Ok here we go again:
Said goodbye to nice old couple from b&b, strange to be in a house smelling faintly of cigarette smoke. Remember when people used to smoke? I kind of liked it. (the smell)
Was away by twenty past eight, but already the hot hot sun was in full effect. And ten minutes in I was a sweating panting mess. Steep hot climb up to the moors and then thankfully there was breeze.
Didn’t want to think today. (I’ve had enough of thinking) so played quite a bit of music, ‘Alright, Still’ the debut from Lily Allen, pretty one dimensonal thematically, could be the sister piece to NIN’s Pretty Hate Machine, but the songs, arrangement, production and cheeky wordplay always make me smile. LDN had me missing dear old London town and sitting in Bunhill Cemetry with a good book of a lunchtime. Followed by ‘Aerial’ from Kate Bush excellent to lose myself in whilst pushing on. Then ‘Day & Age’ from The Killers, better than I remember it, but still no ‘Sam’s Town’. Then needing a lift and forward momentum, a DJ set from trance master Ferry Corsten. (Passport To The Netherlands)
Moors mostly good, then a horrible climb up a steep muddy stream and then forever alongside a forest, and then forever * infinity through the forest to get to Byrness. (Wainwright, who is practically never wrong labelled it ‘a dreary slog’.) Whenever stopping in forest for water was bombarded by all manner of flying insects. Have concluded I hate flying insects.
Arrived at B&B at 3pm though I knew the lady wouldn’t be there until 4pm. Rather annoying sunburn on backs of upper arms. May have to go for merino top tomorrow, there should be a breeze on the Cheviots I’m thinking. (/hoping).
Sat on the step outside, cat next to me had a dead mouse and bird. Charming I thought, presents for your owners. Then the cat pawed at the mouse and the most disgusting bone crushing hideous noises as she chewed it up and then retching and sicking up bits that hadn’t agreed with her.
(this is the face of a cold-blooded killer)
Went for a wander and found the old YHA which is now privately owned, ‘Forest View Inn’, and doing really well. Top 10% in TripAdvisor well. I’m not surprised they were lovely folk and served me a couple of tasty ales and even gave me some aftersun.. The YHA website had said there were was no availability, but turns out they deal with a lot of travel companies so only have a certain allocation for YHA and had I phoned they’d have been able to fit me in. Ah well live and learn. They kindly said I was more than welcome to come down for dinner with everyone, or just drinks and chats later if I fancied it.
Checked into b&b, had a lovely long bath, and then fell asleep on the bed. Woke up at 6pm, called home and spoke to family. Can’t wait to see them.
Having a salad in a mo, then early night… Would be nice to walk back to Forest View and be social, but am anticipating a tough day tomorrow for the finish and my legs and feet hurt damnit! Tomorrow I’ll be walking across The Cheviots (pronounced Cheeviots). Challenging 18 miles over lots of ascents (‘along the tops of the loneliest hills in the least-populated part of England’ according to guidebook) then staying overnight in a moutain refuge hut before pushing on to the finish line in Kirk Yetholm on Thursday. Probably not much phone signal so this will prob. be my last update until it’s all over. I’m booked in at The Border Hotel on Thurs, so if I don’t show up they will alert mountain rescue. One big challenge to go. Wainwright what have you made me do?