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Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Border Walk Day 5 Pennine Way to Clennel Street

don't touch anything
Early in the morning, as I sat and scoffed my egg butty, the rain was bouncing down outside Forest View in a specially vicious and thundery kind of way. As I left though, it stopped. Then it started again. I sheltered whilst it passed. This was the pattern for the morning – nasty but brief showers.
sheltering at the start
But the walking was much easier. This was The Pennine Way. It has a few boggy bits to start with then its a highway of duckboards and sandstone slabs which make for fast and easy progress. No navigation is done. Well, not much anyway.
catcleugh from the pw
I got to the ten mile hut, so called because its eight miles from Byrness. there’s a twenty mile hut, similarly not twenty miles from Byrness. I lunched inside the hut and read the hut log. Somebody had recently donated maps of the Howgill fells and some boxer shorts, diahorrhea medicine and various other weight-saving accoutrements and potions.
ten mile hut
Somewhere around lamb Hill the mist descended and another walker passed the other way – the only other soul I would see till tomorrow. It began to drizzle and the wind picked up to form that lovely Northern driving drizzle that makes sitting beside a roaring fire with a warm barmaid on your knee and a copy of a Charles Dickens novel so desirable.
It was the best of times.
windy gyle summit
At Windy Gyle, I decided I’d done enough. I would seek out a camping spot out of the wind and with some nice water and I would resume the Pennine Way bit in the morning. I was wet enough again. The feet were suffering again and they needed a rest. they were no worse, though. Maybe they were finally getting used to the idea. The left foot had brought a note from it’s mum, but I could tell it had written it itself. It had misspelled “diphtheria”.
The Scottish side of the Border fence provides the best camping spots, in my experience, so I followed Clennel Street northwards. Clennel Street, I should explain is an ancient cross-border route which is now just a track, green in places and rough surfaced in others. I understand that there were meetings of the “authorities” of both countries at the Russell’s cairn where the road crosses the border. there were hangings and shootings and fatal incidents there on occasions. You’d think twice about camping there on a wild and drizzly night like wot this was turning out to be.
tent door view
The strong wind from the East determined a camp down the hill on the west side. I found a spot. Put up the akto and retired inside for my dehydrated spag bol and the 25cls of cheapo scotch I’d saved for just such an occasion.
The drizzle drizzled on the tent all night. At some point the mist enveloped everything.
I quite like nights like that.
Today’s was 14 Miles and 2700 feet.
borders day 5 part 1 borders day 5 part 2


The Odyssee said...

Do you think the problem with the feet is that they are evolving to the webbed variety.
Nice post Mike, very enjoyable. Well, from where i am sat anyway's.

Word : farcome! Make it what you will.

Mike Knipe said...

I think the answer to the feet problem is probably "gaiters".
Sometimes I iz so fick.....

The Odyssee said...

I am not a gaiter fan, well not the long ones anyway. I do have a pair of the ankle gaiters that work well for most conditions.

The word for this comment is:- Luited
Quite appropriate considering reever country.

Mike Knipe said...

I only usually wear gaiters in winter, but I think they'd probably have kept my socks dry.