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Pennine Way
Alston to Dufton
Tuesday 26th August.
Day:6 - Distance:22 miles

Up and about for an early start. I am feeling better, but not brilliant. We quickly consumed breakfast, broke camp and headed out through the bottom of Alston. As we head out into the country side we passed more rusting metal and junk. Alston, Cumbria town twining with Channel 4's Scrap Heap Challenge!
The route of the Pennine Way follows the river from Alston to Garigill meandering for several miles through fields along the river bank. The weather was cool with a hint of rain in the air but moving quickly onward kept us warm.


We arrived in the village of Garigill around 9.00 approximately 90 minutes after leaving Alston. Garigill is a picture postcard English village with a wide main street and a village green. The post office come general store was open for business so we called in and found they did tea and coffee to take out. This sounded good so we ordered expecting to get hot drinks in plastic cups to go. What we got was a pot of tea, a pot coffee complete with china cups and saucers. Guessing that we were expected to return the crockery and pots after we had finished the contents we settled down at a table and benches on the green. The entertainment now began. First a car pulled up at the T junction opposite the post office and the driver got out and walked into the post office to shop leaving the car parked right in the middle of the road. Next the post van arrived at high speed and screeched to a halt outside the post office. The driver jumped out and ran into the post office with a sack of mail. The next arrival was the milk van which negotiated the grass to avoid the car parked in the middle of the road and then pulled up behind the post van. The driver of the post office van immediately reappeared from the post office, jumped into his van and reversed at high speed into the milk van. Smash. The post van driver jumped out explaining that he hadn't seen the milk van as it was not there when he arrived 2 minutes earlier. The milk van driver didn't appear to care to much as the damage to his vehicle didn't show up on the already bent and rusty paint work so the post man kicked the broken glass which has been his rear lights into the gutter and drove of at high speed swerving to avoid the car that was still parked in the middle of the road. We took a drink of our tea and coffee and laughed at the chaos going on around us. Within 2 minutes the post van reappeared form the bottom of the village. This time the driver was delivering post to the individual houses in the village. His technique was interesting. He jumped out of his van while it was still moving, delivered to 2 or 3 houses and court up with his van which had rolled to a stop by the last house he had delivered to. He then jumped back in his van and repeated the process. This went on all the way up the road until he had finished. This village is mad. We finished our drinks, returned the empties to the post office, put our packs on our backs and headed out of the village following the Pennine Way south west towards Cross Fell.

The Pennine Way climbs steadily up following a shooting track over the summit of Black Band and on to Pikeman Hill. The climb is not difficult and the dull cloudy weather kept us cool. The navigation was easy and we were setting a good pace. I think the rest day the previous day was helping us to move quickly.
From Pikeman Hill the route follows the contour for a mile or more around Long Man Hill. Again helping us to keep up the pace. On the right at the top of Cash Burn is a disused mine building which is extremely well protected and secure. Its probably advisable to stay away. The route now climbs up the lower north flank of Cross Fell on a rough track before turning west and following the 700 metre contour for a mile to the bothy known as Gregs Hut. This solid stone built shelter is maintained by the Bothy Association with room to sleep 20 or 30 people, a wood burning stove with a good supply of wood, and a spring providing water. As the weather had remained cold and gloomy during our mornings walking we took advantage of the bothy as a shelter for lunch and soon had the stove burning and the water boiling.


Fed and watered we set off for the second section of our days walk. The route continues westward for a half a mile before turning south south east up the flank of Cross Fell. A few minutes of rocky scrambling brought us onto the plateau of Cross Fell and into the clouds. Visibility was down to less than 20 metres and with no trace of the path on the ground the compass was required for navigation. The trig point on Cross Fell is a solid concrete block that we found easily before taking another bearing and walking east south east across the plateau and over the eastern flank of the fell to Tees Head which as the name suggest is the head water of the river Tees. The way now follows a well worn and in some parts well maintained flag path climbing up and over Little Dun Fell and on to Great Dun Fell. The top of Great Dunn Fell is given over entirely to the British Aviation Authority radar station. It great white dome loomed out of the mist and clouds as we drew near. The Pennine Way passes to the east of the radar dome and begins the final section of the days walk to Dufton.

One last climb for the day up on to Knock Old Man from the top of which you can get excellent panoramic views of the Eden Valley. As the weather had brightened and the cloud lifted we were fortunate to be able to see the views before we set off following the Pennine Way down the steep and rocky path to Dufton. We found it hard work descending and were happy to reach the track and bridge over Great Rundall Beck where the walking becomes easier. The final mile and a half through farmland brought us into the north end of the village from where we found the post office and picked up drink before walking on to the campsite at Dufton Hall Farm.


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