Trails and trials of the writer who walks
After some careful pebble-hopping that tested the waterproofing of my new shoes, I crossed the river this morning and set off north, finding, luckily, a footpath that led to a road from which I could get my bearings and rejoin the PW. I thought history was going to repeat itself when I found a large bull only metres from one of the stiles, but another walker had already told me the bull was harmless. I wished him a polite ‘good morning’, just in case.
If a single day could be said to be the highlight of this trek, today was it. Bellingham was the sort of town I could happily re-visit for a short break. My over-riding impression of Northumberland is its vastness. The hills are like dumplings, not big enough to obscure a long view of uninhabited forest and moor, on a grand scale that is more Scottish than English.
The afternoon was still and silent, with a windless clear sky. I lay down on a grassy clump for a while, closing my eyes to listen: a bee, a sheep, geese passing. When I finally roused myself, I collected enough water from a spring for my overnight needs (1 ½ litres, if I want a breakfast brew as well), and then the rolling hills were mine to choose from. Two cups of tea in perfect solitude, watching a perfect sunset seemed like the end to a perfect day.