Sunday, 11 June 2017

Pennine Way Day 18 - Bellingham to Cottonshopeburnfoot

Started walking 6.50am
Distance walked 15 miles
Arrived 4.15pm

The forecast was dry until 3pm. A mile outside Bellingham is Hareshaw Linn approached by a delightful wooded path through a gorge. The path threads its way for about a mile, crossing seven footbridges until, at last, a splendid waterfall is reached.

It is quite clear that there is no link between here and the Pennine Way. However, I didn't relish walking back for a mile so I determined to find a way and I did, although the first part wasn't easy and is not to be recommended.

Once I joined the PW, the path was clear although boggy now and then so feet were wet quite quickly. Later, I was following a narrow path through heather up to Whitley Pike. There were a couple of brief showers but it was as I left Whitley Pike that I made a navigational error and took a path in the wrong direction. Upon reaching a narrow road and checking the compass for the path on the other side, I realised I had gone wrong. Half an hour was wasted getting back on track.

Near Padon Hill, I met a lady with a dog, doing the PW from north to south and stopped for a chat. She was the first person I spoke to today. There followed a steep climb up beside forest and then the path veered away from the trees, following a fence, passing Brownrigg Head. The next mile and a bit until reaching the Gib Shiel road was without doubt the worst continuous section on the PW so far. It was bog without end. At one point I sank half way up my calves. A short distance along the road, I declared lunch and also took the opportunity to wring my socks out. Whilst here, a couple came by, also doing part of the PW but B&Bing.

Once I started walking again, it rained for about half an hour but I didn't mind. I was just pleased to be walking on a decent surface. A few miles of forest road brought me to the Border Forest site which is a holiday park. Tent camping isn't allowed but with an exception for PW walkers.

Sent from my iPhone

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