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, 9 April 2012

Pennine Way (top bit) - Day 3 - Chew Green to N of Bellingham

Monday 9 April (0800-1630)
Distance: 18 miles
Ascent: 2500'
Weather: showers

The first thing that I noticed this morning was that it wasn't raining. With the weather forecasters having had me believe that we wouldn't see a single inch of dry weather today, I made haste: we had to grasp the dry weather whilst we had it. It stayed mainly dry whilst we tackled the first bogs of the day (Alan, I did offer to carry Mick, but he politely declined), but once the first shower hit that was the trend set for the day. Still, a day of light showers, even if many of them were prolonged, was nowhere near the 12-hour deluge expected.

The thing that struck us both about today was how neither of us has any recollection of the second half of it. If you'd plonked us blindfolded on the southern edge of Redesdale Forest and walked us along the PW without telling us where we were, we would both have sworn we'd never been there before.

To an extent that was explained when we reached the vicinity of our night-stop, when we came to a sign-post saying 'Pennine Way' and 'Pennine Way Alternative Route'. Suddenly I recalled that even though there is only one route marked on recent maps, previously we opted for the alternative route. As for the other chunk that has been erased from our minds, perhaps it's just because it's featureless moorland, so there's nothing there to remember?

On reaching our intended night-stop we found that the exceptionally discrete place we'd thought to pitch was deep in sheep droppings. So, we're not quite so discrete, but even though we're vaguely within sight of a farm house and only metres away from the path*, I wasn't put off from popping the tent up before 5pm. I'm getting quite bold in my trespass these days, you know! (*We've seen a grand total of 2 people out walking today - I'll be surprised if anyone does pass by - but then I've been surprised before when camping so boldly...)

(JJ - thank you for the weather info. I do hope the Beeb is either right or erring on the side of caution. If this is the worst weather of the trip then I'll be happy (although I'd be happier if it was warm and dry!).
Karen - we're just doing the top section, down to Dufton. I did the lower section 2 years ago and the middle section last year so this will finish my second walk of the route (kinda - if you ignore the bits I'll have missed out of this one!). Haven't got time to do the whole thing - we've got Wales to walk starting on Monday.
Louise - boo hiss to contining lurginess. Hope it abates soon. I'm pleased to say that mine has responded well so far to the fresh air and exercise - let's hope it doesn't make a revenge attack as soon as I stop!
Andrew - good point (although even looking at it objectively, sitting behind a desk and being generally lazy for 9 months has taken its toll!))


  1. The first thing that I noticed this morning was that it wasn't raining.

    It was here, I would have hosed the mud off my bike, but we have a hose pipe ban. I just left it in the garden for 2 hours and it's clean.

    Never mind, only 9 Days to the Lakes Daunder :)

  2. Bit slow catching up on this. Have a good time! Weather looks better today.