16th August – Dufton to Alston

20180816 Looking back at Cross Fell
Cross Fell

Thursday

Today was a big day, over 20 miles and 1070m of ascent, to get over Cross Fell, at 893m the highest point on the Pennine Way.  Yesterday walkers had turned back because of the high winds.  Luckily, thanks to Alan and Katy providing up to date weather forecasts, I found that there was a window of opportunity between 10-12 before 40 mph winds and rain arrived.

I left Dufton at 7.10 and almost immediately began the first climb of the day.  I crossed Great Rundale Beck, via a clapper footbridge and came upon a large black bull which took rather too much notice of my progress, but eventually decided he would let me pass unmolested.

20180816 Swindale Beck
Swindale Beck

The way continued up to cross Swindale Beck, before arriving at Green Fell (794m).

20180816 Looking west from Green Fell
Looking west from Green Fell

From here the path crossed a bog, before reaching a flagged path leading to the road to the radar station on Great Dun Fell.  By this time the wind was getting up and storm clouds were racing in from the west.

20180816 Approaching radar station on Great Dun Fell
Approaching the radar station on Great Dun Fell

I had left Dufton following an Australian lady, and we had swapped places throughout the morning, as one or other of us stopped for a rest.  She led over Great Dun Fell (848m), and having crossed a col, stopped at the shelter on Little Dun Fell.

20180816 Little Dun Fell with Cross Fell on skyline
Little Dun Fell with Cross Fell on the skyline behind it

By now it was raining so we donned our waterproof trousers and decided that it would be sensible to keep one another in sight until we reached the track, leading to Greg’s Hut bothy, on the other side of Cross Fell.

Heading up into the mist we reached the intermediate cairn and followed a bearing to find the summit cairn.  Another quick bearing led us safely out of the murk and the crossing was complete.  In truth it had been quite easy.  I have to confess that this is the first time I have climbed Cross Fell.  10 years ago I could not find the summit, in much worse conditions, and must have traversed round until I picked up the path down.

 

20180816 Moors beyond Greg's Hut Bothy
The moors beyond Greg’s Hut bothy

I stopped for a while at the bothy and then walked down the track to Carrigill. The track was being remade, to allow vehicles to access the moor for shooting, and the walk out was long and tiring.  At Carrigill my colleague and I were looking forward to some tea, so it was a disappointment that the pub was closed.

A quick look at the map enabled us to follow a parallel track and we arrived at Alston at 4.45.

20180816 Dufton
Alston

Once again I was the only person in a dormitory for eight.  After a shower and sorting out all of the wet kit, I went to the Cumberland Hotel which provided a substantial meal.  Then I had an early night.

16th July – Cheddar to Gordano Services

20180716
King John’s Hunting Lodge, Axbridge near Cheddar

Monday

A much better day than yesterday as it was marginally less hot, with a cooling breeze at times. The route was also more interesting.

I left the rest of the hostel occupants sleeping and crept out at 6.45.

20180716 tunnel on the Strawberry Line trail
Approaching the tunnel on the Strawberry Line Trail

Knowing the Mendips quite well I did not see the need to go up the gorge and climb over Beacon Batch. I took the more obvious route following the Strawberry Line trail to Yatton. That way I got 11 miles done before having a late breakfast at 10.30 in the Strawberry Line cafe at Yatton Station.

Sitting at the station I remembered that in 1978 I caught the early train from there when I first moved to Debenhams. Instead of putting me up in a hotel in London they agreed to let me travel First Class each day. I was only an Assistant Buyer. How the job market has changed.

20180716 Kenn Moor road
The (Kenn Moor) road goes ever on…

From Yatton I followed the 3.5km straight of Kenn Moor Road and then took to the fields along the drainage ditch to the Blind Yeo before emerging onto the B3130. All easy walking except for a slight altercation with an over-friendly herd of cows and their big friend.

20180715 Some locals who shared their field with me
Some of the locals who shared their field with me

I was looking forward to some tea, at the cafe at Golden Acres Nursery and Fruit Farm, only to find the whole site derelict and abandoned. Fighting my way through brambles and vegetation I managed to find the exit from the site and continued up to Cadbury Camp.

From there to Clapton Court was a nightmare trying to force my way along a path which was so overgrown I almost had to go on hands and knees to get through at one point.

I stopped for a drink at the Black Horse at Clapton in Gordano before reaching the hotel at the motorway services at 3.45. Just after I arrived there was a heavy shower of rain!!

The hotel is undergoing renovation, so it is cheap, and I can get a subsidised breakfast tomorrow at Harry Ramsden’s.

Tomorrow I cross the Avon and head for Aust.

The Problem with Farmers

I should state initially that I quite like farmers and think that they mainly do a good job managing the countryside.  However some are not so good.  Today I was trying to use footpaths, ie public rights of way, to get to Port Isaac only to find huge cereal fields crossed by a public right of way which the farmer had totally ignored.  I was left with a choice of extending my walk or ploughing through his wheat.  I am a country boy so I walked round.  The next field was the same except that the headland was head height in weeds, which incidentally covered a lot of his crop.  I had no chance of finding the stile and footbridge.  Eventually I fought my way through and decided it was too much of an effort so I walked up the roads.  This is obviously what the farmer wants. “Don’t want no people on Moy Land!”

On another farm the path was perfect.

017 That's the way to do it
That’s the way to do it!

Later, coming along the Coastal Path, one of the most popular walking routes in the country, I and all the other walkers were faced with cows and calves accompanied by two bulls.  The farmer may know that old Billy is a real softy but personally I would prefer him not to be standing on my path.  Surely we could at least be told “Bull in Field”. Several walkers had dogs and were quite concerned.

Farmers have rights but so do we the public.