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Pennine Way
Brown Rigg to Twice Brewed
Saturday 23rd August.
Day:3 - Distance:24 miles

We were greeted by a beautiful Brown Rigg sunrise around 06.15. It was cool at only 2C or 3C and I wore both my fleece and jacket for warmth whilst walking around camp. There was no running water imediatly to hand and as we had at least 1 litre left I decided not to walk down through the wood in search of water but to wait until we found the next suitable source. We decided to start the days walk before breakfast and so broke camp and were moving by 07.00. As we were now clear of the forestry area the horizon expanded in all directions and we could see back to The Cheviot some 20 miles behind us.

We stopped for breakfast about 08.00 having covered 3 miles. Breakfast was our usual mixed cereal/granola with milk re-hydreated from freeze dried powder. Calorific value around 600. The wind was gusting but with the sun shining the morning seemed good and I shook the tent dry in the breeze. The tent weighs 1.2 Kg when dry but considerably more when wet. Drying the tent and therefore keeping the extra weight out of my pack was worth 2 minutes of my rest time. We pressed on after our breakfast break following the rolling hills onwards towards Bellingham.
After another hour of walking we met a girl who was north bound on the Pennine Way, walking alone with a heavy pack (20Kg plus) and struggling. We stopped and chatted for a few minutes. She had obvioulsy covered 220 of the 260 miles total distance with this load, but was interested in our lighter weight approach to the walk. After our short stop we set of again with a spring in our step with Bellingham now just an hours walking away.
The route into Bellingham picks up a farm track at Blakelaw farm which in turn leads down to the public highway and on into the town.
The town is a typical borders market town with a market square surrounded by small shops. We got the water bottles filled by a helpfull young lady in the bakery shop and sat for few minutes in the market square which was busy with visitors. This was August bank holiday weekend and numerous visitors from Newcastle were spending the weekend in Bellingingham many wearing the black and white Newcastle United football club colours.
We picked up our packs and found the route out of town following the road bridge over the river North Tyne and continuing on along the road for a further mile until we found the footpath leading south into open country. This is one of the very few places on the Pennine Way were road walking is required.

The path was indistinct but climb up the hill ends at the TV transmitter mast so its easy to find the route. Once over the top of the hill its an easy walk through Shitlington crags and on to Houxty Burn where stopped for lunch and to filter drinking water for our water bottles. We took an hour break over lunch, cooking up a good pasta lunch and washing, drying and airing our feet. When you are walking 25 miles a day with a 20 pound pack Foot maintainence is very important.

Rested and well fed we packed up our packs and carried on. The country side in this area is rolling fields and hedgerows. The sun was shining and the temperature was rising quite quickly. The Way picks up a queit country lane for the next kilometer with a fairly sharp climb over the crest before turning right to the old house at Lowstead. We were greeted at the house by 2 bouncy hounds who seemed please to see us. The Way goes directly through the gardens at Lowstead and winds through the fields and farms to Warks Burn. The climb down to and out of burn is steep and even in the dry weather was a muddy scramble.


The Way carries on southwards across open country and into the forest at Stonehaugh. The shade was a welcome relief from the high temperatures. As we were not going to camp at Stonehaugh we carried on passed the farm at Willow Bog and deep into the forest. The Way is well maintained through the trees with recent re-construction work supported by European grant funding. The route breaks out of the trees into open moorland for a mile long section across Hawkside and then back into the trees for a further 2 miles. Its 17.30 and we were beginning to tire a little as we have covered 21 miles in the day so far and we had a further 4 miles to cover so we took a break and topped up with some carbohydrate intake. We were carrying a carbohydrate sports drink in powdered form which we re-hydrated a half litre at a time. Carbohydrates in this liquid form are converted quickly in to glycogen for use by the muscles. This gives a boost at the end of a long day. We had now covered the first 50 miles of the way and I felt we had something to celebrate.



Looking to the horizon we could see Hadrians Wall in the distance as we walked on. 30 mins later after a steep climb we were on top of the wall looking south into England and the Northern Pennines and Northwards to the Cheviots. We headed westward along the wall in the direction of our planned end point for the day. The wall rises and falls steeply so at the end of Crag Lough we climbed down from the wall and picked up the road for the last 2 miles into Twice Brewed. We were extremely tired by now. We had been walking for 13 hours and had covered 25 miles when we finally arrived at the camp site at Winshields farm. We were greeted with a cheery welcome from the farmer who owns the camp site and we quickly set up the tent, got our evening meal cooked, and enjoyed a hot shower. The camp site was very busy with weekend campers enjoying the holiday weekend. BBQ's and parties carried on around the site apparently late into the night but we were both asleep before the sun had set.



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