Day 16 – Greenhead to Once Brewed

Today was a very short walking day – the shortest of the whole trip – no matter how slow I was. I was feeling better, but still lacked some energy, particularly on the up hill bits.

Hadrian's Wall earthworks out of Greenhead at the start of day 16 Hadrian's Wall A mile castle in Hadrian's Wall

Leaving late I was quickly back onto the Pennine Way, and walking alongside a huge ditch – which was part of the Hadrian’s Wall defences. It was like all the climbs of the day, short and sharp – and with a seemingly gale force wind that would hit you in the face every time you reached the top.

Hadrian's Wall The trig point near Steel Rigg and the end of day 16

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Day 15 – Slaggyford to Greenhead

While the Pennine Way seemingly wandered around the farmland to the north of Slaggyford with seemingly little purpose, I decided to stick to the easy walking of the dismantled railway for a mile or so to near Knarsdale, before rejoining the route which is also shared with the Maiden Way and the course of an old Roman road.

An old railway bridge near Slaggyford at the start of day 15 The Pennine Way heading for Featherstone Common

After a brief excursion back up onto moorland the path descends again into farmland, before rising once more onto a more significant piece of moorland across Featherstone and Blenkinsopp Commons.

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Day 14 – Garrigill to Slaggyford

Having not felt too well for the last few days it was good to have a short easy stage up to Slaggyford – rather than stretching out to get to Greenhead in one go.

The Pennine Way wanders around the River South Tyne valley, at times keeping very close to the river’s edge, at others meandering a few hundred yards away, so there will be little moorland to be seen today.

The River South Tyne at the start of day 14 near Garrigill Meadows alongside the River South Tyne near Alston

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Day 13 – Dufton to Garrigill

I could see the day’s main objective from the breakfast table, and while the sun was out the clouds were ripping across the tops of the fells at quite some speed.

Farmland near Dufton at the start of day 13 The long drag up to Green Fell and the ridge walk that includes Cross Fell

Thankfully there was no scrambling involved (as I was not feeling too well), the path climbed steadily up towards the summit of Green Fell, and then after short descents and ascents went over the peaks of Great Dun, Little Dun and Cross Fells.

The view from Knock Fell looking across Great Dun Fell to Cross Fell (the highest point in England outside the Lake District) The view back from Cross Fell to the radar dome of Great Dun Fell

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Day 12 – Langdon Beck to Dufton

Today I would spend most of my time walking west, ending up further from Kirk Yetholm at the end of the day than I was at the beginning – it was however an excellent day. It was cold outside, though by the time I was walking thankfully most of the frost had gone. The sun was out and the sky was a deep blue, made darker by a few brilliant white clouds.

The River Tees at the start of day 12 Cauldron Snout waterfall

It was a short walk back to the River Tees, though I cut the corner to Widdy Bank Farm, from where the path stuck closely to the river again – at times almost getting squeezed out between steep bolder-strewn slopes and the fast flowing river. I was really pleased the water level was low as it would have been much harder clambering over the boulders higher up the slope.

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Day 11 – Baldersdale to Langdon Beck

After a brief tour of the building works, pausing momentarily to gaze at the new (reconditioned) Aga, I left the B&B and headed out on a beautiful spring morning on the second half of the Pennine Way.

Where the Bowes loop rejoins the main Pennine Way near Baldersdale Hannah Hauxwell's Meadow

The sun was out and the blue sky was studded with rows of fluffy white clouds. To my right was the enormous dam of the Baldersdale Reservoir which looms over the bridge and Hannah Hauxwell’s old farm, Low Birk Hat Farm (which now looks very smart and tidy). Durham Wildlife Trust now tends to some of her meadows, though it was too early in the year to see it in all its glory in flower.

The bridge over Grassholme Reservoir A stone barn on the edge of Harter Fell

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Day 10 – Tan Hill to Baldersdale

It was a late start at Tan Hill, 10am when I was dropped off. No sign of any Pennine Way walkers but the first of a few (of the 700) cyclists were already enjoying the sandwiches that were being prepared the afternoon before.

The view over Sleightholme Moor at the start of day 10 The scar above Sleightholme Beck to the west of Bowes

It was great to be walking over springy peat turf, though it was a bit boggy in places. This stretch had no flagstones and only a couple of very short stretches of duckboards – there was a bit of guidance with a smattering of white posts at various intervals, which gave reassurance that the right route was being followed.

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Day 9 – Hawes to Tan Hill

The evening before the cloud had been down and covered the fell tops to the north, drawing back the curtains it was a relief to see the cloud had lifted slightly overnight. The weather forecast was not good though and I headed out prepared in the full wet weather gear (the first time they had seen the outside of the rucksack on this walk).

The path north out of Hawes at the start of day 9, the first day with rain Farmland to the north of Hawes

The path passes the Green Dragon Inn, which within its grounds contains Hardraw Force – though it was still early and the weather was worsening so I continued through the village without deviating.

The long drag up to Great Shunner Fell The way up to Great Shunner Fell shrouded in mist and low cloud

The long steady walk uphill to the top of Great Shunner Fell starts at Hardraw, and the higher I walked the lower the cloud got – and we met about halfway up at Black Hill Moss.

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Day 8 – Horton in Ribblesdale to Hawes

It was overcast but the air was clear. If it was not for the chill northerly wind it would be almost perfect walking weather. Despite the lack of sun I still wore my sunhat to help keep my head warm.

The view back to Horton in Ribblesdale at the start of day 8 Ribblehead Viaduct

I started the long gradual ascent out of Horton in Ribblesdale, and once I was up on the moorland the path forked to the left – it could have been an interesting excursion as I could see the viaduct away in the distance.

Orchids and other wild flowers on the steep escarpments above Ling Gill The bridge over Ling Gill

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