No, sorry, couldn’t think of an appropriate rambling/trekking/backpacking/hillwalking Cher word that goes nicely with “Cheviot” I could say “Chase”, but this implies speed and, since the invention and application of beta blockers, we don’t recognise “speed” as an aspect of our hilly wanderings.
Hennyway, I saddled up the pooch, allowed him to drive as far as the A19 (South) roadsign somewhere up the A1 and collected Dawn from her dockside pad whereupon we proceeded relatively funereally due to roadworks and tractors and specially slow old blokes in cars that Could Go Much Faster Than That to Spittal on Tweed where JJ and Mrs JJ were camping in a small town which wasn’t quite Berwick-Upon-Tweed.
So, after a special pie and pasta and bara bridd (fruit cake) luncheon, we hobbled into Berwick where, since we’d got the bus times wrong, we had a pint. Then we caught the bus to Wooler.
As we were fairly late at this point (note that this is just an excuse), we had to have a relatively short walk to the first lovely camping spot we came across. This was by the Carey Burn. Mine had a lump just under the groundsheet where my hips should go and this lump insisted that I spend the night in the akto porch and a long night of anti-lump struggle took place during which Lucky snored, stretched out and had the occasional running-about-barking-dream.
And so, refreshed from a comfy night on the lump, we progressed even further up the Carey Burn (nice swimming pools by the way) to Broadstruther where we failed to negotiate an onward route. Lots of ideas were proposed and politely rejected as being “too steep”, “too boggy”, “too midgey”, “there’s monsters and fairies” and “isn’t that somewhere near Birmingham?”. So, instead, we went to the Harthope Burn, intending, perhaps to walk over the ridge into the Colledge valley, or maybe onto the Border ridge and then work out something perhaps involving St Cuthberts Way back to Wooler. In fact, readers, we were to invent the route as we went along.
At Harthope Burn we selected the very last reasonable camping spot before it all closed in and had a nice night. My pitch had a lump just where the hips ought to go…… During the night Lucky did some snoring and had a dream which involved running about and barking. Also during the night, Dawn had been busy consulting maps and a set of chicken bones and goat offal, scattered on the grass so as to form patterns by which to divine, by the grace of various gods, an onward route. Following this, she proposed a bagging of The Cheviot. Yes, folks The Big One. Not just “the Cheviots” but “The Cheviot” itself.
The question we should all ask ourselves is “where did Dawn acquire goat offal at this time of night?”
Next morning we headed bravely up the glen – crossing and recrossing the beck and falling in a huge hole (me) by falling off some high and very steep heather which dirtied my legs. Soon we found ourselves at the top of Cairn Hill. According to my records, this was the third time I’d been here. I’d don’t remember any of the other two times…
The Pennine Way spur to The Cheviot carried us along Lancashire mill slabs to the very top (My sixth time, apparently) where a bunch of peeps were resting and lunching. Some were friendly and some took themselves a bit too seriously and looked stern whilst munching their oaty bars or whatever it was. Anyway, they weren’t allowed to chat. And they rushed past us later on in a way which suggested that they told Mum they’d be back by four and it was now half past three and she’d be so mortified by this slight (as if it never happened every week) as to not speak to any of them for Three Whole Days and they’d have to eat burnt Brussels sprouts for the next week……
Me and JJ followed Dawn down the “tourist route” in a generally Northern direction, past Broadstruther again where we baulked at camping due to it being a grouse shooting estate and it being the prime time for the grouse shooting, but finally camped on a lump just where the hips ought to go, still on the grouse moor, but just on the edge. And , pretty much out of sight of any wandering keepers or ghillies. Here were not dragons, but midgies. Midgies in hordes, in fact. We all fastened ourselves tightly inside our tabernacles. Lucky had a snoring session and a dream concerning running about and barking.
And so we finished with a short and rainy stroll into Wooler where we discovered that a bus to Berwick was due, so, instead of seeking tea and bacon butties (which would have ben just the thing), we got on the bus, and it was this bus which delivered us to a roundabout quite close the JJ and Mrs JJ’s caravan site.
And so it ended.
I think we did about 22 miles. This may not seem much for a three day walk. And it isn’t. But we just don’t care, see? There’s more to life than mileage.