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, 8 April 2012

Pennine Way (top bit) - Day 1 - Kirk Yetholm to Hen Hole Refuge Hut

Saturday 7 April (1440-1805)
Distance: 7.5 miles
Ascent: 2400'
Weather: overcast with drizzle later

It was a long old journey to get to Kirk Yetholm, starting with a 2-hour car journey last night and ending with a bus, two trains and two more buses today - and, with the lurgi still lingering, we coughed and rattled the whole way through it.

Having had the obligatory faff on the green at Kirk Yetholm (because 9.5 hours of travelling hadn't given enough time to complete all of the necessary faffs...) off we set. "What a fine pair of honed athletes we are" said Mick as we coughed and wheezed our way up the lane.

Just before the junction was reached, where the choice is given of taking the low-level route or the high level route up to the Schill, we had a conflab. We'd taken the high route before and we each have rattling chests, it was a no-brainer - low we would go. We lasted about 3 minutes before we wavered. It looked a good day for the high route, and surely if we took it slow and steady we would be okay.

It was a good decision. I love this area, with all of its unspoiled lumps and bumps, and it is definitely best appreciated from up high.

Some of those lumps and bumps were on our route, and some little bits of that route were under snow, but the going was easy enough and we knew we weren't going far.

What was hampering us was the weight of our packs. Figuring that we may as well get used to something approaching the weights we'll have to carry on the PCT, we've brought with us almost all of the food we need for the whole trip. When I've carried 5 days food previously I've bitched and whined about it. Today I thought I'd best man-up and get on with it (but let me tell you, it was heavy!).

Anyways, we got to the Hen Hole refuge hut at 1805 with great hopes of kipping inside and thus keeping the tent (Vera) dry for tomorrow. Alas someone left the door open last week (inconsiderate arse! There's a bloody-great bolt which makes it perfectly obvious whether it's locked or not) and there's still a snow-drift inside.

Even worse, we found that no renovations have taken place at the hut since we were last here and there is *still* no hot-tub outside for the soaking of weary bones. I really would have appreciated a hot tub tonight!

(Post note: Mick would like me to mention that I reneged on my usual camp chores tonight and issued a firm refusal to fulfil my task of fetching water. Therefore it was Mick who (and I quote him verbatim here) 'had to walk 4.5 additional miles with 7000' of ascent, with pleurisy' to fetch the water. For that I was very grateful.)


  1. Ah, that Mick fella's a fine man I tell you.....I don't care what else you say about him!


  2. David would probably sympathise with Mick. Poor lad got up at the crack of sparrows, endured a twelve hour train journey (with a lot of very odd people!) to get home for a weekend of rest and recreation, only to find a pathetic, wheezy, coughing, achey person who needed looked after. He's kept us all fed and watered and baked a birthday cake to boot, bless.

  3. Only 4.5 miles.
    Why wen I wer' a lad ... etc etc

    Nothing like heading to the hills with Pneumonia to harden you up for bigger Challenges.

    Kirk Yetholm, didn't he appear in a film with Barbera Streisand:)

  4. A Bit late to the party, here...
    Still: Better late than never.

    Gayle: You don't deserve that man.
    Mick: You must have done something dreadful in a past life to be saddled with a malingerer!

    She can give you a piggy-back through the boggy bits as recompense.