Saturday, 20 June 2009

Day 34.jpg

What's going on here then? Flat meadow... No rolling hills. (Must have died and gone to heaven!)

Barnard Castle is now just 2 miles away; then tomorrow is a rest day. (Woopie) Today has been relatively flat for a bit longer than I thought. It is now 13:30 and I'm half an hour late already. Ah well can't be helped. You know .... when you meet other walkers and get chatting..... time flies.

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Day 34 - Setting Out Langdon Beck Hotel.jpg

Arrived at the Langdon Beck Hotel yesterday at 16:00 having remained fairly dry. It was a case of straight in the bath to get clean, then I fell asleep waiting for the restaurant in the hotel to open at 19:00.

There is no connectivity here... suffered a lot from that on my walk so far (through the Penines), which is why some of my blogs appear in large groupings.

This photo was taken at 06:00 as I set out for Barnard Castle. Yes, you read it right! I want to make the castle by early afternoon (so I can enjoy it better).

The food here by the way was terrific. I had stilton and broccoli soup again... its a favourite, plus a chicken korma.

I hope to reach Barnard Castle between 1200-1300.

Langdon Beck Hotel

Langdon Beck, Durham, DL12 0XP

Tel. 01833 622267

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Day 33 - View from Slacks Rigg.jpg

Yes it is lonely up here but just take a look at the view... awesome. What amazes me is the level of change to the landscape caused by man. Most of this region was heavily mined and there are also the scars of drainage.

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Day 33 - Laurence and Dianne Law - Mid Ashgill.jpg

Road walking today all the way to Langdon Beck.

I met Laurence on the road towards Mid Ashgill and he invited me in for a cup of tea. Naturally, I "couldn't refuse". I ended up having a wonderful time talking to Laurence and his wife Dianne for an hour. During which time a couple of rain clouds passed over. That's fate I tell you, Fate!

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Day 33 - Setting out from Alston.jpg

I arrived here yesterday soaked to the skin. At least I followed a relatively flat route along the South Tyne Trail, which meant that I had finished my day's walk by 1600.

They have a small drying room with a tumble-dryer. Hurrah! I was able to dry most of my clothes...except the woollen hoes and soldiers coat.

I also ate some of the jerked meat supplied by Martin Cowley (, Fentimans Curiosity Cola, Pioneer and Suzies Peach. Whereas the meats were tasty, the peach was refreshing and together they made a delicious combination. Tomorrow I'll try the Venison and Port alongside Suzies Fruity Bits (a combination of Peaches and apples).

The Alston House was very comfortable even though I was at the top of the house and head room was challenging... especially wearing my Morion Helmet...when I first arrived. The restaurant was first class: I wasn't given a small roll to start with but half a loaf of fresh crusty bread, followed by stilton and broccoli soup and I finished with duck. Mmmm fooood.

Alston House

Townfoot, Aston, Cumbria, CA9 3RN

Tel. 01434 382200

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Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Day 32 - Refuge.jpg

It has rained all day today, sometimes as a drizzle, sometimes as a downpour. I find myself walking and walking and walking just to get out of the rain as soon as is possible.

Despite the rain, today was an easy walk in comparison with others. I was able to walk the entire length along a disused railway. Which also meant that from time to time I could hide under bridges and get a little respite.

I also met a group of walkers, one of which met me up in Scotland by one of the Lochs. Fantastic.

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Day 32 - Setting out from Manor House Hotel - Haltwhistle.jpg

O.K. Time-line Day 32 (June 17). I once again step out into the rain... Typical, especially since last night I arrived at my destination (Manor House Hotel - Haltwhistle) and the owners were so accommodating even helping with the drying of my clothes. I was made to feel really welcome and that helps on a day to day basis.

Picked up my morian (steel helmet). Now that I've left Scotland I'll pack away my blue bonnet.

Manor House Hotel

Main Street, Haltwhistle, Northumberland, NE49 0BS.

Tel. 01434 322588

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Day 31 - Another H4H group.jpg

With about 4 miles to go I decided to head down from Hadrian's Wall and take the main road. It was then that I stumbled across Simon Mayo, David Jenkins, Colin Reader and William Gringell who are from Cambridgeshire. These great blokes are walking Hadrian's Wall in aid of... you guessed it ... Help For Heroes. Well done lads keep it up.

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Day 31 - Laurence & Margaret McFadyen.jpg

By the time I got to Hadrian's Wall I was slowing down. Lucky for me I met Laurence and Margaret McFadyen who were keen to hear about my adventures. A little encouragement goes a long way to keeping you going. I would also like to thank them for their generous donation. They also noticed how tired I looked and suggested I took the old Roman military road instead of following the contours of Hadrian's Wall.

All the best.

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Day 31 - Derek Storer and Tim.jpg

Unlike yesterday... which I forgot to mention... The Pennine Way has been much better sign posted. Mind you it took me about 4 hours before I met anyone.

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Day 31 - Setting out from Bellingham.jpg

Apart from yesterdays setting out photo I didn't manage to take any others... Why? I hear you ask. Well the answer is simple... its called Thunder, Lightning and heavy rain. Its official, I am now a drowned rat. What's even more worrying is that I'm on top of some high hills whilst there is lightning going on around me, and I'm dressed in a steel back and breast plate carrying a metal-tipped half pike. Stupid springs to mind.

I received a text from Paula telling me to ring BFBS at 14:40. I rang them at 14:30 and went out live on

I arrived at The Cheviot Hotel by 15:40, amazing what bad weather can do for you.

I hung my soldiers coat in the bath to drip dry. After about half an hour you would have thought that I had murdered someone in the bath given the amount of red dye leeching out of the coat. Guess I shall be 'pretty in pink' before I get to Lands End.

When I got down to the bar the landlady informed me that I had been mistaken by the locals for a monk. A monk I say... me?! Maybe it was the pint of Mead I asked for.

The Cheviot Hotel

Bellingham, Hexham, NE48 2AU

Tel. 01434 220696

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Day 30 -.jpg

Arrived here last night at 17:40, got a shower and placed my soldiers coat and trousers outside. Unfortunately it thumped it down and now my kit is soaked. Well, learned a valuable lesson there, don't trust the weather to do what you want.

Because Byrness is a little isolated from restaurants I had an evening meal at the B&B which was cool because I didn't feel like going out. When I came downstairs to eat I met a couple who were so engrossed in each others company they'd forgotten to keep an eye on their fuel gage. So here they were marooned hoping on the good nature of my host to give them a lift to the nearest open garage... 15 miles away. It made me smile.

Anyway, I set out today a little late (0950), weather forecast is... You guessed it... Rain!

The Byrness

Byrness Village, Nr Otterburn, Northumberland, NE19 1TR

Tel. 01830 525231

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Sunday, 14 June 2009

Day 29 - Carter Bar (Scottish-English border).jpg

This is it... the moment when I crossed the border between Scotland and England (14:10). I'm full of mixed emotions right now. I'm sad for leaving Scotland because everyone have been so friendly, the different types of scenery have been awe inspiring. Why would I want to leave? Yet by crossing into England I feel a moral boost having completed one country and starting another.

Tonight I rest in an English B&B
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Day 29 - Setting Out.jpg

Weather forecast today is for rain but let's hope I can dodge it. Even though I've had a rest day I'm not sure I'm ready to start out again. I feel right at home here, it's a lovely, picturesque town. Mind you if I don't get going there is the chance that I might just jack it in... so off I set. Besides, I get to cross the border into England today.
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