Trails and trials of the writer who walks
Another gloriously sunny day was marred only by the need to walk through interminable miles of pine trees. Kielder Forest must be the size of a small county and I see nothing aesthetically pleasing about these conifers, jammed together to ensure nothing else can thrive in their inky depths. They are like death blankets draped over the hills. I was glad to be done with that section.
One cheery sight in the forest, though, was that of waxcap mushrooms growing on the edges of the darkness. These large, scarlet caps stand on snow white stems and look as though they have been painted into the scenery by children.
Today I passed a sign after Byrness (no pub, no shop) which told me ‘Only 24 miles of Pennine way left!’ which was encouraging, but they forgot to mention there would be almost no water within that 24 miles. I’d noticed this morning, even in the forest, that four hours had passed between water sources. I plodded on, further than my intention, to an area called Chew Green where the map showed footbridge and ford. At this location, grassy ridges delineate a Roman fort which is marked on the map. Just before the fort, near a stile, I came across a spring, so I camped near the fort in one of my ‘dingly dells’. A windy night at least meant a dry tent in the morning – no condensation.