I had intended to get up a little earlier than usual with the hope of having time to walk about around Kellah farm. As it happend I wasn’t up early but I got a chance to walk around. From a farmers perspective I’m sure it has changed a lot. There is a new shed, a 5000l hot water tank powered by biomass and some sort of fancy device for producing? silage. To my eyes apart from being a bit tidier it hasn’t changed at all. Most of the gates are still the (the blue gate in particular) and all the sheds still appear to be filled with tractor (parts?) that don’t work. Of course when I was younger I also assumed that all these tractor parts didn’t work until Tom came driving out of a shed on one.
Before we left Mr Teasdale came to say hello and we must have been chatting for about half an hour. We asked about the farm and their family (I used to follow his father around like a lost puppy) and everything seemed to be well. I don’t know if I had much useful to contribute besides the fact that his daughter’s baby being late vastly increased the probability of it becoming a Premier League football or rugby player and would increase his lifetime earnings by over 20%.
The walk to Alston was the second of our two lighter days amounting to only 13 miles and we had been assured that the worst of the bog would be over and to be sure it was – though it was still nice to see some flags leading the way ahead.
After only a very small amount of climb it was pretty much down hill all the way to the old railway line. There was a brief point where we managed to come out on the wrong side of a wall which led us onto a rather sharp road bend rather than a quaint little foot bridge but eventually we were out into our stride.
Originallly I had not been wholly convinced that we would make it as far as Kellah. When we attempted the way 10 years ago we only lasted two days and as much as this was due to my boots not fitting I was concerned that it might have happened again and so I didn’t book past Kellah. While out on the moors there is, surprisingly, very good internet reception and consequently I had been able to book a youth hostel at Alston and the old Post Office at Garrigill. Unfortunately when I had come to try and book the youth hostel at Dufton it proved to be full! This put me in a bit of a panic and made me want to really make a bee-line for Alston in case we needed to go on to Garrigill that evening and so I could get access to the Internet at the Tourist Information Centre. Consequently following a conversation with to South-to-Northers we decided to complete the last 6 miles into Alston along the South Tyne Train which is very close to the Pennine Way but which is actually an old railway.
Excellent progress was made and I arrived in Alston for about 3p.m. Unfortunately my back up plan of buying a tent at the the outdoor shop so we ‘could always camp’ was scuppered by the lack of tents for sale in the shop. This actually made perfectly rational economic sense. Who comes to Alston planning to camp without a tent? Fortunately after an hour and a half on the phone we had a place to stay near Dufton and then on at Middleton and even had the offer of a lift the 2 miles off the path it would be to the place in Dufton. Alston is a great place with lots of pubs and shops, including a post office and the proprietors at the youth hostel were very accommodating. After drinking several cups of tea at the youth hostel we retired to the pub for a meal.