Tuesday 11th September 2018
17.72 miles today. 980.90 miles total.
Walk Day 63, Tuesday 17th July, ended in a way that I hadn’t planned, and it left me with a gap that I hadn’t walked between Greg’s Hut and Alston.
It’s impossible to get to Greg’s Hut to start a walk without the use of a Land Rover and chauffeur, so I was left with the choice of walking from Garrigill up to Greg’s Hut and then back again (not a pleasant route), or finding another way to join the dots. I decided to find another place that I had already visited, and link that to Alston, and this time I had some support in the form of Peter, accompanied by Jet the dog.
Which is why I found myself at the picnic spot at Cow Green Reservoir, setting out in the opposite direction, walking back to the top of Cauldron Snout. It had rained all night on Monday, but in the morning the clouds lifted and a strong wind blew, eventually blowing enough space between the clouds for the sun to shine through.
At the reservoir the wind was eye-stinging, and raising white horses on the water. The walk from the car to the junction with the Pennine Way just above Cauldron Snout was chilly and I expected to be wearing gloves all day.
But the sun shone brighter and made the return journey to the car (yes, almost four miles to end up back where we started!) a bit warmer.
Jet the dog jumped back into the car and showed me what he thought of a proposed walk that he and Peter could take by snuggling down in his crate. Peter said, “It’s a bit blowy for walking”, and got into the driver’s seat. “See you in Garrigill for lunch” and off they went leaving me to continue my long catch-up walk.
There’s a map-reading lesson in this walk. I planned to follow the footpath, marked as a straight line on the map. If you look at the area, especially at a satellite photograph you will notice that nature hasn’t provided straight lines anywhere nearby.
Up, down, mine shafts, sink holes, streams, bog, marsh, more up, more down, more bog… the footpath shown on the map shows that there is a right of way, not where it is. It doesn’t appear on the ground at all. So the distance I actually walked, meandering around and across etc was much more than the map mileage, but there’s no way to measure it.
Suffice to say I was ankle deep in water for much of the time, until it occurred to me to follow the tops of the hills which were merely soggy rather than splashy. Once I reached the river the path reappeared for a while. Through a couple of fields then onto an unmade road which then ran out into a footpath up the hill alongside the river.
Eventually the footpath gave way to the B6277 for several miles,
then a steep path down into Garrigill, which was closed, so no lunch there.
Finally another four miles of road walking into Alston, and a decent meal at the pub.
We met Paul and Jenny from Australia who are walking the Pennine Way. Good luck on the rest of your journey.
By walking from the top of Cauldron Snout to Alston I’ve joined the dots of my walk. Technically this means that the journey up to High Cup Nick, on to Dufton and then over Great Dun Fell, Little Dun Fell, Cross Fell to Greg’s Hut was nugatory mileage, but hey ho. It was better than walking up the ugly coffin road to Greg’s Hut and then back down again.
While I was walking Peter took Jet on the little steam train from Alston to Slaggyford, which they both loved, and for another walk in a sunny park, so a tired dog sat under the pub table and shredded Peter’s paper napkin while we ate.
I can now start Phase 7 knowing that I have genuinely walked every step of a route from Land’s End, with no gaps. Phew.