Pennine Way, part 7 - Padon Hill to Byrness
Wed 5th October 2011
Sundance has totally given up, several days of super hot days with wall to wall sunshine and what does he get for his walk? Mist and drizzle and to make matters worse it’s still warm, never mind- being a hero he can cope.
After a mixed drive of thick mist/fog to fairly good visibility all the group of intrepid walkers arrived at Byrness. Mike was his usual pessimistic self going round and telling every one ‘that it is going to be wet underfoot’. We ignored him until he told us to get in the mini bus and we set off for the start.
The mini bus pulled up at the cattle grid where the Pennine Way crosses the road. After a short delay as Mike explained that there was little for him to witter about, we set out along the Pennine Way and off into the mist. A good footpath took us over Padon Hill but it misses the monument by a couple of hundred metres. We did not even see the monument as it was lost in the mist.
The going became wetter as we crossed the head of the Dargues Burn, a steep slippery climb that left us all hot ‘Glowing’ and out of breath, and lead us up to Brownrigg Head.
By now the mist had lifted a little but not enough to give us any distant views. We continued in northerly direction with Kielder Forest on our left acting as a wind break. The going was not too bad although it was wet underfoot with numerous boggy patches to be dodged around. As Mike got the camera out once more one of our less vain members try to get out of the photo by taking a step back, into a deep hole and so promptly fell over much to Mike’s delight as he now had his ‘really embarrassing’ photo. The going changed for the worse as we entered the forest and the footpath varied from boggy to very boggy. Eventually we reached a forest track and stopped for lunch.
After lunch we started to walk along the track which we would lead us eventually to Blakehopeburnhaugh and the river Rede. As we followed the track we reached a point were the Pennine Way left the track and ran parallel to it for about 300m and about 50m away. Mike led the determined ‘I have walked all the Pennine Way route while the more sensible ones continued on the forestry track.
As it had been raining since lunch the head high vegetation was very wet, the path once more was boggy and very quickly the intrepid explorers were wet. After a 100m or so most Pennine Way walkers had given up and made a detour back to the track but we continued on over 5ft ditches, hidden tree stumps, bogs and generally no path, eventually we reached the track again to see the others some 1Km ahead and waiting for us to catch up.
After a pleasant but rather damp walk we reached the loos at the end of the Forestry Commission’s toll road from Kielder village to the A68. From here the Pennine Way follows the east bank of the River Rede. Once more we found the going muddy, slippery and in one place very boggy at Cottonhopesburnfoot. We crossed the river by a small road bridge this lead, by another forestry track, to the ford and footbridge across the river near the Raw. It was now only a short walk back to the cars at Byrness.
From Alston to Byrness following the Pennine Way we have walked approx. 53mls (85Km) and climbed 7100ft (2164m).
Next April we continue the Pennine Way, then join St. Cuthbert’s Way at Kirk Yetholm to the road crossing to Lindisfarne then we will follow the North Sea Trail to Berwick to complete a South to North crossing of Northumberland.