Day 4: Romaldkirk to Blanchland
24.75 miles - 3,625ft of ascent
AW left the 'arbour of great loveliness' of Romaldkirk early and he was soon in Middleton-in-Teesdale which he found quite different. Then it was a centre of the lead mining industry and had 'sacrificed a heritage of great beauty'. Now that the industry has gone, the 2008 journey passes through Middleton as it shadows the Pennine Way and there is an 8 mile stretch along the Tees described by AW in glowing terms in his Pennine Way Companion.
At Newbiggin he left the main valley road for another lonely road that climbs up to Swinhope Head from where the 1938 and 2008 journeys drop down to Westgate in Weardale. More lonely minor roads followed as he journeyed northwards over Scarsike Head to Lintzgarth by Rookhope Burn and then something similar to arrive at Baybridge in the Derwent valley.
From here a delightful 10 minute walk along the valley road by the infant River Derwent brought him to Blanchland where he felt that he had stepped 'into the Middle Ages.
Descent from Swinhope Head