Sunday, 22 April 2007

DAY 53: Dufton to Alston

Today: 20.0 miles
Total so far 755.5 miles
Percentage completed: 45.2%


(Click map to enlarge)

Yesterday's day off was lovely - a day with Lynnie, sort of doing nothing (apart from meeting the Press for the Backpacker's Club to have a bit of a photo shoot - move over Daniella Westbrook: Male model coming through!)

Then lo & behold in the evening in the Stag at Dufton, we bumped into Bryan Crick (one of the Backpackers Club Lejoggers) and his wife. I had read Bryan’s book of his adventure before starting out on all this madness.

They in turn then introduced us to a lady, sitting all alone in the corner of the pub, who - wait for it - is actually doing her own LEJOG and had started out from Land's end a day after me!

Her name is Charlie - and she is going well.

I set off this morning and within three quarters of an hour was walking in cloud up Knock Fell, but my navigation was magnificent (not difficult as you follow the cairns...) However, coming off Cross Fell was a different matter. Let's just leave it as I was “navigationally challenged” for about an hour (slithering around on 45 degree running bog beneath scree slopes) and never finding Greg's Hut at all!

Eventually I sorted myself out - it was either that or spending the night on the hill. I spent six and a half hours walking in the clouds seeing no further than 20m. I finally made it down to Garrigill and stopped for a breather at the pretty little seat wrapped round the tree on the village green and noticed that the pub was open.

I didn't go in - I still had 4 miles to go to Alston - and if I had entered those hallowed portals I would still be there now.

I am in the privatised YHA at Alston - this is a Hostel that is run properly! The wonderful lady warden offered me a room of my own, an evening meal with a beer and made me welcome. Perhaps this is the way for the YHA to go?

I am just beginning to feel human again. I would love to do Cross Fell on a nice day - I have been there twice now in the last thirty two years and each time it has been grim!

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