Start: DUFTON. Finish: ALSTON
Wouldn’t normally have had breakfast at a Youth Hostel, no particular reason, but due to the circumstances last night at the pub in Dufton I decided I better get some food inside me before I attempted to climb over Great Fell and friends. Todays ascent is most definitely the greatest of all the days walking. After leaving Dufton the ascent starts pretty quickly. It’s not the steepest I’ve ever experienced but it was pretty hard going. The tops of the hills were still shrouded in cloud and I knew there wouldn’t be any chance of views. Once I reached the first real objective at Knock Fell the climbing seemed to ease off a little. It was fairly straightforward, the path was well worn and easy to follow. From Knock Fell you just head North West and pick off the hills one at a time, Great Dunn Fell, Little Dunn Fell and Cross Fell. There were some large monoliths approaching the summits and they seemed a bit eerie in the cloud but help with navigation. Just before I reached Little Dunn Fell it began to rain and the wind also picked, making it an unpleasant few kilometres. Didn’t even bother taking many photos, no point really, not much to see. I did sit at the magnificent shelter on Great Fell for a few minutes. After Great Fell I descended and once out of the clouds the views were magnificent. I quickly reached Gregs Hut, a mountain Bothy. I popped inside, had something to eat and drink and then read/signed the visitors book. Saw there was a JOGLE (John O’Groats to Lands End) walker, Dave who signed a couple of days ahead of me. Good luck Dave. After Gregs Hut I followed a good track all the way to Garrigill. It was typical that as I walked away the sky cleared of cloud and you could see all the hills for miles around. This really is a beautiful area. I expected there to be more at Garrigill, as it turned out there’s no facilities, the post office and pub both closed and displaying ‘For sale’ signs. I didn’t have a reason to stop, so just continued out of Garrigill and towards Alston. The next 5 kilometres simply consisted of walking through farm fields, avoiding the farm animals and climbing over stiles. I’ve had enough of this over the last few weeks and this wasn’t a great end to what was an enjoyable day. I managed to grab some provisions in Alston before heading to my Bed and Breakfast, the ‘Lyndhurst’. I would definitely recommend this to walkers for a night. This room was only £45 and consisted of a double bed, power shower, small lounge area and help yourself to the continental breakfast. Couldn’t fault the place, thank you to Tracy the owner. I’ve got to make an important decision tomorrow about my route, I’ll sleep on it.