Thursday 11 June 2015. I forgot to say that yesterday, for the first time this year, I was able to go walking wearing only shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. Today was even hotter and is now bordering on being too warm for comfortable walking. The shorts were on again, not a pretty sight but practical.

My first thought for today’s walk was to tackle Cross Fell: the highest hill in England outside of the Lake District at 2,930ft but this would have meant doing an out and back route of over 15 miles. I thought again and scaled my ambitions down to something more manageable with a walk from Alston following the River South Tyne towards Garrigill. The free car park in Alston was at the top of this small market town and I made my way down to the river along the cobbled main street, passing the 17th century butter cross. My route initially followed the east bank of the river before breaking away for a while to cross numerous small fields with a style at each boundary wall.

By the time that I reached Bleagate farm I decided that I’d had enough and the stretch to Garrigill would have to wait for another day. I hadn’t slept well, despite the exertions of yesterday and had been up since 5am. My energy levels were low and the pain in my left ankle had returned. I say returned, but it hasn’t gone away since the trip to Wales and today it was more painful than usual. The footbridge across the river just to the west of Bleagate gave me an opportunity to cut the walk short which I was thankful for. The return route which followed a small country road also meant that I didn’t have to contend with the styles encountered on the outward leg.

Had I carried on to Garrigill then the walk would have been over 9 miles. My curtailed route was just 5.25 miles with only 500ft of ascent and was more than enough for me today.

Alston – walk route

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