Day 4 – Bellingham to Twice Brewed (or Breakfast, Wow, Hut! Bog, Wall)

The Northumbrian Breakfast
The Northumbrian Breakfast

Of course it’s a play on the idea of an “English” breakfast but I’d never come across it before. I’m quite sure that it was “just” a Full English and it was delicious. We were very keen to fill up for the day as we had been told by the Australian man at the end of day 1 that this was the journey that had “broken him”. Given the bogs we had seen on yesterday (which he had therefore also seen before telling us how bad this stretch was) we were certainly apprehensive. I can’t fault the accommodation at the Cheviot there had been some confusion about what time we were coming down for breakfast but this was accommodated.

0401Post
It’s a lot easier without all that junk.

Bellingham has a Post Office which opens at the astonishingly early time of 0630. Consequently before having breakfast I had been able to ship back to Solihull over 7 kg of unnecessary frippery. Including a camera, excess clothes, flash gun, flasks (to be fair I sent one of these back), glasses, gloves, an additional water bottle and the first map (which we were now off). I also took this opportunity to drop down from carrying a 4 litres of additional water to 1 as the platypus lasts until 3pm easily and it is simply a matter of being a little more thrifty with the water consumption.

0402Pylon
A big mast like this means 4G.

It was however a good day for twitter. Once up on the hill the phone signal was staggeringly good and we were often in receipt of 4G.

0403Onward
Onward!

Having run out of (or at least been about to) Compeed it proved necessary to wait for the Chemist to  open and so we were not away until after a quarter past nine. In away this proved fortuitous. The vast majority of people walking the Pennine Way fravel North. As well as making the path feel more like it’s down hill (at the North Pole one would have more Gravitational Potential Energy than at the Equator) it has the benefit that when walking from Greenhead or Twice Brewed into Bellingham about 6 miles out there is this rather wonderful little shed on one of the farms.

0404Hut
All we have is a stable.

One could not miss the signs and it really is just off the path. The owners of the farm apparently walked a very long way down the pacific coast of America and with the owners mother having once run a tea shop at the farm they wanted to do something for walkers. It’s really funny because in the centre of a town I’m sure that the environmental health officers would shut it down (even operating on a donations only basis) but up the side of the hill it is truly wonderful to be able to stop and use a flushing toilet, have a shower, if so inclined (I wasn’t), do a load of washing, and even eat a home made scone with tea made with pasteurised milk (many guest houses don’t even offer this)! I doubt the owners of the hut will ever read this but I would like to genuinely thank them it is a marvellous thing to do and I hope the donations are sufficient for it to continue to be worth it.

0405Erosion
Erosion – more powerful than man.

0406Gale
Wind – more powerful than woman.

There were some truly brilliant examples of both the power of nature and the power of humanity today. The storm which uprooted the above trees must have been tremendous (there were dozens) but the man power required to build the enormous Hadrian’s wall is also staggeringly impressive. As we came out of this little wood we gained our first glimpses of the wall and it looked exactly as I remember it from my childhood.

0407HadriansWallApproaches
I can see the waaaall.

I had perhaps hoped that the track would continue to be so well laid all the way up to the wall, but alas it was a track to a farm and before we got to the wall it was diverted off towards the farm with a clear sign indicating that it was private. Bizarrely in the final approach there was a sign from the Northumberland police advising all that the Bothies were not to be used for wild parties. I am not sure but if wild parties are going to happen, and they are, then I would have thought that a bothy in the middle of nowhere would probably be the best place as it will annoy the least number of people.

0408HadriansWall
Seemingly a knee high wall is all you need to keep the Picts out.

we are using my first ever iPhone app as a navigation ad on this trip to keep us up-to-date with what proportion of our planned elevation and distance we have completed. This is much more useful that simply knowing how far you have come because occasionally one will go off the path or back on oneself or meander slightly and there is nothing so disheartening as to think you only have 2 miles left when in fact you have 5. Consequently we have at altitude graph planned out for each days trip and this last section to twice brewed was so hilly it looked like a thick blue line rather than the zig zag it really represented. But the view from the top was phenomenal.

0409HadriansWallPano
I can see why they wanted to keep the Picts out.

You know you are near twice brewed when you this tree (made famous by being?) seen in the Robin Hood Prince of thieves film. I am not sure why Robin Hood would land in Britain from the Holy Land and on his way to Sherwood pass this enormous tree on this enormous wall. However, there were more trees in them days and perhaps the forest was simply bigger.

Back in England but without my Moorish Morgan Freeman
Back in England but without my Moorish Morgan Freeman

From the tree the Twice Brewed Inn is very close by and I was very glad to see that my Compeed had mainly held the blistering within it today.

0410Blisters
Getting better all the time.

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