The breakfast at Blunty’s Mill was beautifully presented and (most importantly for a walker) prepared as early as you like (7am!) and hearty. I don’t have a picture but the basil leaves on the tomato were a delightful touch that I will not soon forget.
The route of the Pennine Way is long and this sign from the Northumberland tourist board seems to recommend doing it in 24 days which would probably be a little ridiculous since even the split they have devised here would require you to be fit enough to do 15 miles in a single stretch.
The day begins with an easy climb up the Schill
The scenery was breath taking but there was a group of cows on the path and I don’t know if it’s some deep dark memory but I am rather wary of cows. Whatever was going to happen it seemed that there was one cow in particular that was rather reluctant to move. In this situation sadly I have still yet to train myself to get the camera out first rather than try to think through the situation calmly and rationally.
No, Little cow is not the name I use for my father though I may keep it in mind in case he ever becomes a vegetarian. It was a difficult climb but once at the top you could really see an long way across beautiful countryside.
Sadly even with our amazingly early start we were walking too slow and were not able to take the quick detour to the top of the Cheviot. I think it really would have been only a time suck (rather than requiring too much additional physical exertion) as there is virtually no additional climb and it is only 2.4 miles. However, our instructions were the bus leaves at 5pm and we didn’t desperately want to get stuck in Trowes for the night with only a Survival bag for comfort.
With it being Bank Holiday weekend it seems a lot of people had the alternative plan to ours and we must have seen eight or nine walkers who were completing their treks South-North on that day. The weather stayed in our favour and we safely arrived at Windy Gyle at about half past three in plenty of time to make the two mile journey off route to the pick-up point.
It seems I am ever very keen to “bind my future self” and had been very confident as to where our pickup point was located on the map but as we approached the top of Windy Gyle I felt a great need to hurray to the top in the hope that I would meet some of our fellow travellers who were being picked up in the same location to just verify my expectations. The instructions for the pickup location had not included an OS Grid Reference and so I had attempted to translate a narrative description into a grid reference. We did meet such a group (who were much fitter than we were and so beat us down by at least a quarter of an hour). They were willing to share the laminated instruction sheet with us, allowing me to take a picture of it, and it eventually transpired that I had been correct with my Grid reference conversion so we would have been fine.
We arrived at Trowes farm to find our 6 co-collectees awaiting us but before the amazing mini-bus service provided by Joyce Taylor of the Forest View Inn. The bus arrived on time and whisked us on our way to their inn in Byrness. I should say at this point that if you are contemplating doing the Pennine Way (in either direction) I can not recommend the Forest View strongly enough. The bed, breakfast and evening meals, transport and drying room all this for two nights at just £99 per person. An absolute bargain and well worth the money. Our accommodation was en-suite and I think they said that all their accommodation was so.