LEJOG Day 47 – Melrose to Innerleithen 17.51 miles. Cumulative 848.98 miles

We need to start with a correction in yesterday’s blog, Day 46, Steve incorrectly assumed that Lynn’s pose on the suspension bridge above the River Tweed was intended as yet another demonstration of the size of a Sea Bass she caught in 2007.

Apparently the pose was intended to mimic Kate Winslet’s iconic pose from the film Titanic.

Steve apologises for failing to spot the resemblance.

The heavy rain showers continued overnight so it was good to have a solid roof over our heads and a hearty dinner and cooked breakfast to replenish the calories we are burning.

Our route followed National Cycle Network route 1, a mixture of lanes and tracks. An easy day underfoot, undulating walking following the River Tweed upstream, passing through a lot of Scottish Forestry Commission plantations.

The scenery didn’t disappoint, with spring flowers in full bloom and fantastic views up the valley ahead. We passed a few other walkers, cyclists and runners making the most of the sunshine and largely traffic free route.

We arrived in Innerleithen in time for a late lunch, before checking in at the campsite.

LEJOG Day 46 – Jedburgh to Melrose 17.26 miles. Cumulative 831.47

After a beautiful sunny day yesterday, it turned wet overnight and remained wet for most of the day. We can’t really complain as it was our first really wet day since day four.

Using the washing up area to pack up ready for walking out of the rain.

Our route out of Jedburgh followed The St Cuthberts Way, which runs from Melrose to Holy Island in Northumberland . The route follows Dere Street in some parts, so more long straight stretches at times. At other times we followed the course of the River Tweed.

On the whole, easy walking except for one short stretch which we were able to avoid thanks to local knowledge. We met a couple walking out of the woods, who had struggled to get up a hill and they warned us how treacherous the path was, so we decided to stop and get out our walking poles. Just as we were about to set off again a local lady came along and warned us again and told us about a diversion to avoid the slope, apparently the diversion had been marked until quite recently, but for some reason the signs had been moved. We were glad we did, because even the diversion was slippery, but not quite as steep.

Lynn uses the bridge to describe the size of the sea bass she caught in 2007 – it gets bigger every year.
Continue reading “LEJOG Day 46 – Jedburgh to Melrose 17.26 miles. Cumulative 831.47”

LEJOG Day 45 – Byrness to Jedburgh 20.00 miles. Cumulative 814.21 miles

We both survived the night without getting bitten. The facilities at the site were limited as it was geared up for caravans and camper vans, but there was a small kitchen with a kettle.

Another sunny day, two in a row now, it won’t last!

Our route takes us out of Byrness along the Pennine Way, a steep climb but we are rewarded with some fantastic views. We pass close to the Otterburn firing ranges.

After about 2 hours of climbing we reach the Scottish border, it’s not marked where we cross it, so we only have GPS and the map to go by.

Just after we enter Scotland we leave the Pennine Way and head cross country, fortunately we find the path we planned to follow and it was well used.

We eventually reach Dere Street, an old Roman Road, which was the main road into Scotland used by the a Romans between AD78 and AD211.

As we turned onto the line of Dere Street we saw two ‘born again bikers’ pulled over where the road went through a ford. One of them walked through the ford nearly slipping over. This piqued our interest as there was a perfectly serviceable footbridge. We watched as he planted a ‘Go-Pro’ camera in the bank on the opposite side of the ford. It was clear he wanted to film himself riding his very large and shiny new Ducati motor bike through the ford. Given he had slipped walking through the ford we thought it might be worth sticking around to watch what we thought would be the inevitable accident. On the one hand we wanted him to get his action shot of water spraying up as he swept through the ford but the devil in us knew he was going to get wet and end up on his arse in the ford together with his bike. We didn’t have the heart to film or photo it.

He lined up, gunned the engine and at a moderate pace went for it and with great elegance the bike went from under him and deposited him in the middle of the ford in about 6-8 inches of water. Assorted bits of bike and luggage summersaulted into the water. We did our best to keep straight faces and feign concern for his welfare, like you do. Steve ran up and recovered assorted bits and helped him right the bike. They are very heavy especially when your footing is wet cobblestone in the bottom of a ford. Fortunately not too much damage apart from pride and being watched by two strangers.

We asked for a photo. They sheepishly agreed and gave us a limp wave. The other biker was clearly more sensible, he was on a lovely Triumph. We didn’t hang about to see what he did. After a suitable distance we had a good laugh.

Dere Street takes us off the high moor and down into more arable and mixed farmland.

We continued to follow Dere Street into Jedburgh, along a mixture of tracks and minor roads to our campsite, a Camping and Caravan Club Site.

LEJOG Day 44 Bellingham to Byrness 22.46 miles. Cumulative 794.21 miles

We had a good meal in a cafe recommended by Dave, the campsite warden, and then we made use of the fantastic facilities at the campsite.

This site was also geared up for backpackers, with a large TV room with tables, chairs and even a log burner. The first on site kitchen we have come across to have ovens and gas burners, though we only needed a kettle for our porridge.

The walk started out along the River Tyne Trail, going upstream and west. A mixture of fields, woodland and country roads to the village of Felstone.

We decide to divert slightly off route to go into the village on the off chance there was a tea stop and luck was on our side. It was a lovely tea room with freshly baked goodies.. While there we chatted to a postie, who by coincidence, we had closed a gate for earlier in the day as he made his rounds by van to a remote farm. His round is about seventy miles of driving around rural Northumberland every day, with lots of gated drives to slow him down. He likes to chat too, which no doubt slows him down even more.

At this point we had covered nearly half of the days route and thought we were in for another easy forest walk to finish the day off and we would be done by about 1600, how wrong we were.

We were excited to see our first ‘Alternative Pennine Way’ sign after following it for over two weeks, unfortunately the path wasn’t as good as the signage. The route followed a firebreak through the forest, it was little used and the path was difficult underfoot with trees growing in the firebreak. We were glad to reach open moorland, however although there were still signs, there was little evidence of a path and footing was difficult. Our final bit of forest was just as bad until we stumbled upon a track which we were able to use, a longer route but we were able to pick up the pace. We eventually arrived at the holiday park two hours later than expected.

Our accommodation was a camping pod (no tents accepted on the site), our second choice as our first choice was fully booked several weeks ago. Lynn had been loath to stay here again as when we used it on JOGLE she had been badly bitten by midges. The compromise was to use the camping pod but erect the inner tent as a mossie net.

We dined al fresco again as the nearest pub was 9 miles away.

LEGOJ Day 43 – Haltwhistle to Bellingham 21.43 miles. Cumulative 771.75 miles

A wet and very windy night, the tent was still standing in the morning and more importantly so were the trees we were camped under.

Another cloudy day and it remained very windy, with a few sprinkles of rain and a few glimpses of sunshine.

An anniversary day today, as is was 6 years today, Friday 13th May 2016 when we set out from John O’Groats for our JOGLE adventure.

13 May 2016 at the start of our ‘JOGLE’ walk – not aged a bit…and still wearing the same clothes!

Our first couple of miles were a woodland walk into Haltwhistle. As pointed out by our friend Tim, Haltwhistle is the centre of Britain, being 290 miles from both the south (Portland) and north (North Orkney) coast and 36.5 miles from both the east (Wallsend) and west (Bowness on Solway) coast. Several of the businesses use this on their signage.

Our next point of interest was Hadrians Wall, which we crossed at Cawfields Mile Castle – Number 42. As the name suggests there are castles all along the wall, approximately a mile apart, these allowed the soldiers to control the passage of people over the border. No soldiers there today fortunately, just lots of sheep. We have encountered a lot of sheep on the walk.

A bit of cross country walking took us to National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 68 which we followed through Kielder Water and Forest Park, England’s largest forest. We had some very long straight stretches of track, but at least we had a tail wind today.

The NCN takes us all of the way to Bellingham, gateway to Northumbria National Park, where we received a warm welcome from Dave at the Camping and Caravan Club site.

LEJOG Day 42- Allendale to Haltwhistle 16.90 miles. Cumulative 750.32

Lynn’s brother and sister-in-law, Ian and Keeley, joined us for breakfast this morning. They are holidaying in Northumberland and it was an ideal opportunity to have a catch up with them. They also joined us for the first couple of hours of walking which made for a great start to the the day.

A mixture of sun and cloud today, a bit warmer but still very windy.

Our walk took us along the River Allen and we said our goodbyes to Ian and Keeley at Waters Meetings. They must have known the next hour was going to be the toughest of the day with lots of steep climbs and descents and quite a few obstacles, with the River Allen making its way though a steep sided gorge.

The walk became easier after Plankey Mills where we left the river and joined the River Tyne Trail, the going was much easier except for the strong westerly wind we had to walk into. The River Tyne Trail is a 135 mile route following the source of the river to the North Sea, the trail was conceived as a way of raising awareness of cancer and for charity fundraising.

We left the trail just outside Haltwhistle to reach the campsite, where we dined ‘al fresco’.

LEJOG Day 41 – Haggs Bank to Allendale12.35 miles. Cumulative 733.42

Another campsite all to ourselves last night, no campers cubby hole this time, but a very nice heated shower block attached to the on site bunkhouse.

There was a lot of heavy rain overnight, but once again we were lucky and had a dry day for walking although still very windy.

Haggs Bank was formerly a lead mine and the entrance to the mine shaft was at the end of the bunkhouse. The bunkhouse was used by the miners as a smithy and for overnight lodgings.

We decided to change our route again today as our planned route had a lot of road walking and a little research on the Isaac Tea Trail told us it was a circular route starting in Allendale, our destination for the day. The 58km trail was inspired by itinerant tea seller Isaac Holden, who was a familiar figure in the area in Victorian times.

