Report: Christine and Peter Lloyd
Walk date - 16th May 2014 - 5th June 2014
We started the walk on the 16th of May from home as we live just 8 miles from Lambley in Hallbankgate near Brampton. We walked up to Tindale Tarn and then took the old railway track and joined the route near to the wonderfully impressive Lambley viaduct.
The whole walk was amazing and I would recommend anyone to do it. The scenery is stunning and if you do a reasonable daily mileage it isn't too difficult.
We did it all in one go and took 19 days – a lot longer than Wainwright but we were backpacking and camping along the way so have that as an excuse! The weather varied but was generally good the first six days being sunny and warm which made the walk to Alston and beyond a real pleasure. There were wild flowers in profusion and the birds were nesting and very vocal with the call of the curlew, lapwing and snipe lulling us to sleep every night.
Our favourite part of the walk was the area around Dufton and along to Kirkby Stephen. Delightful riverside walking , woods that were carpeted with the most bluebells we have ever seen in one place, the air heavy with their perfume and the pleasure of passing through lovely towns and villages and replenishing supplies.
Our least favourite bit was around the Tan Hill Inn on a grey overcast day that did nothing to enhance the rather bleak scenery. Sleightholme Moss was so wet that we had to hit the road which was hard, boring and long. To top it all we arrived in Bowes very hungry and with no spare food only to find the pub boarded up and the village shop long gone! A very friendly and helpful local lady took pity on us and gave us a loaf of bread and with that and some eggs from a farm we made it to Middleton in Teesdale where fish and chips made up for all the hardship.
One of the really wonderful things about this walk is the variety and constantly changing scenery. From the drab Tan Hill over to Teesdale was like entering another world and following the twinkling river Tees on a gorgeous sunny day, fresh with the memory of those fish and chips made one glad to be alive!
The drama of Hadrians Wall saw us nearly home so we marched as smartly as any Roman soldier along its undulating path. Big skies and lots more walkers than we had seen anywhere along the route made for a lovely two days before we left at Greenhead and back on to a very squelchy Pennine way and home to our own bed. Wonderful!