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  • Chris Jones

Day 141, 142. Monday 4th & Tuesday 5th September. Bowness on Solway to Allonby.

I am acquainted with three gentlemen called Charlie, one of them is a underworked, overpaid plumber and a Warden in my Mother Lodge, one of them is the Director of Ceromies of the Olive Union Lodge, although I have a vague recollection of someone once telling me that Charlie isn't his real name, and the other one is called Pete !! I'm therefore of the opinion that anyone called Charlie is probably a fugitive and is most likely hiding from someone. 🫣 The Charlie who's real name is Pete is by far the most dodgy of the three but as I've known him for over 30 years he is clearly very good at living a double life and has avoided being hunted down, well so far anyway. Don't worry Charlie, you're secret is still safe here mate, nobody reads this crap I spend hours writing... 😫 A very long time ago, probably before my dad was born, Charlie was a Royal Engineer so clearly a man of great character and held in high esteem by all who knew him. Something dreadful must have happened, fast forward to 1989 when I joined the RE, Charlie was a Lance Corporal but was now wearing a REME cap badge. Fortunately he's a good guy so people still spoke to him and over the years we became good friends, I think it was in 2007 when we walked the coast to coast from St Bees Head to Robin Hoods Bay, we've also walked the 40 mile Keswick to Barrow a couple of times and one year the two of us walked all over the Lake District National Park, wild camping for a week. Because of life and Covid, we hadn't seen each other for 7 or 8 years but when I started this walk, Charlie contacted me to say that when I got round to Cumbria, he would walk with me for a few days and put me up in his house so I'd been looking forward to seeing him again for months. True to his word, when I'd packed up my tent at Bowness, Charlie's good lady Kara dropped him off and we walked 17 miles on the first day around the coast to Abbeytown. Not the most interesting of walks being all on roads but we had a great time catching up and generally verbally abusing each other every step of the way.

Did I mention, Charlie likes cake ?? Oh' and donkeys, I kept telling him that this wasn't a donkey but he wasn't having any of it... Nor was it a very small shire horse either !!! 🫣

I am being very cruel which will result in me getting a beating the next time we see each other so I'd better behave myself and start being nice. Joking aside, I was having a fantastic time walking with Charlie, at the end of the first day, Kara picked us up and took us back to Carlisle, a hot shower, a lovely home made meal and a few beers while watching a film followed by a full nights sleep in a brand new bed. Kara delivered us back to yesterdays finish point so we could carry on and after an hour or so we arrived in Silloth where the guys there had opened up to greet us.

The Treasurer had also arranged for the Lodge caterer who also has a cafe in town to provide us with bacon butties and coffee which was very nice of him. Suitably refreshed we headed down onto the coast to see 'The Big Fella' before we headed off down the coast towards Allonby. I knew we had visitors walking up to meet us as David and Jackie were spending a few days in the lakes with their dogs but I wasn't expecting a surprise visit from Eric, a local Freemason who had somehow missed meeting us when we crossed the border back into England. Eric had kindly come armed with a full bag of cold drinks and a large pie which was greatly appreciated by everyone as it had turned into a lovely warm afternoon.

It was a lovely day for a walk on the beach made all the better with different people to chat with, the miles soon ticked by and by mid afternoon we had arrived in Allonby where we found a beer garden to enjoy a few cold pints.

Kara picked us up again and we headed back to Carlisle for another relaxing evening at their house. I could get used to this treatment, it was a strange experience to walk all day but then live in such luxury each night, it had been a long time since I had enjoyed such comfort and had been looked after so very well... sadly, one more day with Charlie and I'd be on my own again...

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