I genuinely thought that today we would make some headway in catching up with our target. We were still about half a days walk behind where we had planned to be. I thought, you see, that because we had no tent to pack away, and the facilities were better, and we’d have had a a better nights sleep, that we would get going a bit earlier and make better progress during the day. When the alarm went off the first thing that happened was the television went on. Instead of making a quick getaway in the early hours we instead sat and watched the weather report… twice. It was quite nice to see the penguins at the zoo in background of the report, not really helpful in getting ready though.

We did eventually get our act together and ended up leaving at about the same time as usual. It was probably the hottest day of the entire walk, there were no clouds at all that I could see and the sun was beating down with a lot of heat right from the get go.

Leaving Reeth, we walked along the side of the main road and soon took the side road for Marrick Priory. This was supposedly a quiet road, that lead only to a farm and an old building, now an educational centre. On the way down this road we were met by many other walkers, we had to move to the side to allow loads of traffic to pass, a heard of cows blocked the road for a while, and a group of squaddies marched through, putting all the walkers to shame. Quite a busy little road for something no more than about a mile long and a dead end.

At the end of the road, by the priory, a new path lead up hill. In the heat the hill was mercifully covered by trees. I was glad of a little bit of shade. The path lead to the top of the hill and the village of Marrick. Here the path levelled out a bit, it undulated, but wasn’t steep in any way. Both Jonny and myself made good progress here while the ground was soft underfoot.

As we walked along the path towards the next village, I found myself slowing down. It was not only the heat of the day, which was getting more and more intense as the morning sun moved towards its mid day high, but also the sweat was causing some rubbing, which was very irritating. Jonny stopped in the village of Marske and we had a break on the bench in the middle of the village. Another group of walkers passed us and made a joke about waiting for a bus and that we were cheating, we took it as the joke that it was meant to be, even though the Marske isn’t on a bus route.

When we set off again that is when the rubbing began to really take its toll. I think this was probably the slowest I walked throughout the trip. Jonny was having to wait for me to catch up so much that he probably spent more of his time waiting than he did walking. A further group of walkers passed us on a country road. They could see that I wasn’t really enjoying myself and asked it I was OK. I blamed my sorry face on blisters, not wanting to go into detail about the other intimate rubbing issues with old ladies. They were very kind and gave me a pack of blister patches. I now had the dilemma of stopping to put patches on in front of  these people, onto a blister that doesn’t exist. I said I would put the patches on when I got into Richmond. I said my thank-you’s to them and tried to show my appreciation but I could tell that their guide was not impressed. He strongly advised me again to sort my feet out NOW. After which, he, and his group left me alone to waddle on by myself (I say waddle because that is genuinely what I was reduced to).

We passed the group (with the insistent leader) while on the top of the last major hill before Richmond. They had stopped for some lunch, while Jonny and I had said we would have lunch in town, and then carry on, trying to get as far as we could on the other side of Richmond before nightfall. Inevitably, after they finished their food, the group now behind us, caught up again and passed in a small wood, which was nicely sheltered. Their leader let the group carry on while he had a private word with me, trying to tell me that I really should put the patches on. By now I had had enough, I realised that they were all trying to be nice and I just didn’t want to make a fuss about such matters, in the end though as it was just him there I said that the rubbing “wasn’t going on in my boots”. He got the hint straight away, he obviously has done a lot of walking and it has happened to him before in the past as well. He told me that there is nothing that can be done for that problem, gave me a good old fashioned “stiff upper lip” pep talk, and then walked ahead to catch up with his group.When I caught up with Jonny, he told me that the leader of the group had told him that “He had seen it so many times before. People giving in and not continuing with the walk, all because they didn’t use blister patches.” Of course he still didn’t know where my problems were. I can’t really blame him, he was only trying to give what would normally be good advice. As the day went on, clearly there was a bit of hillside gossip going on. At one point I was stopped by someone going the other way. “Are you the one with the blisters?” He asked. I confirmed the rumour, still not wanting to broadcast where my injuries were. The man then helpfully gave me directions to the Boots Chemist in town.

Once he had gone off ahead, I caught up with Jonny, who himself was slowing down a little now. We both walked into Richmond at about the same time. Here, we found a supermarket and filled up with supplies, I also got some sun cream, so I didn’t have to keep on borrowing Jonny’s (which was better than nothing but only factor 15, and my hands were going a sort of copper-bronze colour). After having some lunch (a packet of cola bottles for me), we carried on through Richmond and its wonderful olde worlde charming buildings. If I had had more time I would have said we should stay in Richmond for a day or two, explore the town and try a few of what looked like rather excellent pubs.

The road out of town meant climbing a hill, which we just couldn’t be bothered with. Once we had got to the top I knew I really just wanted to rest, let the rubbing heal up a bit. I suggested to Jonny that we take the next camp site that we could find. I think Jonny was beginning to feel the strain on his shoulders. We walked to Brompton-on-Swale, where there is a camping and caravanning park. We pitched our tent by the river, it was still fairly early. We just sat there for a while, before we did anything else. We were still near enough to Richmond and we sat on our phones, checking emails, calling people, sending txt messages. The novelty of having reception kept us busy for some time. Eventually, we made some food, had a wash, I sorted out my wounds as best I could and had an early night (and that’s early by the trip’s standards, probably wasn’t even half past eight!).