Distance: 39,3 km (24,4 mi) for a total of 1375,4 km (854,6 mi)
Ascent (ca.): 1265 m (4150 ft)
Weather: Rain until the early afternoon, then clearing up
Our plan was to take as much of a bite from the stretch Byrness to Kirk Yetholm as possible this day to put us in a good position for tomorrow. But as the bakery in Bellingham was recommended to us and only opens at 6:30 we finally left the town at seven. It was raining and this wouldn’t change for the hours to come. At least it wasn’t as heavy as promised.
Plodding over fields and then open land soon got me wet feet and this wouldn’t change for the rest of the day. After crossing a road Jim headed along a path leading a bit west whereas the PW would have run more to the east. This brought us some heather-bashing and navigational challenges in the fog when trying to regain the trail, but we managed just fine.
When reaching a road running between Whitley Pike and Padon Hill we switched to the bad weather alternative along this road and later a forestry track. The PW joined this track later, but to be honest: this forestry track was as boring as these tracks tend to be. So the best thing to say about it is that it brought us to Byrness quite fast.
Reaching Byrness we tried to find a place for some tea or coffee, but as we didn’t want to detour too far from the route we didn’t walk the road up all the way. Out of Byrness we encountered one of the most slippery, muddy sections of the walk so far. Going up Byrness Hill we were asking ourselves if we were following a path or a stream. And scrambles over wet boulders with the big pack aren’t really my notion of fun.
But we managed to get up and by that time even the rain stopped and the sky cleared to reward us with some beautiful views.
We made our way along the ridge with only minor ups and downs until Coquet Hill. Here we chose the alternative route cutting out Chew Green as it shortened the remaining way to our intended destination.
The PW still more resembled a stream than a footpath and because of that it was hard and slowly going. But finally we arrived at the refuge hut below Lamb Hill and made ourselves as comfortable as possible. Tomorrow will see us in Kirk Yetholm.