Sunday, 29 September 2013
North Pennines Walking Festival – AW’s Pennine Journey in a Day
First of all, I’d just like to thank Brenda and Andrew for their kind donation to my sponsored skinny dip on the North east Skinny Dip in the North(brr) Sea (aaargh) at Druridge Bay the other day in aid of MIND and national Trust. Its got nothing at all to do with this walk (no skinny dipping took place), but its just nice to say thanks, eh? I’ll be reporting on the total amount collected when the virgin giving link closes at the end of October.
Back to the plot… This walk was part of the North Pennines walking festival organised by Friends of the North Pennines. It’s also part of a project to do the entire route of Alf (that sheep is looking at me in a funny way) Wainwright’s Pennine Journey in a single day. This was achieved in a series of day walks including this one lead by me… in this case from Tan Hill Inn to Baldersdale – some 16 or so miles later.
There was only the three of us – me, Mike the steward (who may be referred to as “Mick” to avoid confusion) and Graeme. Graeme has contributed some pictures to this blog post.
A minibus from Teesdale Community Transport removed us from Balderhead Reservoir car park and delivered us a bit later to Tan Hill, where we failed to stop for any refreshments, but launched off on the soggy path down the hill towards Bowes. We set a cracking pace at first (note that the route was substantially downhill)
Soon, and after only the one short stop , we blundered into Bowes and were drawn, as if by magnets, to the public bar of the Ancient Unicorn, a truly ancient coaching inn advertised for sale and occupied by a temporary troubleshooting manageress fresh from the tropical warmth of The Gambia and a few locals, intent on mopping up the very last dregs of whatever beer remained in the cellar and whatever scotch was on display. This effort was carried out with enthusiastic and self-sacrificing dedication. In fact, we were so moved by this display of public spirit, that we decided to help out as best we could.
More beer and new beerlines are due to be delivered shortly, apparently. In the face of this resistance, we left for the plod through RAF Bowes Moor to a lunch stop beside the beck at Levy Pool. The locals refused to quit, though and bashed on regardless, helped by a small crowd of walkers who arrived shortly afterwards.
After lunch, we motored on over by West Loups’s, which had a shoot going on, and by Goldsborough, which had a couple of climbers with bouldering mats.
And so, on a day of reasonably warm sunshine and mainly clear blue skies, we heaved our aching limbs up the final steep slopes to the reservoir car park, where our cars were still there, the lights were off and the wheels were still on. So, we counted this as a success.
The route follows the Pennine Way and the eastern half of the Bowes Loop, should anybody want to try to follow it. it’s a long, but reasonably easy bit of walking with a pub in the middle. All really good walks have a pub in the middle and should you wish to help in the quest to rid the Ancient Unicorn of it’s booze supplies, you need to get there quick before the drayman arrives.
It’s haunted by the way…. I was in a seat on the corner of the bar – a spot known for contact with one of the pub’s ghosts, one “Emma”, who is renowned for tapping customers on the shoulder…….. ooer….. anybody for a pint at halloween…?
The North Pennines walking festival runs until 6 October and has a total of 50 walks of all grades and 9 events. My next contribution is on Wednesday 2 October 2013 and is a 14 mile walk starting from Bowlees at 10:00 (be there from 09:30). The walk is called “Best of Teesdale” and visits some of the best bits of…er….. Teesdale – Low Force, Wynch Bridge, High Force, Green Trod, Hurth caves and the cafe at Bowlees..
See the festival’s website for more details of all the walks including how to book and so on at north pennines walking festival website (click on Events) note that even though the walk details for Wednesday’s walk say that you have to pay in advance for this walk, you will be able to pay the steward on the day, just before the walk starts.