Crosby-on-Eden to Greenhead – 4th July 2009 – 16.5 miles
I had a 16 bed camping barn to myself last night, fitted with a kitchen, shower and TV it was like having an apartment to myself. It was great. I’m not sure if it would have been so great with even 4 or 5 other guests. It was quite small even though it was on two floors. The Bluebell Camping Barn is situated in Crosby on Eden and right on the path. If you’re used to YHA type accommodation this will suit just fine.
I started out a little later today, with a smaller distance to cover I figured I could get away with it. As it turned out I wish I’d left earlier.
I sweat bullets today, in fact if I had been sweating bullets I’d have sweat enough to keep a battalion of trigger happy squaddies in ammo for a month.
Today was warm, at times it was very warm. Few clouds meant that the sun had unhampered access to me and all the dozens of other walkers I met during the morning. Fortunately I’d packed my wide brimmed hat and sunglasses (optimism) so I felt protected from the worst of it and knew I wouldn’t get burnt. Even so, walking through the heat of the day was hard work, especially with my pack weight driving me into the ground (at least thats how it felt at times).
I’ve never suffered with blisters, I had one on the Coast to Coast in 2006, but that was a small one and I’ve not had another since. Until today. I applied Compeed to my right heel before I set out this morning, but within an hour it felt really quite sore. The left heel has also developed a full grown blister on the sole, in the same place as that on the right heel. I can’t understand why, perhaps it was walking in wet feet for 5 miles yesterday or perhaps it’s walking with a much bigger pack than usual, probably a combination if both. Either way, 14 of today’s 16 miles were done with painful feet. Not much fun. Tomorrow is going to be very up and down, which seems to aggrevate the condition, so not really looking forward to that very much. It does however help me understand what Rob went through on our Coast to Coast in May.
Again I saw no-one walking west to east today, but met dozens of folk coming towards me. Lots of nationalities as well. Several Aussies, lots of Americans, at least one German / Dutch / Austrian couple and of course loads of Brits. I also met two or three large parties, I met one of these at a stile where they were all queuing up to get through. A very considerate lady let me through rather than having to wait for them all. That’s worth a mention simply because it’s a rare event.
I’m walking Hadrian’s Wall but it wasn’t until about midday today that I actually saw any if it. That’s about 30 miles into the walk. Once you see that first piece though, in it’s own garden, you start to stumble across pieces every few minutes. Most pieces so far have been short sections, the longest probably only a couple of hundred yards or so and mostly no more than 4 feet high. I passed by Birdoswald, without doubt the most prolific area of wall so far, but I wasn’t going to pay the entrance fee. Yes I am a tight wad. But then there’s bits of the wall lying around all over the place. You don’t need to pay to see it, you just need to walk a little way from your car, or God forbid, your coach.
Towards the end of the day I got a glimpse of the hills I’m going to climb up and down for large sections of tomorrow. The Wall clings to the summits and a proper Wall walker follows the Wall, and that means not taking the Pennine Way route, which takes a lower route beside the wall for part of the morning.
I arrived at Roam ‘n’ Rest campsite, in Greenhead at about 15:00, feet on fire and rivers of sweat pouring down me. This may be partly due to swapping my shirt for my fleece after about 7 miles today. The shirt was soaking up the sweat on my back and the pack was rubbing me raw, so despite the extra insulation I decided to try just a fleece instead. I must have looked a proper sight, fleece on and rivers of sweat pouring off me on one of the hottest days of the year. But I didn’t care, although much warmer, I was much more comfortable in the fleece, it’s 100% polyester and doesn’t soak the sweat up, but wicks it away and so feels much nicer against the skin. I’m gong to have to wear it again tomorrow, so I may make an earlier start in order to avoid walking in the worst of the heat.
I pitched the tent and headed for the toilet block. I luxuriated in the shower, at least for the 6 minutes that my 20p bought me before the hot water clicked off and then I collected what items I needed to complete my journal and this blog and headed down the hill to the pub (Greenhead Hotel) and some cold drinks and warm food.
I have a fine pint of Theakstons half in and half out of me and a lovely steak and ale pie, all in.
Time to ring home and make sure the kids haven’t burnt the house down!