Todays walk was an odd one, and my relationship with the pennine way holds mixed emotions, especially after today.
A strong start up into the moors and to be fair the moors north of Bellingham are well marked and easy to walk. Our peaceful walking is disturbed by the artillery range at nearby Otterburn.
Sun is beaming down once again, it has been since the start of the journey. Walking in the sun is lovely but the heat makes our movements a bit slower, not to mention what it does to our heads. I’m sure you’ll agree The english sun does funny things to the english man.
After climbing a monstrous hill, we sit by a wall and decide for some lunch. And we must be there for a good hour passed by fellow pennine wayers. Conversation lifts spirits we put our boots back on to walk once again on an asphalt forest road. This doesnt help my blistered feet. The end of this walk seems to take a long time and we are both tired….
However, upon reaching Byrness things change, and smiles hit our faces. This small village has a row of Houses, a phone box and a place called the forest view inn. Now upon seeing the sign we are confused…
So with confused looks we come across this forest view inn and meet the owner who is sitting outside. We mention, we need somewhere to camp and he says you can camp in my garden. We’ll do you a 2 course meal and breakfast also.. all for £21. We walk into the garden and relax at this lovely little homely b & b which also has a 24 tuck shop on site. Many walkers are staying here, so we share dinner together and have a crack.. I also make a new friend… Bracken is his name
Good times, good people, and good sleep, we couldnt have asked for much more after a tough day.
‘The only difference between a saint and an ordinary man is motivation’ is what a friend once told me. To strive for constant surrender of gods will is a life times work. To accept what is, and release what judgement takes residence in the body. Now in walking terms, without motivation & dedication, you will stroll round never getting to where you are getting do. Like my practise of prayer, early rises are a valuable key to a long days walk. Much like hotels in Mayfair on the monopoly board.
We make way today towards Hadrians wall. This walk is impressive to say the least, we walk through the mist, up and down, up and down, quite a tiresome start actually. However we move fast through the mist along this pile of stones built in 200ad. God only knows why it was actually built, there are the many versions of events depending on who you ask about anything really. His-story.
The wall itself isnt that impressive, its the ridge and rocky outcrop its built next too. A truly magnificent walk, and the muscles are definitely being worked.
Some miles later, we hit the signature pennine way ‘moor land’. Followed by Wark forest which I believe is part of the bigger Kielder forest. Northumberland is vast, bur nor often visited, it is spectacular and underrated. We take through these plantations for miles, followed by some smooth hills in the beaming sun to end the day.
The remaining 500 miles starts today and for pennine way continuity sake I continue from nearby Nenthead. I’m pleasantly surprised to be joined by my good friend Adam, he has a bad knee and it is courageous of him to come along.
Its a firm solid start up the moor, filled with confidence, enthusiasm & a sense of knowing. Until within 5 minutes of walking we go 1/4 mile off route. Once again I’m mapless for the start of the day, yes I know, a bad habit. However we find our way by looking at the lay of the land.
Every good walk is like a book, it has a beginning, a middle & an end. The beginning today took us down a few wrong paths but the sun hitting the dales keeps us heartened. Past Alston on a country lane we spot a sheep in a field hurt caught in barb wire. We take the time to cut the wire off and nurse the poor animal. He isn’t to responsive but we do our best to help than continue.
All of today follows the river Tyne mostly through picturesque hills and valleys. We follow a disused train line which is now the south tyne trail until we reach a village called Slaggyford, the perfect break for lunch on the old station platform. As we reach the hamlet of Slaggyford, it feels as if the middle of the walk starts. Our feet start to ache, but not enough to raise a concern, for now….
Along the trail, we reach Lambley viaduct & we are blown away by its size, towering over the valley. Its like a massive version of the bridge at Monsal Head in Derbyshire.
We are both relieved the end is 5 miles on from here. And as we watch the clock and distance, the end of today is taking forever. This sometimes happens when walking, and staying present is essential. After all, one step at a time is good walking….
Finally, Haltwhistle, than a couple miles on to our campsite for a shower and rest, watching the sunset go down..