Steve’s main motivation for changing the route was not linked to easy navigation or less road walking but because he assumed a Tea Trail would pass lots of tea (and cake) shops, he was disappointed as there were none en route.

The route climbed out of Haggs Bank and after about an hour we entered Northumberland, county number eleven, through a stone wall, this time both counties had marked the boarder. We crossed moorland to the East Allen Dale which we followed all the way to Allendale.

A short day, so we had finished walking by 1300hrs and booked into The Kings Head. Steve finally found a tea shop next door to the inn.

The boot saga continues as Steve’s third pair of boots are already falling apart, fortunately the local shop had some Evostick which we hope will last until we reach a boot shop, probably next week in Edinburgh. He may need some glue to repair the bedroom furniture he has broken used to press down on the drying glue boot repair.

LEJOG Day 40 – Dufton to Haggs Bank 19.85 miles. Cumulative 721.07 miles

A damp evening at Dufton, fortunately there was a little hut we could brew up in and meet our fellow camper. A 66 year old gentleman who had always wanted to walk the Pennine Way and was walking the 268 miles over 13 days, camping but using luggage transfer.

A dry cloudy start to the day, with a couple of rain and hail showers midday and very windy all day. A bit of sunshine later in the day helped to dry out the soggy tent.

We started with a 9km climb out of Dufton, to Knock Fell firstly on paths and later on a track which had been tarmacked. Fortunately the cloud base wasn’t too low so we had fantastic views back to western Cumbria.

The next 6km was through Moorhouse Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve, although down hill and along a path it was quite tricky as there were multiple streams to cross and the ground was very boggy in places. We had remarked only a couple of days ago how dry it was in the Yorkshire Dales, with very little water in some of the rivers, this was quite a contrast.

Having made slow progress first thing, we decided to change the second half of our route to avoid Burn Hope Seat and followed a track into Garrigill instead. We then followed the Coast 2 Coast (C2C) cycle route, another steep climb before dropping down to Nanthead, for an unexpected tea stop and a chat to a group of 4 cyclists, riding the C2C over three days.

The last stretch to the campsite at Haggs Bank followed ‘Isaacs Tea Trail’.

LEJOG Day 39 – Kirkby Stephen to Dufton 20.36 miles. Cumulative 701.22

Another good campsite, with a ‘campers room’ equipped with kettle and phone charging points.

A cloudy day, windy in exposed areas and spitting with rain as we finished putting the tent up.

We got a little confused this morning, as we continued to see footpath signs indicating we were in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, although we thought we were in Cumbria. It transpires some of the National Park is in Cumbria!

The route this morning was a little underwhelming compared to previous days in the Pennines, we followed minor roads, crossed farmland and even walked through someone’s garden.

We were both pleased to reach Great Ormside and re-join ‘The Pennine Journey’ which took us through riverside woodland, filled with wild garlic and bluebells, to reach Appleby-In-Westmorland, our lunch stop.

The two cafes in the village were busy, the first one turned us away, saying there would be a half hour wait, but maybe they just smelt us walking through the door. The second one, equally busy allowed us in and even though there was a wait, watching and listening to the staff was entertaining and they served up a good meal and an enormous pot of tea.

After lunch we made a trip to the co-op, there are no other shops on route until Wednesday evening and we had been forewarned the pub at Dufton doesn’t serve food on a Monday.

Fully laden we picked up The Pennine Journey again. En route to Dufton we climb up through some wonderful woodland with bluebells that trump those we saw this morning, a much nicer afternoons walk.

We camped at Grandie Caravan Park which we used on JOGLE, Lynn remembers the date exactly 14 June 2016, Steve’s Birthday. Fortunately the pub was open that night and serving food.

LEJOG Day 36 – Hawes to Kirkby Stephen 16.32 miles. Cumulative 680.86 miles.

Following a restful afternoon and evening we had a good breakfast at the B & B, one we would return to.

A lovely sunny start, with a bit of cloud later, we were in shorts and T-shirts all day for the first time.

We set off along the River Ure again, a long walk up a valley, first at river level and later high above the valley bottom. The road on the opposite side of the valley was busy with motorbikes. There are amazing views in all directions to which the photos do not do justice.

At the head of the valley we cross to the other side and pick up the ‘Pennine Journey’ path, a circular walk around the Pennines, which we followed most of the way to Kirby Stephen. We pass into Cumbria, county number ten.

During our lunch stop we chatted to a family out for a day walk, who we had passed earlier. They were interested in our walk and then came the compliment (or not) of the day from the husband who says ‘ when I saw you earlier I thought those legs have done some miles’.

Steve promised Lynn they would pass two castles in the afternoon…………..

………………typical!!

Camping tonight is Pennine View Caravan Park, just outside Kirkby Stephen.

Kirkby Stephen is at the crossroads of JOGLE/LEJOG and Wainwright’s coast to coast walking route so is geared up for walkers.

The pubs were open but none were serving food…..had an Indian, had to be lamb.