Walk Day 40 – Tan Hill to Middleton-in-Teesdale

Day 40 – May 18 Tan Hill to Middleton-in-Teesdale
 Weather: Sun and Cloud  B&B: Teesdale Hotel (£45)
 Departed: 9:45 Arrived: 16:15  Walked: 5h 47m Rested: 0 hr 45m
 Distance Today: 17.6 mi / 28.32 km  Total Distance: 636.9 mi / 1024.99 km
 % Complete: ~ 55.62%  Pint of the Day: Black Sheep Bitter
 GPS Track for: Day 40

You know you’re staying in an inn full of walkers when every guest is crowded around the dining room door at the earliest possible opening time, in this case 8:30am. I’m sure everyone would have preferred an earlier breakfast but no one dared ask. Finishing breakfast and checking out took some time and so I didn’t get away until 9:45am, but at least I did so under sunny blue skies.

When I stepped away from the Tan Hill Inn I left the Yorkshire Dales behind. The vast expanse of open moorland in front of me signals one of the more dramatic landscape shifts of the walk. Although the A66 is only a few miles away it will take the Pennine Way seven miles to reach it. More than half of this is over the Sleightholme Moor while another couple of miles are spent traversing a small valley and through farms.

In contrast to yesterday I only passed two walkers and these appeared to be out for a days walk. As soon as you leave the National Parks the numbers fall off dramatically as do the waymarks. I ended up following a trail along the river for a quarter mile before realizing it wasn’t the Pennine Way. In the end I went straight up the side of the steep valley to rejoin the trail. My 1:25000 Explorer maps come in very handy in situations like these because I could tell that the PW ran on this side of a long drywall fence and so I didn’t need to retrace all of my steps.

By noon there was quite a bit of cloud around but it was the warmest it’s been for a couple of weeks, and that cold wind was replaced by a very mild breeze.

I crossed under the A66 and then carried on over the moors for a few more miles. The hills were beginning to build again and eventually I gained enough altitude to view Baldersdale and Teesdale in the distance. At one point I passed a shelter at the bottom of a valley. One end of the building was open while the main part was locked up tight.

It was a straight-forward march up and down these valleys for several hours until I reached a road running east towards Middleton-in-Teesdale. I left the PW and followed this for just over a mile before veering off on a bridleway and descending into M-in-T. It’s a very attractive village with a leafy green and an excellent selection of comfy benches. I immediately plopped myself down in one of these with a cold drink as I was feeling a bit dehydrated.

I’m checked into my digs for the night, a small single room on the top floor next to the boiler room. This would have been a blessing a week ago but not so on a warm evening like tonight. It took me nearly an hour to get my netbook to connect to the hotel’s wifi but once online I uploaded yesterday’s blog. Today’s blog would have to wait until the morning because I spent all night trying to sort out accommodation over the bank holiday weekend (another brutal and frustrating exercise). After trying several different scenarios, including hiding out in an Edinburgh Travelodge I found a place in Galasheils. I’m going to stay there 3 nights and take advantage of a good bus connection to ferry me back and forth to points along the walk to Peebles.

I’m off to Langdon Beck today, a half-day walk that I won’t begin until late morning.

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