If you look at the blog for my previous leg on the Pennine Way, you will remember that at the end of that day, I walked from Great Chesters Farm to Haltwhistle (about 2 miles’ distance) to get my train. The previous day before this one, I spent at an AirBnB in Haltwhistle, and in the early morning of this trip, I got a taxi to Cawfields Lake very close east of the Farm. It was a beautiful sunny morning, glorious weather.
The first five miles were in the eastern direction continually along Hadrian’s Wall with stunning views of the surrounding countryside and a number of Roman settlement remains.
Caw Gap was just 1 mile from the Lake and just the first 15 minutes offered these gorgeous views:
The way was constantly rising and descending and the scenery, although as you can the morning fog was still in the process of lifting, was simply spectacular. The next two photos were taken near a place called Boogle Hole:
It was worth looking back to the west, too!
At Green Slack, I took this photo to the north of the wall. The serenity and the feeling of space here is difficult to describe.
A short distance to the south of the path, there are some villages with curious-sounding names Once Brewed and Twice Brewed! North of the former, the path descends to a road, crosses it and rises sharply up this fascinating formation that you see in the second photo below. No wonder it was places like this that Romans choose for their defensive settlements!
Now, it’s just about half a mile to Sycamore Gap (which is precisely what the name implies – a gap with a sycamore tree in it!), which you will see in a photo in this post a little later. First, have a look at the photos taken on the way there – the third one right next to Castle Nick, Milecastle 39 on Hadrian’s Wall. In that same third photograph you can also see Crag Lough in the distance.
Sycamore Gap is just before Crag Lough – it is really picturesque. A lady working in Haltwhistle at a cafe where I had had a meal the day before told me about it but it had not prepared me for how perfectly symmetrical the tree is positioned!
This was a great place to stop and have my first meal. The fog had lifted by now and it was sunny with lots of larger stones to sit on. There were a few people about, but it was really quiet and tranquil with a gentle breeze against my cheeks. A perfect day, really.
Once I moved on, it took a mere minute to ascend to a crag above the lough to fully appreciate it.
You can’t see it in the photo above but there was a small wooded area to the right of the lough as I was walking along it – once I have emerged from the trees, leaving the lough behind me, Pennine Way began turning north (thus leaving Hadrian’s Way). I turned back to the lake taking this photo of it:
Walking to the north now, I was soon between two other loughs – Greenlee Lough (to my left) and Broomlee Lough (to my right). After a short 1-mile gentle ascent and reaching a farm road (the first photo below is from that stretch), the way then descends sharply towards a very large wooded area to the north (Henshaw Common), a stark difference to the views from up on Hadrian’s Wall! On the descent down towards it you get to see Greenlee Lough.
Henshaw Common is to the right of here (you can see the wood just beginning where the little white house on the right of the photo is) – it’s clearly managed woodland, but it was very pleasant to be in and such a change in the natural world – from wide open spaces to the pleasant breeze of tree branches.
I made a stop on the edge of the forest; by now, the Way turned towards the north-east. After approximately 7.5 miles, I had done half the distance to Bellingham already. As you can see, a wide space opened before me – this was still only April hence the colour of the grass. You can see the forest in the background of the photo below – I was soon to re-enter it. This area seems to be called Haughton Common; the second photo down below happens to be one of my favourites of those taken on the Pennine Way – the superb contrast between the shaded grass within the walls and the brown vegetation beyond and the seemingly never-ending space – so beautiful!
I was soon back in woodland, this time called Haggyshaw Plantation:
The plantation was rather small and after about one mile’s walk, I climbed down out of the woodland to cross two roads, now walking north with the village of Stonehaugh to the west (my left).
Now, a sharp descent followed. After crossing a brook, Pennine Way turned north-east and passed two farms – Horneystead and Linacres. I was now in a farmland country – green fields peppered with grazing sheep and cows – and I remember one particularly steep field taking me to Shitlington Crags – the photo below is not of the Crags, but a view from just under them.
Once over the Crags, a view to Bellingham emerged “out of the blue”. Only 2 miles were left that day.
After another five or ten minutes, I reached B6320 and turned left, walking along the road to the north-west – this road leads to Bellingham – until I found myself on the bridge on North Tyne.
It’s not necessarily very easy to see, Bellingham is behind the trees on the river’s left bank here – this was the end of my trip on this beautiful day.
It was quite hot and I first walked to find a cafe for some lunch before heading over to my AirBnB just south east of the village. There were only two days left on the Pennine Way now – it was over to Byrness on the edge of The Cheviots the following day!
All images from this trip can be seen in the video below: