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]

Monday, 14 April 2014

Day 14 - Darlington to West of Barnard Castle

14 April (0745-1645)
Distance: 21 miles (Tot: 252.5)
Fitbit steps: 49500
Weather: mainly sunny
Number of 'sun-kissed' noses we have between us: 2

Yesterday's half-day of rest did us the world of good, so we set out this morning (set up by a full cooked breakfast) with a spring in our steps. Or, at least, without a hint of a hobble.

Back to the Tees we went, and having found it we stayed with it, more or less, all day. There were a few places where the Teesdale Way wandered away from it a little, and one place where we opted to take a direct footpath to cut off a large meander.

Having the river nearby all day didn't, however, mean that we were walking along the river bank. In fact, I was a little disappointed by some sections where the Way ran on pavements alongside the A road, whereas I'd thought, from the map, that we would be river-side, paralleling the road. Admittedly, part of that misconception stemmed from the quality of printing of today's map being very poor, which obscured the detail.

Even when we were near the river (which was actually the vast majority of the day), it was often not in full view, but there were interesting buildings (halls, a 'tower' and a ruined abbey) and pleasant farmland. When we were alongside the river, or where we did have a view, there were no complaints from me. As I've mentioned more than once before, I do like the River Tees.

The other notable feature of the day was its undulations. The land that lies to the north of the river is at a much higher level than the river, and that path did like to take us up into the fields for a while, only then to take us back down to the water. On one occasion, it took us down just so we could see a sulphur spa fountain, before returning to the high ground.

By lunchtime (which was had at a gorgeous spot next to the water), all the good work of yesterday's rest had been undone and my feet ached more than they have on any other day. I can't pinpoint anything about today's walk which caused that.

Great relief was found in (bustling) Barnard Castle, when I switched to Crocs for my three rounds of the supermarket, whilst Mick sat on bag-watch outside.

After half an hour relief from my shoes, the feet felt much better on the final mile and a bit over to the campsite, which lies to the west of Barnard Castle (it didn't go unnoticed by Mick that after all that travel eastwards the week before last, today's walk has taken us only west, not north).

Arriving in reception, I really thought that the question "Would you like a cup of tea?" was directed at the policemen standing behind me. It took the warden three repetitions before I realised he was talking to me. Obviously, I gratefully said yes, both to tea and to biscuits, which then lessened the blow of the £17.20 pitch fee. Definitely comparatively expensive, but the site and the facilities are immaculate.

(Two photos today: Barnard Castle, taken from the middle of the Tees, and the riverside spa fountain at Piercebridge)

(Conrad: Yep, we did the unexpected and went west! I could tell you tomorrow's direction, but I'll keep you guessing.
Gimmer: thank you for the decryption :-))

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

1 comment:

  1. You seem to be doing a bit better with cups of tea and hospitality these days - you have often commented on my luck in that way - I hope to be setting off the weekend after next and hope such good fortune will continue.