Day 17: Bellingham to Cottonshopeburn Foot, 16 miles
After calling in at the shops for our last re-supply, we girded our loins for a fairly uninspiring day. The weather was low cloud, but no rain. The traverse to Padon hill was uneventful, with little in the way of views as the clouds kissed the top of the hills. We almost missed the pepperpot monument on the top of Padon Hill.
The walk through Redesdale Forest was even less interesting than Wark Forest. There was a real feeling of “let’s get to the finish” for the first time. The camp at Cottonshopeburn Foot was very pleasant in a clearing next to the River Rede. An evening stroll to Byrness for a restorative tonic at the hotel was required after a rather dull day, perhaps the least interesting of the whole walk.
Day 18: Cottonshopeburn Foot to Lamb Hill, 10 miles
After the previous day’s boredom, we were looking forward to today. We awoke to low cloud. As we ascended out of Byrness up a grassy ride between the trees, we were engulfed in mist. The navigation over the Cheviots is very straightforward even in mist because a fence is followed for most of the way.
We trudged along in damp mist for an hour or so until we encountered one of those magic moments you get in the hills. At Chew Green, the clouds suddenly brightened. Then there were tantalising glimpses of far off green. The wind suddenly freshened rending the clouds and revealing the full glory of the scenery to our eyes. We were now in sunshine, with blue sky overhead. The whole transformation can have only taken ten minutes or so.
We had decided to split the last leg into three days rather than two. Now we were close to the end, we didn’t really want to finish, in contrast to the previous day. The lack of obvious camping spots, gave us the excuse to use the two shelters at Lamb Hill and Red Cribs.
We dawdled along, had a lazy lunch and arrived at Lamb Hill mid-afternoon. The Lamb Hill hut is a bit like a garden shed, but welcome. The one irritation was having to descend to get a load of water. Fortunately I had a large roll up water bag so only one trip was needed.
Pennine Way memories: part 11