Thursday, 14 June 2007

Hexham to Bellingham-"Another one bites the dust"

Yesterday had been one of those perfect days for walking. A mixture of good weather, woods, rivers, and mainly quiet roads.

Today, was not. We finally found the cycle track that led us out of Hexham alongside the river. That was the easy stretch. As we struck out across the fields things, (trees) got confusing. Luckily Hilary & I had Jenny (Angela's daughter) with us. Due to start a P.H.D. in "Palaeobiomechanics, using a computer model called finite element to simulate stress in pig's skulls, then compare it to real data. If they match it validates the model, which can then be applied to extinct mammals, to predict how they moved" Blimey! That sounds impressive, but more importantly to me it meant she knew how to use a compass. All those field trips meant she could work out exactly which "field" we were in. Now, I can use a compass. I can work out which direction I'm going. After all I'm heading North, but when she tried to explain the compass on the map business & lining up points, I was lost. I'm sure Kenny tied to teach me the same thing back in Cornwall but It's all too mathamatical for me.

My contribution of the day was to guide us through a short cut footpath. Shaving about 1 mile off our mileage it took us about 2 hours to hack through the undergrowth, wade through waist high wheat fields to end up trying to climb over a barbed wire fence to avoid a field full of frisky bullocks. Like avid fans at a pop concert they stampeded towards the fence, clambering over each other to get to the front of the "stage" They obviously were not impressed by our Band, as we neared, they raced back to the top end of the field. They repeated this over & over until we reached the bottom. A pointless waste of energy for them, but it kept us amused until we had to make a run for the bridge in "their field.
We went on the road from there, through the lovely village of Simonsburn to the less lovely village of Wark.

On the way we stopped for lunch on Hadrians Wall (well, a small part of it) & were joined by three girls, not dressed for walking. They'd just come to take a photo & were very impressed with what we were doing.

There wasn't much to say about Wark. It was pretty dismal & this was where Hilary had to bow out. Her blisters wouldn't take her any further. I felt guilty for leaving her in this grim place while she waited for her lift. Iv'e noticed as we've gone further north it get's rougher & tougher where "men are men & women do as their told"

Jenny & I trudged the last 5.5 miles into Bellingham. We passed the sign for "The Pennine Way" by the bridge, it was like greeting an old friend. "See you tomorrow" I thought. We could have waited to be picked up there but I needed a "Cornetto". Queueing up in the Co-Op I was getting impatient with the man in front. Finally he lunged forward, dropped his money on the counter & said simply "I'm drunk" The young sales assistant was obviously used to this, as she nodded, & patiently packed his bag for him before he swayed out of the shop.

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