Guided Coast to Coast Day 7

19:33


I read up on the history of Wainwright and I know my way around his Coast to Coast book, but he's not the main inspiration for this walk anymore. Everyone wants to know about Julia Bradbury!

Julia is a Nigellaesque presenter fond of flicking her tussled hair. She has introduced the Coast to Coast to a new generation of middle-aged men. In short she's the walking man's crumpet. Rather than explain Wainwright's childhood in Blackburn, or the influence his loveless marriage on his solitary walks, what people want to know is where Julia sat in Kirkby Stephen fish and chip shop. 

But there is a controversy about Julia's walk. Apparently a stand in was used in some of the long shots and, gasp, she might not have actually walked the whole way. 

The goal, out of Kirkby is to get to Nine Standards. These are nine large cairns that no one really knows who built, when or why. They are centuries old and one theory is that the marked the boundary between Yorkshire and Cumbria. Another theory is that the Romans built them to look like approaching troops. I think some bored dry stone wallers had a competition and it got out of hand. 

Down from Nine Standards Rigg and White Mossy Hill, you walk past some grouse shooting paraphernalia to Ravelseat Farm. 

Julia visited the farm on the DVD and talked to Amanda, the Yorkshire Shepherdess. She's got a good tale of growing up in Huddersfield and meeting her husband when sent to the farm to pick something up.  She married him and moved in to start breeding sheep and children. They have about 8 free range kids that run about the farm and help out with the cream teas. You can sit outside the farm and get tea and a scone.  Just like Julia did!

From Ravenseat to Keld you pass by many of the distinctive stone barns common in Swaledale called Laithes.  The idea was to have a small barn in each pasture rather than big ones by the central farm house. They are two story with a hay loft above stalls for cattle. In this way there wasn't far to take the hay from each pasture and it could be forked down to feed the cattle as needed. Also the cow manure could be collected and didn't have to be transported far to fertilise each pasture. 

When you arrive in Keld and relax for the night, spare a thought for poor Julia who had to be helicoptered away to other filming commitments. 

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