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, 13 April 2014

Day 13 - beyond Appleton Wiske to Darlington

13 April (0730-1215)
Distance: 11.5 miles
Fitbit steps: 28000
Weather: sunny intervals, but a strong, cool wind

After 12 days of being impressed by the standard of way-marking of rights of way, and/or the obviousness of the line of those paths, this morning we struggled a little. With no waymarks and no evidence of where the path went, we were at times a little flummoxed as to which side of a hedgerow we should be. We did nothing more scientific than taking a guess at each such decision point and duly we reached the Teesdale Way at Girsby, from where we knew the route would be clear.

The approach to Hurworth-on-Tees seemed vaguely familiar, and I definitely remembered Hurworth itself. When I plotted this route I'd completely forgotten that we'd been there before, having walked into the village with Conrad ( back in 2010.

Various delaying tactics had been employed during the morning, but it was too cool to stop for too long in any one place, and thus we found ourselves outside our B&B on the outskirts of Darlington at the unreasonably early hour of quarter past noon.

After not being able to get a room in Barnetby last week, we booked this place as soon as we felt confident that we were up to the mileage required to get here by today, to make sure that we wouldn't be hunting around in the suburbs for a stealth-camp. As it was, rather than having the expected 21-mile walk-in today, we had fewer than 12 miles to cover, and thus could happily have carried on. However, the room was booked and, by good fortune, the owner was home and perfectly happy to let us in so early.

One of the benefits of a half-day was having the time to do some laundry. Some people (most people?) would be disgusted to know that I have worn the same top, unlaundered, day and night, for 13 days, so I thought it was probably due a wash. It was a bit of a challenge in the smallest-sink-in-the-world, but as I type there is washing drying all around the room. Even my trousers got cleaned; they took about eight changes of water before I declared them to be clean enough!

Today's photo is another field of rape shot. This one had a good width of path at ground level, but the plants had reached nearly shoulder height and were overhanging, so we came out the other side spattered with yellow.

(Gimmer: that was a bit cryptic!
Louise: definitely unlucky in my view. Doubly so as it's the second time I've been used for (successful) target practice this year.
Alan: we didn't get offered food specifically last night, but when we were asked if there was anything we needed, I had to resist answering 'a shower and the use of a washing machine'!)

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


  1. for a dip into history and legend, here's a wiki decryption:
    the newly consecrated Bishop-Prince of Durham, while entering the Bishopric for the first time at the local Ford or over the bridge over the River Tees at Croft-on-Tees was presented with the falchion that John Conyers used on the worm. The Lord of Sockburn traditionally reads a speech while presenting the blade:

    "My Lord Bishop. I hereby present you with the falchion wherewith the champion Conyers slew the worm, dragon or fiery flying serpent which destroyed man, woman and child; in memory of which the king then reigning gave him the manor of Sockburn, to hold by this tenure, that upon the first entrance of every bishop into the county the falchion should be presented."

    so, from here to the Scottish border, all sacred ground - literally and metaphorically -
    - why walking in the northland is so multiply rewarding - history, myth, struggle, beauty and grandeur in almost every step.
    But you know all that - I've been introduced to your blog by 'Conrad' and am enjoying your piquant take on journeying and its quirks - as some other also said, regrettably only vicariously - so thanks for the efforts you make to make it fun for we mere desktop followers!

  2. Yes. I had to look up "falchion" too:

    noun historical,
    a broad, slightly curved sword with the cutting edge on the convex side.

    Where to now? No immediate LDPs going northish from Darlington. The Tees may be an option but it's not "making good" enough northwards. After that The Pennine Way is obvious but a bit of a cliché. Your next stint will enlighten me.