The Pennine Way, 1983

Day 6: Horton to Hawes, Tuesday, 2nd August

15¼ miles in 6hrs 25 mins (09:05-15:30). Sunny start. Cold wind on Cam High Road. Sunny evening.

Accommodation: Hawes £1

Horton – Cam Highways – Kidhow Gate – Cold Kell Gate – Gayle – Hawes

There are early risers on the campsite: I got woken at 06:40. I did manage to sleep better last night: it must have been either the Guinness or the fact that I was sleeping north-south for the first time on the trip! On getting out of the tent, I saw another Caravan Trip 2 not far away – that’s the one and only time I’ve ever seen another one.

This was not a good day. The walk along the Cam “highways” was extremely boring and the weather was not too warm. I felt sick all morning, and it seemed that the Guinness was repeating all the time. So, the moral is don’t drink out-of-date Guinness – or, at least, remember that July 1983 may not be a particularly good vintage. I led most of the way from Old Ing farm because I wanted (a) to try to walk off the nausea, (b) to get to the snap spot at Kidhow Gate as soon as possible, and (c) to get past the psychologically boosting 100 mile point. The long morning finally ended with snap, sheltering from the wind by Cold Keld Gate. Two girl teachers (Paula and Gill, from Morpeth) who we’d met in the pub the night before were also there, and seemed to spend most of their time farting and giggling. We all had a snooze for half an hour – it had been that tiring (or boring).

A new blister had appeared under the hard skin below my right heel. I popped that and one under my left toes: both were painful, and even walking in trainers was difficult.

I cooked a “meal” again at night: horrid gristly, mangly, Spar “Chunky Beef” with potatoes and peas. I felt a bit low again, and doubts crept back about whether I’d be able to complete the walk – we were still 30 miles and two days from the half-way point, and it seemed there was some new ache or pain every day! And the campsite was a bit of a rip-off at £1. And the thought of tackling Shunner Fell the next day using feet in the sorry state that mine were getting into…

We went to the Marstons pub (three shandies for me), interspersed with a trip to the fish shop. Everyone else but us had gone to the Theakstons pub and had got rather drunk. This included Norbert, who, in one of his moments of madness, decided to buy a drink for all the Pennine Way walkers there – this cost him about 20 drinks! I left Richard and Sally in the pub so that I could get an early night, and was accosted by a very drunk Ivan, who then took his free pint from Norbert over to the Marstons pub! It took me a while to get to sleep again – mainly because Pat, Ivan, and Dave decided to have a peanut butter orgy. This eventually quietened down when, in the interests of international harmony, Dave went off to see if he could interest a party of German tourists in the remnants of his peanut butter jar…