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Pennine Way 2008

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Deborah and Gwen's Pennine Way Diary
Day 18

Day 18 – The first full day on my own
Thursday 29th May      

Bellingham to Byrness          15.3 miles
 

After saying our goodbyes to Mr & Mrs Forster Mum and I walked into the Bellingham together only to part company at the village crossroads. It was a much nicer day today and I was almost wishing I’d put on my shorts. As I gained height the skylarks returned together with the accompanying moorland scenery. The climb up to the first top was straightforward and although I don’t mind walking alone I did miss Mum’s company. I contented myself with looking for some interesting photo opportunities to illustrate the walk but I found myself missing Mum again, this time as foreground interest or for a sense of scale. I had an early lunch stop then pushed on past the monument on Padon hill – I read somewhere that the 12-foot structure was erected in 1903 to commemorate a golden wedding anniversary – must remember to tell Mel – our silver wedding will be coming around in a few years! There followed a very muddy struggle up a steep path by the side of the first bit of forestry. I resorted to balancing on the remains of an old wall, reminding myself that it was ok as it wasn’t part of Hadrian’s construction. Whilst having a second lunch stop I spotted my first fellow walker – her only comment was “Oh dear, I thought I might manage a whole day without meeting anyone  - I did offer to hide behind the wall but she was not amused…

A little confusion was to follow as I progressed. My map, guidebook and even my GPS suggested that I should be walking through forestry, I began to think I might of missed the path but then it dawned on me – I was exactly where I thought I was, it was the trees that had been felled – feeling a little foolish I vowed not to be so reliant on out of date information. The wide forestry roads were a bit of a drudge, the only break from the monotony was when a large timber lorry came hurtling towards me followed by a huge cloud of dust, then as I reached the river flowing down to Byrness I walked past a couple who were sound asleep in deckchairs – I took a sneaky photo - no movement, a car drove by – still no movement, as I walked on I began to wonder if they were still alive and concocted all sorts of explanations – obviously this solitary walking is not good for my vivid imagination.

At last the Pennine Way left the boring dirt track and took a much prettier route along the river. Mum phoned to say she was on her way to meet me and I began to encounter a few more tourists enjoying what was now a very warm afternoon. I spotted Mum near the tiny Church in Byrness and we met Jenny and Joss who were also doing some long distant walking. They were staying at the only B&B in the village but as we were heading for the hostel, just down the road, we bid them farewell hoping to see them on route tomorrow.

Byrness hostel used to belong to the YHA but it is now run by Colin & Joyce who live in the adjoining house. They have made many improvements, the hostel is spotlessly clean, has a very efficient drying room and they also provide an excellent selection of homemade meals. Mum made me a cuppa and we enjoyed the late afternoon sunshine whilst sitting on the benches out front. Whilst cooking tea we chatted to our fellow hostellers. One of them suddenly asked me if I was the woman who jumped into lakes – momentarily I had no idea what he was talking about then the penny dropped; he had read our coast-to-coast journal where I had described my, almost daily, desire to swim, as it had been so hot. After some introductions I was delighted to learn that he was Pete Stott, otherwise known as ‘Stottie’ of ‘Stottie Walks’, a fellow contributor to the walking places website. Anyone who has read Pete’s memoirs will know how eloquently he writes and I don’t mind admitting I was a little embarrassed to know he had read my humble offerings. This chance meeting led to a very enjoyable conversation about so many things. Mum played cards with another couple for a while and Pete and I chatted late into the evening. It was well past midnight when I crept into bed, feeling a little guilty that I had not spent more time with Mum as we were going to be apart for the next two days

Thought for the day:
Deb I missed Mum on the walk today but I’m relieved to know that she is feeling much better

Mum   I enjoyed the drive to Byrness with Mr Forster, he kindly took the scenic route, which made the journey more interesting but I missed the company of my daughter

 

Pictures

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Bellingham High Street

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Staring competition with a ewe

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Paddon Hill Monument

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The dull road through the forest

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Sleeping tourists

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Reunited with Mum at Byrness Chapel

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Forest View Independent Hostel at Byrness

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