Distance: 17,9 km (11,1 mi) for a total of 1279,9 km (795,3 mi)
Ascent (ca.): 285 m (935 ft)
Weather: Rain with some interruptions, windy
The weather forecast was for heavy rain and Geoff had warned me that the descent to Garrigill was made up of my least liked terrain: stony to rocky. With the promised rain I assumed that this could take me a while for a safe downhill walk and as there was no reason to stay in the hut longer than necessary I left at 6:30.
Luckily, for the first hour it was only an extreme cold and biting wind so that the temperature felt near freezing. Visibility was poor as well, but the track in front of me was clear and couldn’t be missed. Overall, it wasn’t as bad as expected and even with being careful to not get into sliding I reached Garrigill in good time. That the wind was calming down at the lower levels and sometimes even blew from the back certainly also helped. Meanwhile there had been some showers, each one being longer than the previous one.
From Garrigill to Alston it was a fairly level walk which in better weather – by now it had changed to continuous rain in varying intensities – would have been pleasant, especially the part running on the bank of the South Tyne. But with all the rain the mobile stayed secure under the waterproofs, so no pictures.
In Alston I entered a nice looking cafe and spent a couple of hours there as it was much too early for the youth hostel. I would have used the time to pay the barber a visit, but alas, he was closed. Later I collected the parcel from the post office and walked back to the hostel. With the contents of the parcel and the pack sorted and clothes washed it was a quite successful day.
The only other guest in the hostel is Jim, who Geoff met in Middleton-in-Teesdale. Chatting the evening and discussing our respective further plans we’ve decided that we will try to walk together tomorrow. If it doesn’t work speedwise we can break up anytime. We’ve both opted for breakfast at the hostel at the same time which will help with a common start.