LEJOG43: Bellingham to Bryness

In between this post and the last seven days have elapsed. The first was last Wednesday when I walked from Twice Brewed to Bellingham. Apart from the section of Hadrians Wall at the beginning, which was lovely and not as tough as the section the previous day, there wasn’t much to report. Moorland and pine forest mostly. The most significant thing that happened was me finding out that I was needed at home and racing back to London via the over-night coach from Newcastle, but I don’t need to recount the details of that here.

Then, after six days of doing very little physical activity (in fact I swear my belly grew back a little) I returned to Bellingham on the evening of the following Tuesday, finding it very much how I’d left it. Ironically it was practically the same time that I arrived as when I’d left, and the Campsite‎ had kept the washbag that I’d accidentally left behind in my hurry to leave.

As I popped into the local co-op to get my dinner I noticed two very dishevelled and hairy young men in dirty camo combat trousers and t-shirts. One even had a full on blond beard which accentuated his Scandinavian looks, making him look like a Viking down on hard times. I wondered whether they might be the lads I had last heard about in Abbots Bromley, when David bumped into them in the pub the night before we walked together. However I didn’t have the energy to inquire, I wanted to put my tent up and get some rest.

The highlight of the night was finally finishing my first book, The Sirens Of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut, which had been given to me by an ex-colleague as a present for my trip. It had taken me almost seven weeks to break the seal on my book reading, but now I’m hoping to spend more time reading and get through all the other books given to me for the trip. For some reason it takes me a while to get into reading whenever I’m away, probably because it takes a while to unlearn the syb-conscious idea that reading is work and relearn that reading is fun, but then once I do I start to voraciously consume them. For example, last year on a two week holiday I didn’t start reading until the middle of the second week, at which point I read three books before I got home.

I started walking again on Wednesday and my uncle peter joined me for a bit as he lives relatively close by. It was a nice walk, consisting mostly of moorland in the morning and pine forest in the afternoon. At one point Peter pointed out a big string of hills on the horizon and told me that they were the border ridge which I now unfortunately won’t be doing due to time pressures. I promised myself that I would do it all one day soon; I’ll also probably enjoy it more as a one-dayer because I won’t have to carry everything on my back.

After a couple of hours Peter turned back and I was left on my own. To be honest I didn’t feel like the best company because of the effort of carrying the bag and the resultant pain in my neck. I was sure that I’d softened up in my time away and couldn’t handle it all as well, although peter insisted it must all be in my mind because muscle tone doesn’t change that quickly. Anyway, whatever the causr, it hurt is what mattered.

In the afternoon I was back to the kielder forest, the largest man-made forest in northern Europe. It’s quite bizarre because the hills gain a uniform ‘fur’ of pine trees, except in little geometric patches where some have been cut down, like some wild hair style made with clippers on a green Afro. I used to be quite snuffy about these made-made forests, thinkly purely about the detrimntal affect they had on the landscape, making it more uniform and artificial. However since then i’ve read about the beneficial affect they have in terms of creating jobs, and it’s reminded me that sometimes other factors should take precedence over being pretty for the benefit of a day-tripper like myself.

I ended up at my final destination of Bryness, a place so tiny that it doesn’t even have a pub or shop. I bought some supplies from the cafe/service station, which meant that dinner that night was a ham and egg pie along with a large sausage roll. I was camping in a small meadow next to a B&B across the road. The owner was incredibly helpful and as well as selling me a can of lager also gave me a raw carrot inorder to add anoter food group to my dinner. As the light dimmed I got my first taste of the infamous midges, as a little group of them hovered outside the tent flap. I kept it zipped up but could see the shillouttes of those who had decided to sit on the outside of the tent through the thin material. It was a bit like a scene out of a horror film – attack of the midges maybe.

Once snug inside I didn’t let them bother me too much, infact i had another early night (something I’ve decided to indulge in more before I have to go back to the real world). It was still so light outside when i did so that I had to wear my eye mask, and then when the rain started it was so loud I also had to put ear plugs in. Despite all these handicaps I was still very pleased to be back on the trail again.

Sent from my iPhone

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1 Response to “LEJOG43: Bellingham to Bryness”


  1. 1 Karen June 13, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    Glad to hear you’re back en route again. Best of luck with the rest of your journey!


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