Day 31 Steel Rigg to Bellingham
Today’s stroll, you may have thought, should have started at Huntercrook. However our host of last night, over breakfast, offered to return us to the point where we had left the way yesterday evening. By taking him up on his generous offer we could return to the wall, and enjoy walking along it, earlier than we could have done otherwise.
Just before we left our host’s wife, who was very taken by JAnet’s walking skirt said how good it looked. She asked if the skirt blew up in the wind and did Janet wear shorts underneath. All this is a mystery to me of course.
The first bit, the bit where one rejoins the wall, is quite steep and goes up and up a sort of rocky staircase. As this energetic encounter happens quite early in the stroll breakfast power is still very much in the legs. As I had accepted both haggis and black pudding with my breakfast I could steam on without pause. In the dim distance far below you might spot a party of young people enjoying a low level rock climbing expedition.
I know that hearty outdoor types always say that swarming sweatily skywards is worth the effort when you get there. I am not a hearty outdoor type in any sense but in these hills it really is worth all the effort of lifting the ancient bones upwards to these old stones.
Our visit to Hadrian’s Wall had to come to an end in order for us to move northwards once again. The Pennine Way crosses the Hadrian’s Wall Way and it was here that we became ex limites and braved the lands of Caledonia. The ladder of destiny beckoned and, over we went.
Over the wall we were returned to the old Pennine Way of bogs and wide skies eventually arriving at the gate into Kielder Forest. If anyone had told either of us that we would walk through Kielder Forest a few months ago we would have fallen off our shooting sticks with mirth.
Our host told us that she had been running in Kielder and that all the competitors arrived home with blotchy faces having been bitten by midges. We were extremely fortunate today that the wind was strong, continuous and cold, freeing us from the attentions of the nasty little beggars.
The southern section of the Pennine Way is paved where the trail becomes a bit tricky. This northern part is more gritty or, to be honest, more boggy and muddy. We would have loved a few paving slabs over the bogs today.
It wasn’t long before we both felt that unmistakeable cold sensation around the toes as stepping in the water once too often tests even the stoutest of shoes.
I’ve no idea what this flower might be. A fellow stroller, from somewhere in middle America, suggested that it could be some sort of hyacinth. She said that her plant knowledge was poor so she could be wrong