Friday, February 23, 2007

Day 35 : Langdon Beck to Alston

Sunday 18th February 2007

Distance Walked: 16.7 miles
Start Time: 9:13
End Time: 14:17
Elapsed Time: 5:04
Weather: Perfect
Distance walked so far: 687.5 miles

The resistance starts here. From Langdon Beck the Pennine Way veers South West to encompass the delights of High Cup Nick, Dufton and Cross Fell, the highest point on the way itself. Though these are amongst the acknowledged highlights of the whole trek, the two days of intense walking in the wrong direction do not sit well with my ultimate goal, or with me, so instead I spend an enjoyable morning on the quiet lanes and tracks that skirt Cow Green Reservoir, heading directly for Alston, thus saving myself an extra days walking, and my legs from some unnecessary hills.

Alston claims to be the highest market town in England and, under today’s clear skies, it certainly feels like I’m walking in pure, mountain air. It’s liberating, too, to be free from the shackles of the Pennine Way, and safe from the moors that beckon on either side of the trail. Having scooted along the B6277, I drop down the valley and finally rejoin the Way at Garrigill from where it’s an easy few miles along the river to the “Pennine crossroads” of Alston.

This is clearly a popular place in season, with an astonishing number of pubs offering sustenance and accommodation. But it’s very much a stopping-off point. This is the heart of the Pennines, and from here it’s onwards into the remoteness of Northumberland and the Scottish border.

Song of the day:

Electric Light Orchestra
“Mr Blue Sky”

Sun is shinin’ in the sky /
There ain’t a cloud in sight /
It’s stopped rainin’ /
Everybody’s in a play /
And don’t you know /
It’s a beautiful new day

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