Walking The Walk: Harlow Hill to Chollerford

Setting off from camp
Photo by Iain Sewell

Earplugs and a warm snuggly duvet meant a decent nights sleep for us! It was another cold and frosty morning: definetly hat and gloves weather. It didn’t take long for the day to warm up into another beautifully sunny day. The layering of clothing became an essential skill on this adventure.

After both porridge and a fry up, we all gathered and, again, left a little later then planned, at about 0900. It was essential to start early to avoid walking in the dark again and, even though we would be doing a shorter walk, it was likely are pace would be slower with the strain from the first day.

Our first stop was at The Robin Hood in to collect another stamp in our National Trail passports. Unfortunetly, somebody at decided to either move or steal the ink stamp and ink pad from the wooden box just outside. Helpfully, as we scratched our heads for what to do about this, the landlady pulled in. Apparantly, this happens each time it is replaced so somebody out there must have a fine collection! She signed our passports anyway and after I’d retied my boots and popped some zinc oxide tape on hot patches, we set back off.

Much of the days walk was along paths adjacent to Military Road which was flat, though gave us not much to see. There’d been a brief walk through a dark wood complete with many toadstalls and muddy patches where Kel was having fun with his camera.

Lunch by the roadside
Photo by Iain Sewell

Lunch had to be improvised slightly as we were not at the stop which we’d hoped for in time and even then we ended up lunching at 1500. Slow progress was down to tiredness from previous day and more issues with blisters and boots which were better dealt with at the time rather then stopping later. I’d not had any issues with frictions, but I was definetly getting achey feet.

We ended up having lunch in the wide entrance to a long driveaway down to some houses set a long way back, so far back that one of the occupants drove their to collect his daughter from the school bus and was most put out we’d parked in his spot!

Over a style
Photo by Gary Kelso

The afternoon saw us walking through a number of fields with cows and sheep on a gentle downward slope. We came across another section of wall too. At this point we’d seperated into two groups again though the distance became a bit further. Though my feet were giving me fair amount of pain at this point, I knew we were getting close to our campsite so had decided it was better to speed up and sit sooner!

We followed the main road which inclined down to Chollerford and the Tyne. One could not help but notice the rather large hill of the road going out of Chollerford either! Once we’d crossed the river, possibly the widest bit of river I have ever seen, we came to the campsite over the other side, next to a weir. Thankfully, the running water was soothing rather then annoying.

Further down the Tyne
Photo by Gary Kelso

Sam, Kel, Dave, Jane, Sara and myself were in the first group back. Sam, currently being an army man, and Kel having once been in the army, decided to ‘drill’ us with a range of stretches which is probably what I really needed to do after day 1. I’d wondered if walking on tarmac for so long had impacted my feet which is why they were so sore.

I took advantage of the site facilities and ran off to have a much needed shower. Susie had brought a travel hair dryer so I didn’t have my usual worry of my long hair staying damp and keeping me cold overnight.

The marquee hadn’t been quite ready when we arrived, with the chaos of the late lunch but also with a fairly early arrival. It turned out that our walk should have gone on for another 3 or so miles up that hill out of the village! Ant, Andy and Drew decided to go ahead and do the miles so we could start at the top for tomorrow. I don’t remember exactly how long it took them now but it was quick!

Sam and all having dinner. Nom!
Photo by Gary Kelso

After dinner, we stayed up a bit longer. Iain and Kel got out there guitars and had a bit of a sing along. Since I really needed to take the weight off my feet, I was one of the first to head to bed. The fire/seating was in the same marquee as the bed sections so I put in earplugs and pulled my hat over my eyes so I could doze without disturbance. Apparently, when Sam decided to join me, he/we got serenaded by a certain Tenacious D song. It would go on to become a bit of an anthem for the walk after that!

Estimated mileage for the day: 10 miles.