Trails and trials of the writer who walks
I feel a bit guilty that I’ve skipped Greenhead altogether and continued on the South Tyne trail after Alston, heading for Haltwhistle, but this route has lots of plus points. One of them is crossing the magnificent Lambley Viaduct.
Another is the cosy pub just visible to your right when you cross one of the roads en route. At a distance it appears closed down, but I’m so glad I made the effort to check. It’s just the place for friendly chat in front of a roaring fire.
And a third plus, is being able to finish the day with a long soak in a real bath. Herdinghill Farm campsite, on Shield Hill above Haltwhistle, charges nearly double the normal back-packer rate, but, hey, where else can you find a shower block with underfloor heating, mood music, mixed sauna … and baths! Two large cubicles at the end are entire bathrooms with sink, toilet, bath and shower. It’s lovely and warm in there, with plenty of soap and free hairdryers (so you can dry your socks too). Hell, I’m not going to pay £10 just for a patch of grass and a couple of loo flushes, so I went for a good long soak, with my £6.99 bottle of wine decanted into a saucepan (trying to look as though I was just going to scrub a few pots on the way back but on the other hand it might have appeared that I was the sort of person who did my washing up in the bath).
It was some kind of astronomy night on the campsite too, although sadly too cloudy for much success. Two gentlemen in a trailer tent had set up a large telescope which they demonstrated and offered to any curious children and parents. In the last hour or so I’ve transformed from grumpy old lady (‘how much!’) to mature mellow (‘nice here innit?’). Must be something in the water. Wine?