This penultimate day on the Pennine Way started early, about 7.30am. I was staying outside Bellingham at an AirBnB, so I walked back the 15 minutes to the village, where the local Co-Op was already open. Got some sandwiches and other sustenance and had my meal on bench outside before properly setting off.
The day was beautiful and sunny, and strangely warm for what was only April. A steep road up took me out of Bellingham north to White Hill where it turns left. I turned back to look back on Bellingham now well down below.
I kept pressing north and higher up, having already walked up the elevation of approx 400ft from Bellingham. Now, walking through pastures, it was completely quiet, short of the occasional baaing of sheep.
After another two mile or so of walking through pastures gradually giving way to just grass and very narrow path, I reached Hareshaw House, which Pennine Way goes past. The view below is from near Hareshaw south back towards Bellingham.
Now, the path goes south of Hareshaw House and then skirts back to the north towards B6320. No cars anywhere in sight – what opened up now was a massive area with views for a few miles in every direction. This is Northumberland National Park.
The photo of the sheep I took just a few steps after crossing the B-road. What followed for the next few miles as I climbed up towards the moorland you see in the background of the photo above was what I call a soul-nourishing experience: breeze, complete silence and seemingly never-ending 360-degree views.
The following photos are from Lough Shaw and the way leading to Whitley Pike.
This place, after 7 miles of walking, was an amazing place to sit down, take it in, practically meditate, and then take a drink of water and eat some more of my food. I hope you can appreciate the wildness of this area from the photography.
Slowly, the gentle climb stops and a long descent begins with overwhelming views accompanying the walker.
The forest you seen on the left of the photo above is the absolutely enormous Kielder Forest stretching for quite literally miles to the west (to the left in the photo). Pennine Way only runs through its easternmost portion and, unfortunately, there was some forest management going on at that time and a large portion of what I was going through was cut down, some of which you can see in the second photo below.
Soon I was on a wide and comfortable road now descending quickly towards the north (practically all this was was to the north). Wonderful views of the Cheviots to the north of me came into view – this was where I would be walking on the following day, my last day on the Pennine Way.
Eventually, after 3 miles of walking down the forest, the way descends to Blakehopeburnhaugh (just one house if memory serves)
Now, it was just an easy 2 mile walk along the peaceful River Rede to Byrness. It got very hot suddenly – typical of climbing down from high up to lower elevations.
The last half a mile offered a lovely shade from the forest’s trees before crossing over a bridge and briefly following A68’s pavement to my destination.
Forest View Walkers Inn in Byrness Village simply has to be mentioned. Of all the places I stayed at during my walking of the Pennine Way, the hospitality, kindness and friendliness of the Joyce and Colin at the Inn was simply amazing. This is an inn serving walkers in particular – there was a place to put the hiking boots, great advice given for the next day. Colin also asked that if I were to be in any trouble in the Cheviots (very long 28 miler on the next day), I should let him know. It was really such a treat staying there. And the garden was good too!
All images from this trip can be seen in the video below: