Apparently, a few years ago, Fight Club Hikers Titaniumdude and Wibble were prevented from completing a Pennine Way bid by a hurt leg. But now these intrepid Mancs were back for another go.
I met them at Middleton in Teesdale.
Then I met them again at Alston. But this time I had boots and rucksack and that huuuge tent they gave me to review. The one where I broke the poles…
Anyway, we camped at Alston, forayed for a few bevvies and after a night of gentle snoring and the occasional toilet emergency, by crack of about half nine, we were marching off down the South Tyne Trail.
I should explain that the South Tyne Trail runs alongside both the South Tynedale Railway and the Pennine Way, the latter, roughly as far as Lambley viaduct. Due to the fact that on the previous two days, they’d covered 40 miles from Middleton to Dufton and then to Alston, a slightly easier and quicker route was felt to be justified – at least as far as the Kirkstyle Inn [koff..] from where the PW could easily be rejoined following a light lunch.
Unfortunately, the walking was so easy that we marched past the turnoff for Kirkstyle and so in temperant style we went as far as the Glendue Burn crossing and then rejoined the PW where it’s also coincides with the Maiden Way roman road. For a while it chucked it down big style but we blundered on till we passed the farm at Greenriggs, where T-dude was pleased to note a “dudeism” sticker on a car. T-dude is, of course, a registered dudeish minister and is licensed for weddings, funerals, baptisms and sacrifices in many US states.
Then things got worse.We lost the path on Hartleyburn Common but, by dead reckoning, a brief period of stellar observation and by holding up a wet finger, we deduced that a) we were off route a bit to the right and b) that if we headed North, we’d find the PW again and c) we were seriously sinking into a bog of high juncus and cold, red water (chalybeate!). The next ten minutes consisted of knee-deep plunges , teetering wobbles, blasphemy, the creation of a blame culture and having blisters treated with a cold iron sulphate bath. Some people like this kind of thing.
There was even more of this later , roughly at the point where we found the muddy path of the PW. We sploshed North, crossing the A69 at a desperate rush and, by the deft use of the old A69, before they built the new one, we were soon within the warm embrace of the Greenhead Hotel, joined by Buzzingirly aka Gill and her faithful dog, Woodstock.
After another short period of celebration and a bit of bravado concerning bogs and blisters, Gill took me back to Alston to collect the knipemobile which was still there….
Thanks to Gill for the lift and Wibble and T-dude for the laughs.
We did fifteen and a half miles.
But will the Fight Club Hikers complete the Pennine Way this time?