Date: Thursday 4 June 2015
Walked from: Greenhead, Northumberland
Walked to: Bellingham, Northumberland
Distance: 21.5 miles
Stayed: Cheviot Hotel
Odds are that if you walk for long enough, you’re bound to get a sunny day eventually. Well, it’s taken two weeks, but today it finally arrived – just in time for a glorious romp through the stunning Northumberland countryside.
The first seven miles of today’s long walk (all eleven hours of it, including food stops) were all about the Romans, as we walked up and down, and up and down a bit more, heading east along Hadrian’s Wall. A leg stretching start to the day, but a good un’, with a relaxing, sun soaking lunch stop atop a part of the wall that looks down on the pool of Crag Lough, near Once Brewed.
We then struck off northeast, in a yomp through the mixture of open countryside and forest that eventually got us to Bellingham, a village I first rocked up in on a cycling holiday nine years ago, and the last place we’ll see a cash machine for four days! I managed to sink half way up to my right knee in bog at one point, to much general hilarity, but apart from that it was considerably drier underfoot than yesterday.
I spent much of the day muttering about wanting a lemonade, and took some time to share my thoughts on the best brands available to the British consumer, which I’m sure were welcomed by my walking companions (Annette, Ken, Chris and a new Pennine Way buddy Paul, who has been section walking the Way for the past seven years and started on his last part today). So imagine my sheer, unadulterated joy to come across the place of miracles that calls itself Horneystead Farm. The lovely farmers there have a small outbuilding with comfy chairs, a loo, cake, sweeties, hot drinks and a fridge full of cold drinks… including my very favourite lemonade (Waitrose traditional cloudy, since you ask…). The sugar we consumed there got me through the last five miles or so, as we picked up the pace to get to the Cheviot Hotel (also a pub) in time for a rather late dinner. Anonymous farmers of Horneystead Farm, I thank thee from the bottom of my lemonade addicted heart. And Northumberland, you are even more beautiful than I remembered.
Photos: Views to the north (barbarian country) from Hadrian’s Wall / Ken showing off his balancing skills on the approach to Wark Forest / the fridge of miracles / the view from Ealingham Rigg