Jasper Carrot's mother-in-law has not had many car accidents, but she's seen thousands. David isn't the cause of every mishap, it's just that when we have one, he always seems to be around. Wayne set off early in order to check out the reservoir (a good idea, since he finally saw the King Fisher, one of the two birds he most wanted to see!). Although we'd seen and heard him as we walked up the road, he was taking a long time reappearing at the end of the lakeside path, so I went back for him. David knows the ground like the back of his hand (we'll pass the farm he grew up on today) and he described the point where we needed to turn off the road. Then he led the rest of the pack on up the road. Wayne was re-strapping his ankle, so I was glad that I went back, but all was well. We set off after the others, perhaps 10 minutes behind.
An hour later, we were on top of the moors and still hadn't overtaken the pack. There was no way they were still in front. Wayne waited while I went back. Wayyy back. All the way to the road. No sign of them. We'd lost over an hour and a half by the time I got back, but more important, we'd lost six people. We had no choice but to go on. I hoped David had gone back, driven around to the finish and that they were now walking towards us--to be sure they'd meet us. My worst nightmare was that they were not walking. To come this far, and now be thwarted was unthinkable.
The walk along the moor was incredible. Not dissimilar to a cliff top. The moors on our right, and an almost vertical drop on our left down to fields in the valley below.
We passed a glider club and watched them winch a glider up into the air.
Then as we came down the other side of the next hill, David was coming up to meet us. They'd taken a "short cut" which had taken them as long to walk as our route plus the hour and a half wait had taken us. Amongst other things, this had meant wading through a bracken forest, which didn't do much to improve visibility.
The others were waiting in an invisible pub built into the side of the hill. It was such a warm day, and we were all so relieved to be reunited, we had a midday pint.
Weather is finally warm. Warm enough to sit outside. So we do. Not just at the pub, but later, several times on the route. Another major breakthrough: our route takes us up and over three small, steep hills. David knows a low route which he intends to take with Julie. *All* the "yutes" decide to come with us. The views from the top are impressive enough that Alexis concedes that that's why she puts up with the climb.
The B&B is a mile off the route--the furthest off the path of all, but it is still about the first house you come to. David drives us all there, then Wayne and I return to the path with him, where we pick up Julie and their two boys and head to one of David's old haunts for a beer. I only mention this because we discover one of our favorite beers from the whole route: Cameron's Strong Arm. We're forced to sample several.
After being dropped back at the B&B, we bid them a fond farewell, and then pick up our ride to the local village for a pub dinner. Claudia is not too happy with the discovery that the van driver spends the entire time we're there sitting drinking in the other bar. Nevertheless, he delivers us safely back, and we, in our relaxed state, agree to requests for him to pick us up again in the morning and drop us on the trail. These kids don't know how easy they've got it. Or perhaps they do.