24/02- 13 mile
Total Walked- 28miles
After a surprisingly content sleep for the low temperature, I reluctantly emerged from my sleeping bag, unzipped the 2 tent zips awkwardly with my gloved hands and the sun had yet to emerge over the horizon, but it was light enough to see. Iced boots and a frosty outer tent layer showed signs of the below freezing night on the tops, the down sleeping bag was a good idea I thought to myself as I stuffed it back into my rucksack.
All packed up and away by 07:30 I had 10 minutes walking in shade, until the sun emerged from over the moors to the east. No clouds to be seen this morning so the sun cast long shadows of myself and my rucksack on the frosted common heading along the flat, then descending into Allendale Town.
Popping into the supermarket for bread buns, 2 litre bottle of water and 1 pint of semi-skimmed milk, saw some funny stares come my way. Most likely because of looking slightly tired, having muddy trousers and carrying a big rucksack this early in the morning. Stares aside, I sat out in the square and watched the small town start another day, with children running to school, so not to be late and parents chasing close behind with the children’s belongings.
Anyway, bottles refilled and belly (sort of) full, I depart North West out of Allendale at 08:45, following the River Allen. I follow a river path for most of the day, but I am getting a lot of pain from my right hip, and with every step it seems to be getting worse. The plan was supposed to be walk for 3 days, but when I stop to make coffee around 11am, I re-consider and plan to get the train home this afternoon from Bardon Mill. Luckily most of today is easy flat walking, so not too much toll on my hip.
The route is easy to follow today and not much map reading is needed as I stick to the river for the majority of the day. I pass through the empty, but captivating Staward Gorge, owned by the National Trust, and I help but notice plenty of ‘NO CAMPING’ signs up as I walk.
A dog of either old age or suffering the effects of a cold winter and hard work stumbles over with offset curiosity. The young farm hand re-assures me that he ‘can’t remember him ever biting anyone’, as if he knew it was unconsciously all I could think about, stroking the Border Collie.
The last section along the river is closed due to collapsing of cliffs, so I have to divert out of the valley, up a very steep wooded hill. I follow the road the last 2 miles and reach Bardon Mill at 13:55, head to the train station and the next train back to Newcastle is at 14:11. I decide to call it a day and catch the train as I am now in agony and can barely lift my right leg off the ground. I quickly go to a village shop and grab a sausage roll and a bag of salt and vinegar crisps for the journey back, well needed.
Although the past 2 days have been a success walking wise, I feel disappointed my hip is in so much pain after not much walking, so need to take some time off to get it sorted before the next part of the walk is completed. I plan to do the next stage around the start of April, hip depending.