As the Pennine Way heads northwards it drifts from towns to only crossing through small farms and villages. Heading to Bellingham the only conversation I had all day was with the odd sheep!
Housestead to Bellingham (13.5 miles/ 21.5 Km)
I was lucky enough to get dropped off on the road just below Cuddy Crag where the Pennine Way turns off Hadrian’s Wall to head northwards. I could see right away though that it was going to be a day of wet feet.
A day off from wading through bogs was much appreciated as I headed out over the section of the Pennine Way which overlaps with the Hadrian’s Wall national trail. This section of the route is possibly the best signposted along the whole route, probably due to the popularity and that two national trails link up here.
Greenhead to Housestead (10 miles/16 km)
It was nice to know I only had a few hours of walking today and that I would be able to avoid bog trotting, so it was even nicer to have the sun shining too. Starting at Greenhead the first encounter with Hadrian’s Wall is Thirlwell Castle, which was actually built in the early 14th Century by John Thirlwell as a family home; built from recycled Roman stone. It did however prove to repel attacks during the Anglo-Scottish border raids in the 15th and 16th centuries until it was abandoned in the 17th century. Saved from further dereliction by Northumberland National Park Authority there is an information board highlighting the castle’s history. Despite it being at the start of the walk, it’s worth a look.
I’m not exactly a purist, always happy to get off the beaten track to get to where I’m going. But when tackling the Pennine way the whole point is that you remain on the route as much as possible. Alston to Greenhead was one of the only days on the route that I had wished I’d taken an alternative path to get to where I was going. Ok, that’s a bit unfair as there are some really lovely sections along the route, but there are also some very boggy bits!
Alston to Greenhead (16 Miles/26 km)
So be warned, look at the map carefully and decide if you really want to bog trot over moors or head along the South Tyne trail for part of the way, which uses the old train line and runs along the valley bottom. Its possible to take this route as far as Lambley before picking up the Pennine Way again. You could go all the way to Haltwistle if you wished, but then you’d be missing out the day walking along Hadrian’s Wall which would be a shame.
Alston is only a small market town but boasts the fame of being the highest in England.
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.
It may not have been glorious sunshine and it has been pretty windy and cold, but today has still been a great day to get out on the hills – and Moel Hebog was today’s calling.
I’ve stared at Moel Hebog a lot over the years when I’ve been around Bedgellert and for some reason the closest I’ve ever been is when I did Moel Lefn and Moel Ogof about 6 years ago as the second day of a two day expedition and I was a bit gutted at the time for missing it out (even if I was knackered by that point in the day). I’m not sure why its taken me so long to get around to this one, but today seemed like a good day to.
Today’s been a great day of walking, even if I’m definitely sunburnt. I seem to have walked myself through the stressed that have been getting me down over the last few weeks and through sweat and over exertion I have found myself again. Happy and content as a solo walker. And back on the Nantlle’s!
Ok, I should have been in Scotland this weekend but life has a way of screwing stuff up and I find myself in Llanberis instead. There’s worse places I could be right now and the sun is shining!
I can’t recall a day I’ve been in Wales in the last few years when I’ve had such glorious sunshine as today.
I’ll be honest, I chose this walk on the assumption that it would be away from the Easter crowds that will descend on Snowdon and the Glyders. However, I hadn’t realised quite how stunning and thus popular the Aber Falls would be. Having also had a near miss on the A55 (my fault – sorry to the car in front who must have winced) I thought I should perhaps stay away from anything too rocky, since I was clearly feeling a bit distracted.
I must start by saying, my beloved bike might be the second oldest possession I have, but it hasn’t really been out for the last 15 years (if you don’t count cycling at Kielder 3 years ago). But, this weekend I decided to make friends with my bike and headed off, with Dewsbury as my goal.
Ok, Dewsbury is not a glamorous destination I’ll admit. But I knew that from the Colne Valley to the west of Huddersfield, it was possible to cycle there via the canal towpaths and the Calder Valley Greenway and so should keep me away from two barriers to me cycling – traffic and hills. And should you decide to follow this route too and perhaps doubt how far you might get – fear not. You are also following the train line so you can always catch it back, which was my initial plan (and which I wished I’d taken as I got within 1 mile of home and my legs started to seize up).
Having found myself with only a couple of hours to really enjoy the fantastic September sunshine I managed to squeeze in a walk. It wasn’t an epic romp but it doesn’t always need to be to make me smile.
Having already seen 4 of the 6 Stanza Stones scattered around the South Pennines, I decided to head up to the Rain stone today.
The Stanza Stones were completed in 2012 and are 6 poems by Simon Armitage which have been carved on stones, each dotted about the uplands of the South Pennine landscape. There is a great trail guide you can download on this website – here – but frankly the walks are far to short for my liking so in the past I have turned them into longer circular walks.