Thursday, 15 May 2014

Day 16 /18 Bellingham to Byrness (26 km)

Total distance covered so far : 397 km



Today was definately a day of three halves! First half : easy walking with wonderful views; second half : horrible, squelching boggy up-to-your-ankles, on-no-not-more-of-this-crap boggy nastiness; third half : miles and miles of undulating, made-up roads in forest.

Why is it that a trail that claims to be the grandfather of all modern national trails in the UK is at times so miserabley boggy, impassable, unkept and unsignposted? I have no idea but I'm increasingly frustrated by this nonsense! The first part of today's walk was what you may expect for such a trail. Signs. Fingerboards. Pasture. Views. Paved where it gets really wet! Lovely.

But once you get past Whitley Pike, it's another story! Monstrous inclines that, if it wasn't for the slithering grit and rocks, look like nobody has past that way for decades! Paths, and I use the term very loosely, through tufts of marsh grass and mucky green-algae covered bog that will drown your boots if you put a foot in the wrong place and finally, on the descent from Brownrigg Head to the made-up road in the forest, a total nightmare of boggy, muddy hell that has you ducking under scratchy conifers, clambering through fences, squelching through ankle deep mire and hoping like hell not to go up to your knees in the a God-awful ooze created by the Forestry Commission on the neglected edge of a plot of trees! This is really not funny! If anyone cares about this trail, it would make sense to ensure it's not a freakin' garden pond that you have to wade through to get to safety!

And finally, several miles of lonesome, but by comparison, heavenly made-up road through the forest to Byrness. I would claim this to be boring and hilly but after what I just went through to reach it I'd call it joyous! Something is very wrong with the unkept and unloved Pennine Way!

Bellingham (pronounced Belling-jam) is a pretty but small village
It used to have a station. It closed. They grabbed a carriage and turned it into a cafe!
No pain no gain. It's sweaty work getting to the top!
That's the path. Don't go putting your foot in the wet, black bit! Just leap over it, if you can!
So who knows which way the Pennine Way goes then? Top marks to those who said 'right'!
Right about now, it started to get steep. Very steep! Photos just don't do steep very well I find! That hill in front is very, very, very steep!
This innocent picture conceals the fact that if you stand still on the 'grassy' bit, your feet disappear under water!
Take a look at the bottom right! Is this the edge of an unkept garden pond? No! It's the Pennine Way! You really do have to find a way through a whole lot of marsh!
A foot on any of that green stuff is going to disappear! And a foot on any of the brown stuff is likey to disappear. The only safe bits are those little tufts where the tall marsh grass is growing! So start tip-toeing from one to the other and don't slip!
So how would YOU have got through this mess? It's deeper than your boots! And this time, even the grassy clumps don't help you!
Miles and miles of joyous, boring road! Oh how I now love roads!
Though they can be long and steep! I love them?
But they are boring, so time to listen to some music!
That's an impressive set of ... back legs. Lol.
And finally some forest trail to close the day in easy, pastoral mode!




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