I have to admit to being a bit excited about the prospect of finally finishing the Pennine Way over a final week of walking after having started this route 8 years ago. So taking a week off work and roping in my parents as willing sherpas I headed out on the fells.
Dufton to Alston (18.75 Miles/ 30 Km)
Heading out I had a skip in my step, eager to get on the fells. I did however have a minor hangover from a great night in the Stag Inn, the fantastic pub in the village (which does excellent meals). Despite being in sunshine in Dufton I could already see that Great Dun Fell and Cross Fell were shroud in mist.
From Knock Old Man trig I trudged on into the mist, double checking my bearing to make sure I was definitely heading towards Great Dun Fell. The path is actually easy to follow once you head off Knock Old Man and is even paved in parts. Battling through the wind and fog I was grateful to not find myself in the Helm Wind which rages across the Fell top for much of the year.
It was a bit of a surprise to find a tarmac road leading to the mast on Great Dun Fell but even more surprising were the 25 young army lads coming towards my as I descended its summit!
Despite being the highest point in the Pennines and the highest point in England outside of the Lake District, Cross Fell summit was a bit of a let down. A relatively flat summit with a trig point and a low shelter, made worse by the lack of a view.
I headed directly off the summit, bearing off towards Greg’s hut to avoid missing the track to it.
Greg’s Hut was also a surprise as I had pictured a wooden hut in my head, so it was interesting to find a real building complete with guest book, chairs, candles and a portrait of the man it was dedicated to.
The track from Greg’s hut to Garrigill is long and an uninteresting plod; it may have been a nicer walk had I had a view.
Once in Garrigill I picked up the path along the river and followed it to Alston, my stop for the day. The woodland river walk made a nice contrast to the earlier slog across the moors.