Saturday, 30 July 2011

Bellingham to Byrness

I left Bellingham relatively late after waiting for the pharmacy to open. My sinuses were playing up so I wanted to get some decongestants for the final few days. The walking was lovely - through farms and over rolling hills. Bellingham was a lovely little town with a fantastic bakery. If you're there, don't miss it. I stocked up with sausage rolls and flapjacks and they made a very nice lunch a bit later on.

Exmoor ponies graze peacefully on Padon Hill

There weren't many pictures taken today due to the awfulness that characterised the rest of the day. After following the path to Whitley Pike (very nice - fine views) we descended and crossed the road and started the climb up to Padon Hill and the first bit of forest walking on the way. Well, what can I say....the path in non existent when it comes up along the forestry section. It may have been there once but it certainly isn't there any more. It's either disappeared under bog or the encroaching forest has covered it up. There are trees down over the path which results in some very undignified limboing or clambering which is not fun at all. If you decide to break out from the edge of the forest as we did, there is knee deep heather and alternate bogs and reeds. Add to all of this the clouds of flies and midges and you have just about the most miserable combination imaginable. We ended up bushwhacking across the heather and following tracks through the forest to get away from the flies. Thankfully the Satmap earned its keep as it's really easy to get lost in the forest and the OS maps don't always show all of the firebreaks and tracks. We finally made it on to a track and back onto the PW but it probably cost us about an extra hour of tiddling about. Looking at the maps later, what we should have done was to turn left and follow the road instead of crossing it to tackle Padon Hill. If you follow the road to the left, it eventually takes you onto forest track which intersects with the PW at the corner of the forest. How we wish we had known that at the time.

After regaining the PW it was just a case of following the forest tracks out of Kielder Forest all the way to Byrness and Forest View.

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