Saturday, 22 January 2022

Racing The Sun from Hartside Pass

Li Yang and Sun setting on Melmerby Fell
I had it on my List of Things To Do (important caps here) to do some more long walks and early last week me and Li Yang (Li Yang and I) arranged to do "a long walk" on Thursday as she was on holiday and I'm permanently on holiday. It took me a while to work out a route but the result was this little stravaig. Oddly enough, it started at the top of a hill....
Sunrise from Hartside

Li Yang and a cairn
We parked at dawn about ten minutes before sunrise in a little quarry near the summit of Hartside pass - a large number of cars and vans could get in here by the way... and headed approximately East over Benty Hill where the boggy bits were frozen hard. This made for relatively fast progress. 

As we passed along the ridge, the sun rose, apparently at some speed and proceeded across the sky at a worryingly fast lick - and us still with 20 miles to go. Would we win the race and finish in relative daylight? (Spoiler alert - not much chance of that!)

And just before the ridge drops down into South Tynedale we turned South to Leadgate and then along the road towards Garrigill for "First Lunch"  We usually have two "lunch" stops on long walks by the way. My first lunch was most of a pork pie, a banana and chocolate and coffee. LTD's first lunch was doggy biscuits, gravy bones and a little bit of pork pie. Li Yang may have donated some of her lunch as well.....

Black Fell - not really very black, in fact

LTD trying to hypnotise Li Yang into donating some of her butty in Greg's Hut

The toughest bit of the walk was the public footpath from the Garrigill lane to the bend on the Pennine Way leading up to Greg's Hut. Done Siuth to North, my view of the walk from Greg's Hut to Garrigill is that it's mind-numbingly dull, but, somehow going the other way is more interesting.  The Pennine Way gave another section of quite quick walking and we arrived at Greg's Hut for Second Lunch, in my case a beef, tomato and mustard butty and some more chocolate. LTD finished off all Li Yang's doggy biccies and my gravy bones and asked for more. The greedy bugger had also had a fair amount of snow from the remaining patches. 

Greg's Hut
As the shadow of Cross Fell began to creep across the Black Burn below, we started on the fabulous Pennine ridge which heads North back towards Hartside, still more than 5 miles distant and, with the sun with only a few feet of sky to traverse until it could dip behind the Lake District, have it's cocoa and crumpets, wind up the cat and put the clock out to drift off into dreamy snoozy sleepy land ready for another busy day tomorrow.

The conditions for walking this  ridge were ideal. The ridge is mainly grassy and wide and spacious and, generally easy to walk on and , it could be described as a romp. We made good, fast progress, on the frozen turf , passing cairns and patches of boulders, across the Maiden Way roman road and on to Melmerby Fell where the sun won the race and began to sink smugly behind the Cumbrian Fells and us with  several miles still to go.

Li Yang heads North


Another cairn!

LTD enjoys some snow

The sun is starting to set over the Lake District
We were treated to a fine sunset. In fact, we were bust taking pictures when it might have been wiser to press on. In the other hand, it would go dark anyway and the really wise thing to do was to witness this moment. From sunset to "lights on" must have been about 40 minutes. We came off the hill towards Alston Moor and found a stripe of yellow through the heather which marked the track of an old tramway which leads directly back to the quarry containing the knipemobile.
Yet another sunset shot

The sun has gone to bed. Zzzzzzzzzz

Inevitably, about half a mile along the tramway (which, incidentally, is not much of a path ) we put the head lights on and tramped in the general direction of the main road. Car headlights and tail lights moving along the road gave us an idea of distance and ensured that we couldn't go  far wrong.

We finished at half past five. 21 miles (this does count as "long") and 2600 feet of up.

Under instruction from Li Yang , I have to dream up another long walk for early February


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