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Day 15 – Pennine Way – Alston to Greenhead



After yesterdays toils my first tentative steps confirmed what I already thought – I couldn’t walk!!!

Harv soon woke, I asked him if he’d walked yet. He said “no” I chuckled. He then proceeded across the floor, ooh, ouch, ahh. Quite funny, but you have to be there I guess.

This now made todays 18 mile hike over undulating terrain appear much more challenging. Breakfast at the excellent Alston House hotel was consumed with ease in preparation for the day ahead.

Full waterproofs were required as it was raining steadily as we set off. However to our annoyance the showers were intermittent all morning meaning constant costume changes.

We struggled to find any rythym as a result and the stiffness of yesterday lingered. By midday the rain was now constant and very unpleasant.

The going underfoot was sodden, boggy and treacherously slippy in parts. To make matters worse waymarking was inconsistent or non existent and the easily navigable well trodden paths of the southern Pennines were a long way behind.

The map and compass was in constant use over the boggy moorland terrain in the torrential rain. We were soaked through with squelchy boots and getting cold from constantly having to stop to confirm our directions.

We did however leave Cumbria behind as we entered the county of Northumberland. It was around 18.30 before we reached our destination Greenhead yha, but only to find it closed!

A note was on the door referring us to the Greenhead Hotel were we walked further to find a warm welcome and a hot shower!

Glad today was finally over, refreshed we retired to the bar for some much needed refreshments.

By Paul Courtney.


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Day 14 – Pennine Way – Dufton to Alston – The Big One



An early start with a hearty Dufton YHA breakfast ushered in walk day 13 with the anticipation of the biggest Pennine Way day so far with a 20 mile hike over 4 peaks including the highest point on the Way – Cross Fell.

Daytrippers David and Una were on catch up as Paul and I left 8:30am on the dot.

Perfect walking weather of light cloud, dry with a light wind encouraged our walk out of Dufton around Dufton Pike and onwards to Knock Fell.

The daytrippers soon caught up with us (even after a southern detour of the Pennine Way on starting!).

The views from Knock Fell were fantastic with a clear vista across our path ahead and 180° views across to the Lake District.

Moving swiftly across the ridge Great Dun Fell was soon conquered and lunch taken beside the radar station (Helens packed lunch carried by David was very welcome!) with stunning views across to the Dales we had left behind days ago.

Another quick step saw us top Little Dun Fell and then dip through Tees Head and climb the scree to top Cross Fell – the highest point of the Pennine Way.

This was another watershed moment for us made even better with 360° views as far as the eye could see including the Cheviot in the distance to which we have to head towards and climb.

The descent to Garrigill is a long trudge over a painful stoned track, sore feet all round!

The final 5 miles down the valley to Alston was very pleasant although tired legs, knees and feet ensured the view was not necessarily the main thing on our minds!

Alston became an oasis in view and coolers were taken as throbbing feet took hold.

So the Pennine Way Challenge team delivered our Big Game result – just a shame England didn’t in their first game at the World Cup!

Now less than 90 miles to go – total walked so far 180 miles.


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