Monday, 21 May 2018

Pennine Way

Rapishaw Gap → Bellingham

pennine-fingerpost.jpg Distance: 13.26 miles
Ascent: 447 metres
Duration: 5 hours 10 minutes

The Pictish lands
« Not walked | Not walked »

So often "Hadrian's Wall" is used as a convenient shorthand for the England/Scotland border. Even politicians have confused the two as equivalent. The Pennine Way is clear that they're not the same thing. We may have crossed the wall into the land of the Picts today, but it'll take us nearly three days before we finish a walk in Scotland.

hotbank-crags.jpgImmediately north of the wall is a large expanse of moorland. Looking south from there the Whin Sill is an impressive natural defence, topped by the dark line of Hadrian's Wall, its north face in shadow.

wark-forest.jpgToday's walk alternated between moorland and forest. Tomorrow will be a similar story. In the early part of the 20th century the wild land here was artificially planted with spruce trees to create Europe's largest man-made forest, providing the United Kingdom with a sufficient supply of wood should it be required in a future Great War. It's an odd history, but one we were grateful for as the trees provided shade from the unrelenting sun. The only downside to the shelter of the trees was the slightly softer, wetter ground; picking a route around marshy mud brought back memories of our walks on the earlier sections of the Way last year, where this was the frustrating norm.

refreshments.jpgAt Horneysteads Farm we were grateful for another intervention: the owner keeps a barn unlocked as a "walkers' pit stop", with toilet, kettle, chairs, outdoor magazines and a well stocked fridge of goodies in exchange for donations. We've left the crowds behind, and are relying on the generosity of strangers. It's a wonderful thing.

Notes for future walkers:

  • If you're starting at The Sill and want to avoid the worst of the rollercoaster of Hadrian's Wall Path, follow the line of the old Roman Military Way instead. You can pick it up just south of Peel Bothy where the road running north from The Sill turns left. It took us a little under an hour to get to Rapishaw Gap from The Sill on this route.

Posted by pab at 20:40 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!