Walk Day 47 – Bellingham to Bryness

Day 47 – May 25 Bellingham to Bryness
 Weather: Cloudy and cool  B&B: The Bryness (£30)
 Departed: 9:00 Arrived: 15:15  Walked: 5h 13m Rested: 1 hr 00m
 Distance Today: 15.5 mi / 24.94 km  Total Distance: 729.41 mi / 1173.87 km
 % Complete: ~ 63.43%  Pint of the Day: Boddington’s Bitter
 GPS Track for: Day 47

I awoke to my alarm clock this morning and that hasn’t happened for quite some time. Usually I’m awake by 6am but the combination of a comfortable bed and a quiet location ensured a good night’s sleep (and I suppose yesterday’s walk helped too). Two thumbs up to the Lyndale Guest House. It’s run by a very friendly couple and provides good value for money. A thumbs up to Bellingham too as it has a nice selection of services for such a small town (bank, co-op grocery store, bakery, butcher, several pubs, etc.)

I was away by 9am and began the walk like most other days with a long climb out of town. It was very cool this morning, almost cold, and so the climb helped get the blood going and warmed me up. There were great views back to Bellingham as I passed Blakelaw Farm and headed out onto the moors of the Cheviot Hills. I would follow the contours of these moors and hills for the next 9 miles as I passed Whitley Pike, Padon Hill and Brownrigg Head.

I was surprised how boggy some sections were and so on several occasions I had to carefully pick my way through the soggy black peat. The worst section was on an incredibly steep stretch next to Rumblingsike Bog where the Pennine Way essentially disappeared and you picked your way up the hill whatever way you could. At one point the only dry route was along a half-collapsed dry-stone wall. It was on this section that I had my first wipeout in 725 miles. A rock gave way and I fell forward (fortunately) breaking my fall with my hand and the GPS it was holding. I came out of it relatively unscathed but I’m afraid the nesting birds and young impressionable lambs were subjected to yet another barrage of “sharp” language.

At this point I had reached the outer edge of Redesdale Forest and followed it for at least a mile through more boggy ground. Eventually the PW entered the forest proper and followed logging roads for the next handful of miles. Most of the timber on either side of the road had been clear-cut and so once again it reminded me of BC. There was some active logging in the area and I could see them chopping the pole-like firs into short lengths and loading them onto logging trucks.

The logging road weaved its way down to Blakehopeburnhaugh, a tiny collection of buildings with a very long name that’s just down the road from Cottonshopeburnfoot. Northumberland does have its fair share of oddly named places. Yesterday I walked past a little stone love-nest named Horneystead and later on the unforgettable Shitlington Crag. I must admit it’s a nice change from “Holly Cottage” and “The Rectory”.

At Blakehopeburnhaugh I met up with two other walkers taking a break at a picnic table. Steve from Australia is also doing the End to End walk while Walter is from Lincolnshire and is finishing up the Pennine Way. We walked the last couple of miles to Bryness together and chatted about our routes and the number of LEJOGers we have met. Steve had met Andy and Alfie as well as Tom from Scotland who I’ve heard of but not met. Walter Is also staying at The Bryness and so Steve decided he would find out if they had another room available. It turns out they didn’t but they let him pitch his tent in the paddock out back.

Bryness is an old forestry village set up in the 1930’s by the forestry commission. Today there is very little left other than a few houses, the youth hostel and The Bryness guest house. The filling station / café across the street closed late last year so the guest house is the only place to eat.

Tomorrow I leave England and the Pennine Way and enter Scotland for the first time since 1983.

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2 thoughts on “Walk Day 47 – Bellingham to Bryness

  1. What? In all those trips back to the old country, this is the first time back to “God’s waiting room” since 1983? Sacrilege. (On the other hand, it does make me feel a little less lapsed, since I haven’t been back either.)

    Looks like an awesome trip Steve, and a great job on your blogging! I’m a little envious, (albeit mostly for the knapsack full of trek/geek technology!).

    Harald steered me onto these missives, so now I’ve got some reading to do to catch up on. (Luckily I’m still a Public Servant so that shouldn’t be too hard!)

    Keep on Trekking, and mind the old adage: “Stay off the moors!” (An American Werewolf in London).

    Vicariously,
    Scott

    • Hey Scott!

      Fantastic to hear from you! I was thinking of ’83 quite a bit today and our whirlwind tour of Scottish hostels. Memories of wading through the flooded road near Loch Lomand came to mind … not to mention the dodgy tin of beef I had for dinner the night before (I can still remember how cold the flagstones were as I dashed to the hostel bathroom throughout the night!!). I had dinner with a friend from Gloucester tonight and I recounted our tale of cycling around bits of Loch Ness.

      About 20% of my pack weight is dedicated to gadgets which may be a bit excessive but it has kept me well connected. When I post my blog tonight I’ll include a photo you might appreciate. It seems the Scots are ahead of the curve on internet access.

      Thanks again for the comments and please keep in touch (if you drop me an email via the blog I’ll reply with my personal email address).

      Cheers,
      Steve

      PS. I watched “An American Werewolf in London” a few months ago, for the first time the early 80’s. A classic!

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