The Pennine Way, 1983

Day 13: Bellingham to Chew Green, Tuesday, 9th August

19.3 miles in 10hrs 25 mins (09:10-19:35). Cool, low cloud. very hot afternoon.

Accommodation: Chew Green

Bellingham – Lough Shaw – Whitley Pike – Padon Hill – Redesdale Forest – Byrness – Byrness Hill – Houx Hill – Ravens Knowe – Chew Green

I woke at 07:30 and didn’t feel at all hungry after last night’s fish and chips. But I still managed to get through a breakfast of 6 hotdog sausages accompanied by a tin of spaghetti and two croissants (such decadence!). Richard wanted to try to get to Lamb Hill tonight, but lack of water and general opinion favoured Chew Green as the rendezvous.

The big blister on my left heel started hurting again (another blister had developed I was to discover later), but Kirk Yetholm was getting that much nearer. I had a luxurious lunch of two more croissants with cottage cheese before we tackled the last and longest forest stretch through Redesdale. This we managed in very good time, at about 4mph, but then the walk along the river to Byrness was like walking through a jungle.

We took a long rest at Byrness filling station for a meal, but had to go down to the village to get supplies for the final day as the shop at the filling station was not too good. All the others arrived eventually (Pat and Ivan last, of course), and then we gradually all set off for Chew Green. The climb up the forest ride from Byrness is rather steep, probably the steepest bit on the whole Pennine Way, but tired legs and sore feet finally got us to Chew Green (via the “short cut” along the fence, which was, thankfully, dry) where we pitched in Scotland for the first time. All the group had got back together by about 20:00: there were seven tents in all. After a bit of food and drink, it was down to lounging around outside, with entertainment provided by a few recitals of “Pennine Way Blues” (vocals by Ivan, lyrics by Pat) until it got too cold. There seemed to be an awful lot of spiders about the place – not least inside my tent!