Not the wettest day of the Pennine Way, but certainly not the driest! It was also not a particularly long day, which was good as by the time I arrived at Bryness at just after lunch it started and didn’t stop raining.
Bellingham to Bryness (15 miles/ 24 km)
Leaving Bellingham from the north of the village I could see I was heading for the rain and into the clouds. Unlike the day before when I’d tanned quite nicely whilst bog trotting from Housestead, it was immediately clear that it was never going to get sunny on the way to Bryness.
Just beyond Blakelaw farm there is an alternative path marked on the map, and while not an official Pennine way diversion (at least on my 15 year old OS map) there was a fairly old signpost suggesting it as a diversion. In hindsight the shortest route is not always the best. The upper route contours around the hill to Hareshaw House, the lower route follows the wall lower down and probably cuts less than 1km from the walk. I’d have preferred to have walked an extra 1km!
So I chose the alternative route, and waded through and jumped across the bogs to get to the track just below the house. Not worth the diversion at all!
Once I reached the road and donned my waterproof, I crossed and headed into the mist. Despite the route crossing open moorland it is very easy to follow, even in the mist.
As the path gets near to the woodland at Brownrigg Head its clear that the woodland is in the process of being felled.
This little chap is the only conversation I had all day, and he was only a fledgling so he was probably a bit startled!
Eventually the path skirt the edge of the woodland and after more damp feet it joins the woodland track and on to terra firma!
The track is however long and a bit dull to walk down but does take you all the way in to Bryness, so there is no need to take the tiny Pennine Way diversions which loop on and off the track. Why get more wet? Eventually the track comes down to Blakehopeburnhaugh where the path diverts off and follows the river on a lovely woodland path to Bryness.