LEJOG38: Tan Hill to Middleton-In-Teesdale

I didn’t wake up to a view, I woke up to the sound of sheep sniffing outside my tent. When I opened the door my amazing view had been obscured by the return of mist and rain. I ventured inside for breakfast and asked if this were normal and would blow over. The answer was no – a couple of people even said “you must be mad to go outside in that”. If the hardy folk of Tan Hill thought it was hard core, it must be hardcore. The pub itself was a hive of activity as people were preparing for the show and the B&B guests had their much more extravagent breakfasts. As I prepared to leave I remembered just how lovely it is to go from a warm and cosy place with a log fire into quite cold and blustery weather, so long as you know u are going to return to the cosiness later.

I decided to take the bad weather detour as even Wainwright said that walking in these moors while misty was a cause for despair. However the weather started to clear up as soon as I left, offering more amazing views and making me feel all hot and uncomfortable under the layers of waterproofs I had previously put on. I rejoined the path proper a bumped into a couple, one of whom was intending to do LEJOG next year. I tried to offer advice but to me honest he seemed to already know more about the route and best way to light hike than me, but then that’s not too difficult.

I crossed a series of (even more) moors and reservoirs. They were mostly featureless and slightly blurred into all the othet moors and resevoirs i had passed in thr previosu seven days. The highlight was getting a call from Ian, an old uni friend, to tell me that I could stay at his parents Petet and Mary’s cottage in Middleton-In-Teesdale that night. Excellent, one more night in a comfy bed. I love Hilly (the name I have given my tent due to it’s brand name: Hilleburg), but I also love a fresh, dry, warm and soft mattress. Oh yes.

I rounded a big green hill an descended upon the pretty little town of Middleton-in-Teesdale, nestled at the bottom of a wide valley.

Thankfully it looked nothing like Middlesborough which I an others had associated it with. Once there I stocked up on pies for the next couple of days. I ended up speaking to about 6 people in my quest to find that nights accomodation, including two sets of tourists who didn’t have a clue what I was on about but politely tried to offer advice.

Once I got there I was warmly welcomed and looked after despite (or probably because of in my case!) never having met before. Ian srove down and we went for a lovely dinner at the nearby Langdon Beck pub and had fun chatting to the bar man and chief, looking in the geology room, and tasting the remains of kegs left over from a beer festival at the weekend. On the way over I was given a sneak preview of tomorrows landscape, lolloping whinsell craigs poking up out of the landscape like the hooded heads of a small group of monks. There was even a window stratigically placed to offer a framed view of the nearest crag. Peter gave me a brief explanation of the different types of landscape I would see the next day and their origins.

It was so convivial that would have stayed longer, especially when later we were joined by a group of men walking the Penine way together in what looked to be a modern day remake of ‘Three Men In A Boat’, but tiredness swept me up on her arms and whisked me away to sleepy-ville.

I think tiredness had heard about the bed that night and wanted me to get as much use out of it as possible.

Sent from my iPhone

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