It rained pretty much all day today. Well at least until Alton. The camping shop had a little book shop so after 20 days of no reading before bed, i was reunited with a lame Jackie Collins book, probably the heaviest book I could find also. I always find its going to be a sad day when you have to start in a raincoat, but we had decided to ditch of the Pennine Way and take the easy nav, 12 mile flat disused railway to Alston, i don't think Becks enjoys these tracks but i didn' think it was too bad, the PW runs parallel but via the hills, so whenever i felt bored i looked up and thought 'yes, i'd rather be down here'. So many dead rabbits en-route today! They started to look almost like they were 100m markers, throughout the day though they started to get slightly more gruesome! We reached the half way point at Slaggyford when i discovered a litre of undiluted orange juice had spilt all over my bag. Lovely, the aroma of sweaty orange! The most annoying part was firstly iy was a new bottle,so a waste of moeny and secondly, my raincover had been on my bag protecting everything, so actually everything underneath the raincover was getting wetter then things out in the rain........ Becks was wondering what the smell was, she said she smelt it a mile or so back! It was my own fault i remember not screwing the lid on, but, it could have been worse, no one died.,
After Slaggford the PW joined our track, and i wish it didn't as it was a kilometer of boggy marshy horribleness, i was glad when it went back up on to the hill! The disused railway was looking a little less disused and slightly more used, walking up workmen were fitting new bits of rail and laying down the stones....slightly worrying though was as we approached Alton, a train was coming along the track.....we wee hoping the driver knew that the track was going to run out in about a kilometer or 2 time and there were no turning points! We were worried for everyone on board.
We arrived in Alston which we were told was a town with a serious lack of girls in it and Margaret was telling us there was a documentery on it a while ago, i think its regained now as all we saw was girls! We definatly outstayed our welcome at a very cute cafe called blueberrys, we brought a cup of tea each and stayed in there for near enough 2 hours, but it was very cosy inside, and very raining outside. Our friend from uni Mr.Luke Milner had rang us and said he wanted to come and meet us to stay the night and walk with us for the day, he would be the first person we would meet that we actually know! He was coming from Keswick so we decided we would push on to Garrigill 3 and a half miles away and would hopefully beat his to Garrigill with the tent set up and dinner on. Yeah right! Firstly the shop in Alston was the last for 2 days so we had to stock up which meant our packs were extremely heavy, and next, Paddy Dillon forgot to mention that unless you are superman/woman the next 3 and a half miles would be pure hell if you are carrying a heavy rucksack. Cheers Paddy.
This was definalty the longest 3 and a half miles of the trip so far, and was a complication of fields, rivers, styles, charging cows and style gates. In usual Jade and Becks style we deviated off the PW path (this time accidently) and ended up getting tangled in trees, nettles and brambles along the river, we knew we couldn't have been on the right path as it was so overgrown, as yes, we were on the wrong path so we had to crawl under barbed wire to get back on track, as with dead rabbit markers every 100m earlier in the day, we were now greeted with a range of styles every 100m! Some of the were monster steps, they must have been created by someone about 8 foot tall! The biggest hurdle however, wasn't until 200m away from Garrigull, so close we could see the road and village, we were both halfway through a field which looked empty, when out of no where galloped a heard of massive black cows. I love cows, but these cows were far too inquisitive for their own good, they lined up in formation like they had been practicing and gradually got faster heading towards us, i just said to Becks, turn around and walk very quickly out if this field! I shouldn't have turned round as i was jujst watching them gain on us, back over the style we went we were back to square 1 and now further away from the road. Booo.
Of course, it's never as easy as just find the road, we had to take a 20 miniute de-tour through bog, under an electeric fence, through a field with grass up to our hips and then over a drystone wall which fortunately led us on to the road! Luke rang us wondering where we were, we tried to explain we were almost stampeeded and would be there within about 2 minutes. We were so relieved to turn the corner and see his white van with Luke popping out! Very lovely to see him so to celebrate, we went to the pub for lemonade and limes all round! Luke brought us dinner and chicken and chips has never gone down so well, so Luke if your reading this, we both very much appreciated dinner! It got to about 10pm and realized that all systems had completely gone out of the window as we hadn't even thought about a place to sleep! However in the time it took Luke to have a wee, me and becks had managed to sort us out accomodation fot the night with a lovely oath of brass outside of the village hall with parking for his van and toilets open all night :) We couldn't let Luke sleep in his van so we had a very squashed and sweaty night with the 3 of us in our Vango 200 storm!