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Pennine Way
Middleton to Muker
Thursday 28th August.
Day:8 - Distance:21 miles

07.00 alarm call and by 08.00 we have packed everything and we are walking out of the camp site. The morning was overcast but rain wasn't threatening. The walk through the morning is not particularly memorable probably because the previous day was such a great walk. The pennine way rolls along through low hills crossing farm land and passing reservoirs. We did get lost at one point. The waymarking south bound is pretty much no existent so we need to follow the map closely. We covered 9 miles in three and a half hours reaching the famous land mark of Gods Bridge before midday. Gods Bridge is a hugh slab of rock which provides a natural bridge across the river Greta.


The rain started to fall at this point. Not to heavy but we had to put hoods up. We decided we would move on quickly up and over Sleightholme moor and try to reach Tan Hill and the highest pub in England before 14.00. If we did we could probably get a hearty cooked lunch. Our target was over 6 miles of heather moorland to cross in just 2 hours. Route finding is not difficult if the clouds are high and they were high this afternoon so we walked on quickly. The moor was open for grouse shooting and shots could be heard in the distance although we didn't catch sight of the guns. The pub at Tan Hill is visible on the horizon for about 3 miles. At that distance it never seems to get any closer and the hour between 13.00 and 14.00 seemed very long. We walked through the front door of the pub at 14.00 just in time for last food orders. The pub had a large fire burning in the hearth which was welcome as it was damp and cold outside and we sat down to enjoy a good cooked meal by the fire.

All good things must come to an end and after a comfortable hour eating lunch by the fire it was time to move on. Most southbound pennine wayfarers spend the night at Keld but we wanted to cover another 3 miles during the day. Our aim was to reach Muker which is a little off the route but has an excellent camp site and 3 less miles on a long day tomorrow would be good as well.
In general we were walking well. With nearly 8 days completed we were beginning to see a level of fitness that would enable us to complete the walk easily. The cloud cleared and we walked on through an afternoon bathed in sunshine. As Tan Hill is the highest pub in England our afternoon walking was pretty much all down hill. At first it's gentle track walking across moorland and then on into high pasture dotted with stone barns before a steep decent to cross the river Swale at Keld. The Pennine Way climbs up and around Kidson hill on a high contour but we kept to the rivers edge following the footpath south to Muker and then West to our chosen camp site at Usha Gap.


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