Monday, 8 September 2008

Monday 8th September - Stonehaugh to Bellingham

We spent part of last evening at the Stonehaugh Social Club, a wooden building dating from 1954, serving mainly the village but also open to campsite visitors. The "landlady", Moira told us about village life and I bought a booklet, "Stonehaugh - a forest village", written and produced to raise funds for a new village hall. This is in course of being built, a Finnish wooden eco building and ultra modern in how it will be heated and powered.

The village (and two others) were established in 1952 to house forestry workers but advanced production methods and mechanisation meant that fewer workers were required. Other residents moved in. The village is not for everyone - the only facility is the Social Club.

Saturday night at the Club was the annual leek competition and charity auction, one of the key events of the year. A fascinating and strange community.

The campsite at Stonehaugh is highly recommended. It's only a short way off the Pennine Way and ideal for those who can't face the final push to Bellingham.

Today was the first day for a week or so when we knew it wasn't going to rain. There was still a lot of water underfoot though.

We followed the Pennine Way up to Bellingham, a very uneventful seven miles or so. It was a short day as planned and we checked in at the Camping & Caravan Club site, Brown Rigg and also collected our resupply parcels which had been sent the week before last. Today we've had relatively light packs; tomorrow they'll be some 3kg heavier - most food for six days and, for me, 500ml of meths as well.

Worth mentioning here is my use of meths. I use a Mini Trangia and, hitherto, a 500ml bottle seemed to last no more than about three days. This trip I've left the Trangia burner at home and have been using a Varga Triad stove with the Trangia. It only weighs 1oz, a saving of 3oz. More to the point though, a 500ml bottle of meths has lasted ten days. That's ten cups of water boiled each morning and heating ten main courses and heating water for mash, spaghetti, etc., to go with it.

We've been into Bellingham and had pots of tea and bacon & egg rolls. I gave into temptation and had a knickerbocker glory.

Now it's hot showers and a bit of home cooked rehydrated food a bit later. The dehydrator has been a great success. Despite his denials, Howard looks as if he might get one soon as the food that Frank and I are eating is possibly more appetising than what he has been eating. He's not so likely to become a mobile blogger though!

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