When Mick set off to finish off the Pennine Way at the beginning of last week, I was so kind (even if I do say so myself!) as to offer to go and pick him up when he finished. It probably goes without saying that I had no intention of driving all of that way without getting a small walk in.
Mick had spent Wednesday night just north of Bellingham…
A good, well-concealed pitch. It even had a good view.
…and had a 13-mile walk in to Byrness where I hoped to intercept him, before continuing on to Chew Green for the night. I had a 210-mile drive, but by good timing I managed to arrive just 30 minutes after him. Admittedly, arriving 30 minutes before him would have been a better idea, as I had told him that if I wasn’t there as he walked through then he should leave me a ‘clear indication that you’d passed through’ and continue, whereupon we would revert to Plan A (which would see me meeting him at Chew Green).
Thanks to the wonders of mobile phone technology (and the fact that there is a signal at Byrness – a fact that I had doubted when making plans), Mick sat drinking coffee until I arrived and (after I’d put away a large pot of tea and a huge slab of cake myself) off we set.
It’s a pull up out of Byrness and often we lost sight of each other, not just because Mick is far fitter and faster than me, but also due to the bracken being over six feet high and overhanging the path. Thankfully, it didn’t remain that way for too far.
The infamously boggy bits of that section of the Way were boggy indeed and it confounds me how seemingly 95% of the route have either been flagged or about to be (I’m exaggerating hugely, but there has been so much flagging laid that it is feeling that way), much of it being without any apparent erosion problem needing to be solved, yet these boggy wallows haven’t even had duck-boards laid over the worst bits. Still, it makes it more interesting!
We might have carried on beyond Chew Green as it wasn’t late when we got there, except that I’d forgotten to bring a second water bladder for ‘camp water’, and we weren’t going to pass any other streams, so down to the stream we dropped and took advantage of our ‘usual spot’ (this being the third time we have camped here; there is no other wild pitch we have visited so much).
The light blob in the middle of the left side of this snap is our tent; the two ‘buildings’ are a shed and the back of a lorry:
And here it is, taken a bit closer:
It surprised us how green and grassy it was down there, as we’ve previously only been there in April.
My stats for the day were 5 miles with 1200’ of ascent. Mick walked 19 miles, with an amount of up that I can’t quite be moved to measure, and definitely involving more bog than I experienced.