Going the extra yard

Music played a large part in what was the most exhilarating day of the walk so far. I was due to be staying at the Angel Inn in Alston so the first of three phases of approximately equal length, a flat and straightforward spell of quiet roads, was perpetuated by me humming or singing quietly tunes with ‘angel’ in the title. Eurythmics, Tavares, Aerosmith, Showaddywaddy and Roxy Music all got an airing. No, Robbie Williams didn’t.

Phase one concluded in Melmerbury with a cream tea. Phase two always looked the toughest, confirmed on sight of this sign


but the climb was very gradual and not at any time particularly steep. However, it was still some achievement to reach the top,


and In the space of an hour and a half the altitude had increased by three feet. I found music again that was almost all The Beatles. Obviously, The Long and Winding Road described everything, but I had plenty of others by the Fab Four in my head. I was ecstatic when I reached the summit, feeling almost smug with the surprise at how little difficulty I found in the climb. Humming Fool on the Hill (!) I had a lightish lunch of a toasted cheese sandwich and another pot of tea.

Phase Three was a very steady downhill during which I became both nostalgic and emotional as songs from the time Pammy and I started going out came into my head. In particular, the walking was helped by the rhythmical Killer (Adamski/Seal) and Blue Monday (New Order) and a whole set by Bryan Adams. I was realising how much I am missing Pammy and I’m not ashamed to say I did get a lump in my throat. But I also saw some stunning views to my right – yes, snow!


Despite the descent, Alston is apparently the highest market town in England. It also gives the least warning for roadworks:


A super day. I have had ambitions to repeat this whole walk when I am 75 in order to be the oldest ever to do Land’s End to John O’Groats on foot, but I realise that would be virtually impossible for me. However, I would just love to do this day again at some time, with Pammy if possible. 16 miles, total now 579.


2 thoughts on “Going the extra yard

  1. Last time I was in Alston it felt high, remote and very cold. On the cusp between Weardale and Cumbria and very much in the northern Pennines and heading towards the Scots border. Great progress!!! And your mood clearly very positive too!!! All best, Chris

    • As I came into Alston, it started to snow, but not settling. It is remote here; for three days even the ‘main’ roads are not busy at all and very easily walkable. Has helped a lot in being able to take the shortest possible routes.

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