Day 2 – Trowes to Byrness or (Bog, Flags, Wow, Bog, Slide)

Pretty hills.

Something that is very difficult to capture with a picture are the characters that you meet while walking the way, resting in a guests’ lounge or supping a pint in the pub. Even though one could obviously just take a picture of the person that you have met it would certainly not do them justice and would not represent them the way that you saw them.

While waiting for our evening meal last night we met an Australian man who had walked all the way from Edale but claimed that he had had his spirit broken by the bogs between Greenhead and Bellingham. It’s quite boggy up on the Cheviots but for the most part the amazing Ranger Service have been up on the moor laying out the most enormous slabs of stone to make walking through most of the worst bits actually more pleasant than walking on the less boggy bits (as these don’t have flags!) Suffice it to say this left us very worried about our Day 3.

Sigh, breaking the trip in half means walking back up to the path.

When I first learned that two seats had become available on the mini bus I must confess that I was a little disappointed. Having completed a 28 mile practice walk with 2km of elevation I felt sure that we would be able to able to manage this 25 mile walk with only 1.4km of elevation. I wished this at no time more than walking these first two miles of the second day it seemed like all this hill (300m) and distance (4 miles) was for no actual benefit particularly since as we arrived at Windy Gyle at 11 a.m. only four and a half hours earlier than we had been there the previous day.

Wow, what a view!

These pictures are all very pretty but they are starting to look a bot same-y perhaps I will have to start focusing on cloud formations.

That better not be a rain cloud.

The weather was really beautiful again today, better even than yesterday. Our rain coats were able to stay well and truly inside our bags and unlike yesterday we had sandwiches – care of the Forest View Inn – which made for a great lunchtime treat. I think Dad found the going much easier I think after having identified a large number of items which could be deposited at the Post Office in Bellingham (so even though he would need to carry them to Bellingham he able to leave them at the Forest View with in the confines of our loosely defined ‘rules’ of what counts as cheating.

The money shot

With the day coming to an end there was a large due south stretch which being up on the hill meant that we were in prime evening sun territory and I knew that I would be sun burnt when we got in. The stretch finished by this Cairn which seemed like the perfect opportunity to sport my Barclays t-shirt. After all they have agreed to match any funds that I successfully raise for 2nd Dukinfield. The view from the Cairn was pretty amazing but it is clear that the sun is setting out over Byrness resevoir.

Fat alien sat on a cushion?

Who does this reservoir serve?

We had originally planned that we would walk the whole of the journey from Kirk Yetholm to Byrness in one day. As discussed earlier if we had done so we would have arrived here at least four and a half hours later. That would make it 11p.m.


It feels like it might rain soon, this hill is very steep and the sun is starting to go down over the next hill along and all I can think is how stupid an idea it would have been to come all this way in one day. We could have got to the top of Byrness but would have had to get down in our Survival bags as it would have been complete madness to attempt in the dark.

It’s a jungle out there.

Towards the end, about 7p.m. we very near to the end of the journey and I thought it prudent to ring ahead to ensure that an order was put in for our evening meal. No sooner had I assured Joyce of the Forest View Inn that we were would be arriving within 15 minutes did my life flash before my eyes as I slide backwards at the top of a very muddy bank. Fortunately no harm was done except getting a little muddy. Fortunately the Forest View Inn has a wash basin in the drying room to allow me to hand wash my clothes and a large brush for dusting mud off that I could use in the morning to dust the dry mud off my trousers so we could set off on our way to Bellingham.

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