What a beautiful morning. I can’t think of a nicer day to head off up over Crossfell. We had been warned many times about how bad it was going to be up there but it was simply beautiful.
What’s more the path was an absolute delight. The breakfast had been served promptly and accept for a minor delay created by my remembering that I wasn’t wearing any sun screen or insect repellant we were out of Garrigill before nine. I had hoped that this would allow us to arrive at the half way point before three in the afternoon I was sure to be mistaken.
Crossfell was certainly one of the most well marked paths we have been on so far. Much more so than on the Cheviot.
Unfortunately a little after five miles we moved off the beautiful path and on to a disused “level”. I don’t know what a level is but it seemed to be a road along a fixed contour. There was clearly once a village here (and we later discovered that there had been a lot of lead mining around these parts) but if there was it had been well destroyed. The only remnant was a Bothy named Greg’s Hut.
The George and Dragon contained information which would make me doubt that there had been a village here as in at the turn of the 19th century the town clerk had written a very detailed description of the surrounding area that had made no mention of it.
This refurbished bothy is rather wonderful. We were apparently seated next to the Greg’s Hut AGM Dinner party last night in the George and Dragon. The hut itself used to be an the Smythy for the lead mining as well as accommodation for the minors (maybe only the senior minors?) during the week with the 7 miles to Garrigill being completed only on a Monday and Friday. In a way it is a shame we weren’t camping / bivvying as this is the sort of place that it would be great to say you had stayed at (along with the huts on the Cheviot) but I really keen to take any steps to avoid taking a “wild one”. I’ll even eat my greens!
We arrived at the top of Cross fell in pretty good time to find even another awesome shelter and though we had only stopped at Greg’s hut to write in the visitors book it felt impossible to pass by such an immaculately curated wind break so lunch was eaten and celebrations had for making it to the highest point of the whole journey. Quite literally it is all down hill from here.
With half our journey completed all that remained was to climb Great Dun Fell (the second highest peak) to have a closer look at the Radar station which dominates the skyline around here. From what had been said by locals and those we met out here today I had generally assumed it to be something to with the “4 minute warning”.
Looking on the internet though I can find no evidence for this and instead can only find suggestions that it is used as part of the National Air Traffic System.
The total lacking of any security would back up this hypothesis though I was in no rush to confirm that the “Men in Black” do not come and arrest you should you cross the cattle grid.
Well apparently there was some security which would probably stop you driving up with a car (unless you had a pair of bolt cutters).
Unfortunately up on the tops there was some bogs (and I don’t mean the kind to help you avoid a wild one) but there is one good thing about bog. Flags!
It seems that the the responsible park service has recently placed a lot of flags on along the final stretch of today’s walk. Unfortunately they have not yet lead them out apart from the view that made this wonderful bridge. (Again, sadly I can’t capture the sound of a babbling brook).
The final decent into Dufton was along an old (ancient?) road, Hurning Lane, much of which I was clearly being at least occasionally used by a farmer (as it was still clear). Along much of it had been placed, at intervals, some (I want to say Hazel) trees. I am taken to understand that there is a legal principle called the Hedge and Ditch presumption which assumes that a landowner always begins digging his ditch at the edge of his land and tips the waster further back into his land. However, the way that the ditches were dug on the outside (from the lane) of the hedge would suggest that that the owners of the lane had done this digging which opens a whole new series of questions. Who owns a lane, why would they go to all this effort, why was the tract of land set aside for the lane so wide?
As we approached the village of Dufton there was some truly brilliant lowland views of what (on a nice day like today) simply looks idilic. Sheep frolicking in flat lush green fields with a brook bubbling gently in the background.
Our final approach on our final approach into town a cyclist informed us that the pub had “run out of beer” which made me rather thank full that we had not been lucky enough to get into the Youth Hostel and were staying with a very generous lady in Long Eaton who had kindly offered to pick us up from outside the pub. Her B&B is lovely and can only be empty because of a lack of advertising. I can not emphasise how delightful it is when there is the ability to get a even a small amount of washing done. Though I am curious what story is represented in this artwork. It’s a long day tomorrow and as the proprietress also has a regular job we are able to have breakfast at 0630 making our long trip (20.52 miles) to Middleton achievable in-time for dinner!