Date: Friday 5 June 2015
Walked from: Bellingham, Northumberland
Walked to: Byrness, Northumberland
Distance: 15 miles
Stayed: Forest View Walkers Inn
I’m not sure why exactly, but after 15 days of walking, my legs are starting to feel a bit tired, and for the first time, I’m starting to think how nice it would be to sit down for much of the day instead of walking.
That said it was another good day of exploring stonkingly beautiful countryside. After a lovely breakfast at The Cheviot in Bellingham, served up accompanied by the waitresses brilliantly dry sense of humour, yesterday’s gang of five re-grouped this morning to walk on to Byrness. After various visits to the local bakers, chemist, co-op AND bank (Bellingham is a virtual metropolis in Pennine Way terms) we eventually set off up the road to and into the sheep filled pastures around Blakelaw. Annette and I laughed our way up hill in the boot squelching moorland on the approach to Whitley Moor; wet feet and bogs have become an everyday story on this latter part of the Pennine Way.
After regrouping at the top of Whitley Pike we began the climb near Padon Hill and up Brownrigg Head, where we hopped over a dry stone wall to shelter from the wind and enjoy some lunch in a bit of sunshine for half an hour. More bog followed as we skirted the edge of Redesdale Forest, one of my feet yet again sinking deep into the dark, cold wetness that lay beneath, before we reached the salvation of the forest road that led us through Kiedler Forest Park to that most magical and rare of things… a toilet block, superbly situated in Blakehopeburnhaugh car park, at a moment of dire need. Hurrah! ‘Twas then a mere hop, skip and a tired foot drag to the wonderful Forest View Walkers Inn, which has featured on many a programme on the Pennine Way, including a recent one on BBC, where the owners Colin and Joyce bend over backwards to provide the tired walker with everything they need, from cleaning and drying boots to beer to a decent meal. Feeling very well looked after, it was time for bed.
Photos: Whitley Pike / Near Paddon Hill / The ‘boys’ on the approach to Redesdale Forest / Kielder Park forest track