Trails and trials of the writer who walks
After I got back, I learned that Great Dun is the second highest hill of the Pennine Way. The football thing is a station where they ‘listen and watch’ (not sure who ‘they’ are). Other walkers with longer legs who started out earlier (I only got to Dufton after 3 pm as day 1 was my travelling day) have made it from Dufton to Alston in one stretch but dusk overtook me not far from this ghostly orb and the wind howling in from the north west forced me to make quite a long downhill detour to get out of it. Somewhere between Great Dun and Little Dun, on the lee-side, I found a low wall and pitched behind it, tail into the wind, which seemed fine at the time but I then spent the whole night listening to the sides of the tent flapping like a trapped albatross, wondering if the tent pegs were all going to fly out.
Later the next day I met a man going the other way who had sheltered in Greg’s Hut. “You didn’t camp out in that wind did you?”
If you arrive, exhausted, at Garrigill, which is a charming village, be aware that nothing is open on Tuesday afternoon. Not even the post office who will make you a pot of tea when they’re open. A lady who runs a bed and breakfast near the village green took pity on me and came out to offer me a cuppa. I only declined because I had the means to brew my own. She asked after the gentleman I had met en route who spent the night in Greg’s Hut, as he had stayed with her the night before.
Greg’s Hut, by the way, is a basic shelter of four walls and a roof with a platform to sleep on. Cold running water is outside, pouring down the hillside.