in conversation. Let you into a secret: we've almost perfected this double act now. In she went with the chatter then, just when he's least expecting it: 'Any loose change on you today?' as I lean towards him with the collecting box, helpfully nestling in a side pocket of the rucksack.
Speaking of which, brilliant news today from our friend at Tricketts insurance, Stephen Darwen. The thumb screws must have worked because Liverpool Victoria have kindly now pledged a further £100 towards our funds. The cheque is winging it's way to us as I type. So, once again Stephen, thank you for your efforts, and thank you (of course) to Liverpool Victoria.
Back on the path we run into our young friends from the Ennerdale Bridge B&B. Really glad to see them still going, despite our concerns. 'We're tortoises,' they say. 'But we get there in the end.' Now feel sure they will. But will be keeping an eye out for them along the way. When we met, they'd been rattled by a passing couple who, completely unsolicited, had taken them to task for walking without poles, wearing inappropriate footwear... you name it. Now that's fine but, at that point in time, their footwear was perfectly adequate for the conditions and er... I wasn't using my pole for the descent either.
Personally, I use them on the uphill, not on the down where I know from experience I'm perfectly capable of tripping myself up with them. Gail, on the other hand, uses hers on the way down, not on the climb up. Personal preference. And, as I understand it, the jury is still out whether poles are a good or a bad thing. Debate at your leisure.
And it WAS quite funny when, not long afterwards, I heard a cry from Gail (hysterical laughter as it happened), who was crossing the wooden bridge behind me. Her pole had jammed in the slats, as she carried on going. Okay and funny on this occasion but a classic scenario for accident-in-the-making.
Anyway, we'll look out for our young friends now. As I say, hope they stay the course, and I have a sneaky suspicion they will.
Photoshoot with our friends at Patterdale this evening then we'll be back down to the White Lion for a nightcap. Long day tomorrow with the climb to the highest point on the Coast to Coast, to Kidsty Pike. Penrith team members are meeting us there to walk back down to their vehicle a Haweswater. It's started to rain this evening, but hopefully it won't dampen our spirits too much. At least we have the Paramo to keep us dry!
Until tomorrow, then...