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PeterS - United Kingdom Trails Journal - 2017

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Peter Shaw
City: Rancho Palos Verdes
State: Ca
Country: US
Begins: Apr 3, 2017
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Tue, May 30th, 2017

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 141
Journal Visits: 14,319
Guestbook Views: 238
Guestbook Entrys: 29

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Byrness Valley from Byness Hill

Day 52

The nice group breakfast came in helpful as the first section of the day was the steepest of the day climbing up Byrness Hill. It was about 700 feet vertical in less than half a mile and ran along the edge of a forest of conifers. At the top were some very nice views of the Byrness valley below. At this time in mid morning the weather was very nice - cool with scattered clouds. If only it had stayed that way.

The trail was now in the Cheviot Hills and for the most part ran along the England-Scotland border. There was a wire fence marking the border making navigation relatively easy. The trail stayed mostly on the English side although there were some incursions into Scotland, too many to keep track of. The terrain was typical moor - heather, moss and grass devoid of trees and bushes. There were rolling hills but nothing steep enough to be noteworthy. There were also lots of flagstones that took us over the soggy sections.
We did pass an old Roman fort but all that was left were the earthen banks that the sheep were grazing on. There was also a large military firing range but the trail went along its boundary edge, at least according to the map as there were just the occasional warning signs to remind us it was there.
As the afternoon wore on, the clouds got darker and darker and the wind strengthened significantly. About 2:30 pm, the rain started and lasted a couple of hours. It was quite heavy at times and fortunately the wind was mostly at our backs. We passed the two exit points where the rest of the hiking gang were going down to meet B&B shuttles either back to Byrness or forward to Kirk Yetholm. These were about the halfway point where we had planned to stop and camp. The only problem was the terrain was all moorland and all the flat spots we could find were too soggy to camp on. So we kept walking toward the highest point in the region, the Cheviot. There were some more commercial forests nearby which likely would have provided some camping opportunities but we would have had to bushwhack over the boggy moor to get to them. By now the rain had stopped but the wind was still very strong. When we started climbing I was getting resigned to going to the shelter and staying there the night. But halfway up the hill we found an area that was dry and mostly flat. It had very deep grass but we decided we could make this work. The wind was now very strong blowing in the 30 mph range with some stronger gusts. This made for some challenges putting up tents especially as the thick grass didn't provide much support for tent stakes. My stakes never reached the earth below but Howard's were an inch or so longer and they just managed to get some part in the dirt. I had to adjust the angle of the hiking pole that holds up my tent so that the front stake did not have too much load from the wind.
We had a cold dinner of sandwiches and believe it or not were in bed before 6:00 pm. My tent was flapping constantly in the wind and I never expected it to stay up given the stakes were not well anchored. But it did, fortunately. All this extra time was perfect for getting the journal up to date but I needed to make the phone battery last two days so I had to switch the phone off once we got set up. And although there was now some sunshine, I went to sleep.

Entry 56 of 58
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England Soiree

Hiking the South West Coastal Path, the Coast-to-Coast and the Pennine Way in England and a wee bit of Scotland.

 

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