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 25 August 2013

Byrness to Chew Green

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.


  1. Last time I was in Byrness it was possible to camp in the back garden of the pub (opposite the petrol station / shop) - any idea if this is still possible?
    It might be that the pub and petrol station are long gone, it WAS a long while go!

  2. There's a review of the Byrness Hotel on Trip Advisor which suggests that it is still possible to camp in the garden. The petrol station/shop met its demise in 2009 or 2010, and the Byrness Hotel is now a B&B and coffee shop.

  3. That doesn’t look like a Rainbow in the first pic. But it does in the last. Did you use 2 tents?

  4. Yes, there were two different tents involved in this trip (although at least this time we didn't find ourselves carrying both at the same time!). Mick set out with Connie Competition, as he decided he didn't want to carry Rita Rainbow without being sure that I would be joining him.

    So, I took Rita Rainbow with me when I travelled up, and thanks to Mick hanging around waiting for me in Byrness, we were able to pop Connie into the car before we headed off to Chew Green.