Day 3 – Byrness to Bellingham (or Track, Bog, Flags! Blisters, Pint)

Get a stick and flick!

It doesn’t make for very good blog or photos but today started with the most beautiful road. The walk passes through the beautiful Kielder forest where the sign clearly states that if your dog egests some fecal matter than they don’t want you to bag it up in a little plastic bag but to ‘Get a stick and flick’. Apparently when people were much less bothered about dog waste the insects used to take the nutrients out of it and put it back to work in the environment. I’ve still been lucky enough to avoid having to think about such matters in human form.

Unfortunately as with all good things the beautiful path eventually ended and we were plunged into a muddy wooded bog. The path was incredibly muddy and even though there had not been any rain for 4 days in the area it seemed incapable of drying out. The only benefit that I have so far seen of bog is that it provides the most perfect conditions for some exceptional mosses to grow over bits of tree – sometimes its hard to be sure that what you are seeing isn’t actually some sort of alien life form.

I’m coming to get you.

This path was clearly along some much older boundary as it in the near distance one could see several boundary stones marked with the initial CH

Don’t cross me.

This bog but was really unpleasant but having spoken to a man about it in the Bar at the end of day 1 we were concerned that the worst was yet to come as he had told us that the Bellingham to Twice Brewed section had ‘completely broken’ him. Oddly this improved our spirits slightly as it meant that where we were now was not the worst it was going to be. The best thing about bog though is that if it is really bad it gets covered in flags and today I remembered to take a picture of some.

Why has this not been cut into flags?

The remainder of the journey into Bellingham was fairly uneventful. We had lunch behind this awesome stone.An important lesson about map reading was learnt after lunch. When the pennine way was designed the ability of any person to read maps was such that immediately local factors like “here is a well worn path going along a very similar bearing to my direction” would override “the path is this way”. One of the many benefits of using the GPS is that in general it allows us to keep on the path so when we see a way mark that contradicts the GPS we could safely ignore it.

Your map is wrong, I am right.

Except of course that this can lead you to walk off on to a bog. But at least you will get some fantastic views.

What a view.

I wanted to show how much it was hurting to go through all this walking and I think the following picture can do better justice than my words.

You should have seen it before I cleaned them up.

But the great thing about walking is that there are sufficient Weigh Watchers ProPoints to wash away the pain with a jar of cider in the bar!

Get a thirst first.

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