The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Day 22 - Beyond Stanhope to Hexham

Sun 10 April (0745-1610)
Distance: 18 miles (Tot: 390)
Ascent: 5000' (per the altimeter)
Weather: some high cloud but mainly sunny
Sheep with bottomless buckets attached to heads: 4

After a few snoozes of the alarm this morning (the result of yesterday's long day and late finish), the theme for the day was soon set as we headed quite violently uphill.

With height rapidly gained, an off-road cycle route took us flatly for the next couple of miles, during which we encountered 20 cyclists in various groups. Obviously a popular place for a ride early on a Sunday morning - and who can blame them in such superb surroundings?

I must have taken half a dozen photos at various stages of the morning back down towards Stanhope, where the mist was hanging in the valley (see the photo on the last post, although it's a poor representation of the reality). Then the valley went out of view as we left the track to fill our shoes with heather in the approach to the trig point on War Law (actually, Mick sensibly wore his mini-gaiters).

Having dropped steeply down to Bay Bridge it was a steep old climb back up the other side of the valley. Reaching Blanchard Moor at the top of the climb, during the next half an hour we saw more people out walking than we've seen on the entire walk so far. It must be the place to take a stroll on a sunny Sunday. The number of people, who all seemed to be heading up from Blanchard, made us think we should have gone via that village. With that many people around, there must surely have been a tea room.

When Hexham was just a handful of miles distant and the afternoon ticking by, our thoughts had turned to lunch and a lovely spot was spied from a distance. As it went our lunch plans had to be put on hold; never have we seen so many huge ants! The place was absolutely crawling with them. Never before in this country have I seen such massive ant hills either.

Hexham is a town that keeps itself well hidden when you approach from the south, so we were almost upon it before we saw it, and no sooner were we upon it than we were right in the town centre.

Part of the route rejigging three days ago (which it turns out wasn't needed as we ended yesterday exactly where we had originally intended) saw us book another B&B for tonight, so the luxury is coming thick and fast at the moment. This is our third bed in eight nights. Seems a bit of a waste given how nice the weather has been!

(Louise - are you on the Moffat-Peebles adventure next week? Fingers will be crossed for good weather for you - particularly as we'll not be too far away ourselves; we're due to hit the border on Wednesday morning)

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

1 comment:

  1. That is the very adventure I am due to embark upon.
    I will be on my guard for deep snow and barbed wire, just in case, but if you're close by, I expect wall to wall sunshine!