Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Pennine Way: Day 16 - Auchope Hut to Kirk Yetholm

Distance: 11km; Ascent: 250m; Solo

I woke to wind howling around the hut and was glad that I decided not to camp last night!  After a leisurely breakfast in the hut (well I wouldn't want to arrive at the pub before they start serving lunch!) I set off just after 9. It was a gloriously sunny morning, but the bitter cold wind meant I had to wear my waterproofs to keep warm.

Summit of The Schil
After visiting The Schil, I opted for the low level option owing to the bitter wind and got into Kirk Yetholm just after 12. I was very pleased to discover that the Border Hotel is the Edinburgh & SE Scotland CAMRA pub of the year 2009 & 2010!

The end of the Pennine Way!
I decided to celebrate my completion of the Pennine Way with a couple of pints of Houston Texas, which despite it's name is actually a Scottish ale, together with shoulder of lamb followed by apple crumble :)  It was strange to be finishing the Pennine Way without Lynsey, given that we started it together 2 years ago, but I'll be on my way home to see her shortly.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Pennine Way: Day 15 - Byrness to Auchope Hut

Distance: 32km; Ascent: 1210m; Solo

Another long day today, but most of it was dry, which was a big improvement on yesterday!  After yesterday's long day, I had a bit of a lie in today and once again only started walking at 9:30. It was a bit of a pull up through the forests to the ridge, but once there the views made it worthwhile:)  The Cheviot looked a long long way away!

It was a pleasant walk to Chew Green, the site of a Roman camp, although there were just sheep there today! The border ridge seemed to go on forever, with every fence corner seeming very much like the last!  The wind picked up as I neared Windy Gyle, from where the path was slabbed almost all the way to The Cheviot, which made for hard going on the feet!

Finally I reached Auchope Cairn and began the descent down to the refuge hut, which I arrived at at 7:15. After a trip to the Henhole to have a bit of an explore and to get some water, I returned to the hut to have a welcome cup of tea whilst I watched the sunset :)

Auchope Hut

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Pennine Way - Day 14

I think I must have forgotten that I didn't make it as far as Bellingham, when I ended up having a very relaxed start to the day at the campsite. This meant I didn't actually start walking until 9:30!

Anyway, once I'd actually started walking it was dry and occasionally sunny for the first couple of hours. After that light rain set in for the rest of the day; so much for the sunny day that had been forecast!
It took somewhat longer than expected to reach Bellingham, where I arrived at 1ish to have lunch by the North Tyne. Over lunch I made the mistake of looking at my guidebook, which claimed that it would take a further 7 1/4 to 9 hours to reach Byrness!

The afternoon was spent walking across boggy moorland in the rain and, at times, I wasn't feeling particularly motivated. By early evening, I finally reached the forest roads. I followed them all the way to the campsite in Byrness, where I arrived 6 3/4 hours after leaving Bellingham; clearly I must walk quicker than the guidebook writers!

A sign at reception states that I won't be entitled to a refund due to bad weather or midges. Luckily neither of them seem to cause me any problems as I eat dinner and enjoy a wee dram from my pitch by a small stream.

Position: llz=55.30501,-2.34993

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Pennine Way - Day 13

It was a late start this morning from Greenhead at 11 as I had travelled there from home this morning.

The walking along Hadrian's Wall was excellent, although very busy in places. It was very blustery all day and during the afternoon the cloud cleared and it was uninterupted sunshine for the rest of the day.
After leaving the wall, I didn't see anyone else until reaching Stonehaugh; clearly this isn't a popular section of the Pennine Way!

The campsite in Stonehaugh is good, and the hot water in the toilet block is heated using wind & solar power. Now tucking in to lovely meal of dehydrated pasta and sauce.

Position: llz=55.08146,-2.32461

On the way to Greenhead

I'm off backpacking again this weekend and my plans are to finish the Pennine Way. I reached Greenhead at the start of last month after 3 snowy days of walking.

I'm currently looking at the sunny Lakes and Howgills and wondering how much longer this nice weather is going to last!

Position: llz=54.49358,-2.67031

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Brecon Beacons Day 2

We woke early party due to the heavy rain and partly due to it being quite cold in the bothy.  However due to the rain being quite heavy, we opted for a leisurely morning and didn't actually leave the bothy until about 10:30ish.

We headed up the slopes to the west of the bothy, with the snow being thigh deep in places and just a dusting elsewhere!  The first hill of the day, Garreg Las, was a short detour to the SW but as it was below the cloudbase we did get some excellent views from it's summit, which has two large ancient cairns.

After returning to the bwlch, there was a bit of ascent up to the top of Waun Lefrith.  We then walked east along the escarpment to Picws Du, enjoying good views down to Llyn y Fan Fach :)

Unfortuantly, the cloudbase now dropped and it became windier and started to snow lightly.  We continuted east to climb the two tops of Fan Brycheiniog in the cloud.  Descending south to Bwlch Giedd was in near white out conditions so some map & compass work was required to confirm that we were heading in the right direction.

We then had a short climb up to our final hill of the day, Fan Hir, from where we glimpsed occasional views of the valley below through gaps in the cloud.

On the descent to Glyntawe, the weather improved and we could make out the first hill for tomorrow.  We stayed at the campsite in Glyntawe, where we had no troubles pitching our new tents before heading to the pub for some Hobgoblin :)

Friday, 2 April 2010

Brecon Beacons Day 1

After driving south through mid Wales in heavy rain it was a relief to discover that the sun was shinning when we finally set off into the Carmarthan Fan in the early afternoon.  The views were excellent for the 3 hour stroll up to Llyn y Fan Fach, where we intended to camp for the evening.  

As we approached the lake, the wind seemed to get stronger and stronger and was gusting from unpredictable directions, which made Ben & I slightly nervous as we both had new tents that we had barely used before this weekend.  So it was somewhat of a relief to find a bothy at the outflow of the lake, where we decided to spend the night.