There was just me, LTD and Li Yang this time - Diane and David gone off on an alternative walk in Nepal. The persistent persistence of precipitation (I bet you can't say that with a mouthful of crisps), over the last two months, and , in particular last week, has lead to the fields being a bit more than soggy. Bink Moss is just what is says, it's a moss. In even the driest droughts, it's a bog. So, after weeks and weeks of slashing driven rain, it's Very Very Wet.
Saturday had been specially drippy, and, with a weather forecast saturated with phrases like "heavy showers", "cold Easterlies" and "don't go out yer big mad bugger and what's wrong with lighting the fire and watching Coronation Street Omnibus with a pot of hot coffee and some toast then eh?, there was a temptation to cancel. And Sunday morning was cold, grey and dark, just like a November pre-dawn, which is exactly what it was. But we set off to Middleton in Teesdale, splashing the tyres through all the overnight dubs on the back road by Hamsterley Forest. But it wasn't raining.
So we paddled up the Pennine Way past Kirkcarrion and on up the bridleway to the fences and walls which can be handrailed up into the mists of Bink Moss. The way is relieved in places by duckboarding. In other places there are diversions to avoid deep sloppynesses. But we arrived at the summit wellybobs in reasonable states of dryness, just as it began to rain. Deep peat. Deep joy. A plover expressed it's opinion by going "peep". Just one "peep". A doleful, miserable plover, clearly fed up with life on Bink Moss.
We progressed to Hagworm Hill, where there were no hagworms. I expect they've all drowned weeks ago. Or they've emigrated somewhere drier. A soggy moor followed which required some navigating. The path is invisible through the heather and mosses and never really appears, although there's one or two posts which are usually seen far away to the left , or, sometimes, to the right. Never straight ahead. The beck at the foot of Green Trod needed paddling. Li Yang found a way somewhere up in the juniper, apparently involving balancing on a rock. I can't do that. I fall off things like that and my camera is too expensive to be dunked, so I removed boots and socks and paddled. It wasn't too cold and it stopped raining.
Gracie, presumably a young family member at Cronkley Farm is chosen to attend a Jamboree in Poland next year and, as I know from family experience, attendees are expected to raise funds to pay for Jamborees. Gracie (bless 'er) has set up an honesty-based "tuck shop" at a strategic point where the Pennine Way emerges from slippery rocks and sloppy mud on to the Gracie's farm track. She's selling pop and chocolate and deserves to succeed. Just sayin'. (Count this as an advert by the way)
We crossed to Forest School and followed a well-trodden route to Bowlees, then over Coldberry Gutter where it went dark quite suddenly. I carry two headlights, preferring to swap lights if one goes down instead of faffing with batteries in the dark. And dropping a battery into the grass and not being able to find it without a light. Or even with a light. Both my lights seemed to have duff batteries on this occasion, so I had to feel the way a bit.
At the end we abandoned the intended route through the fields and woods back to Middleton in favour of a plod down the road. This is quite easy in the dark.
The walk was just 20 miles (more than 19 by the way...) and with 3500 feet of upness. I think this is not too bad for this time of year.