Dufton to Alston (20 Miles) Monday 19th August 2002

A Big Day in every way. It is recommended that if you intend to stop at Alston YHA you phone in your evening meal request from Dufton before leaving. Today will feature the topographic high point of the walk with the summit of Cross Fell.

We gingerly croosed the river wher the footbridge had been swept away in the winter floods, skirted aroung the bottom of Dufton Pike and Brownber Hill, before settling down to some serious uphill slogging. Climbing into the mist we found Dunfell Hush (a channel used in old mining techniques – water was allowed to pond up behind a dam then released down the Hush (or Huish) to rip open the rocks and reveal the ores for easier mining) then just shy of the sinister radar domes on Great Dun Fell we found a woman looking down a hole. Not entirely sure what she was looking for. Then it was down to the col and back up to Little Dun fell, and repeat that to get to the top of Cross Fell (893 metres) about 3.5 hours after leaving Dufton, which was about par for the course. It was very windy, and there was a wasps nest in the stone summit shelter, so we didn’t hang around. We seemed to spend much of the afternoon descending through disused mineworkings, and used the opportunity to stock up on our mineral collections.

Arriving in Garrigill hot weary and footstore after stubling along rough mine tracks we discovered much to our chagrin, that the Pub was closed. Nothing for it, but to buy and icecream from the post office, which we ate stiing on the village green with the scent of the Lime trees reminding me how much later the seasons were, this far North. The lime trees in my garden had flowered a month earlier. Still muttering oaths about closed pubs we pressed on along the South Tyne River to Alston, where the hostel was almost the first building we came to.

Once again, there were only a couple of other people at the hostel, including an Alistair McGowan look-a-like who was cycling the Pennine Bridleway. After a conversation with him K siad “I thought you were going to start a fight with him”. Am I really that confrontational?

We wandered off for more Guinness, and found ourselves to be the only two out of towners in the pub. We remarked on the lack of PW’ers and were told that the numbers of people attempting it had fallen away sharply. It was our experience that there were sections that were so well used that major erosion control had been implemented (often using reclaimed stone from disused mills) and other sections that looked like they hadn’t seen a boot in years. The problem is that the PW is too long to be easily accommodated in a “normal” fortnight’s holiday without doing silly distances (as R&J were attempting to do). In the morning as we left Alston Tubbs looked out of a window behind a sign whih said “are you local?”

~ by @mmonyte on August 20, 2006.

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