Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Wednesday 10th September - NE of Elsdon to Clennell

Our very early night last night was interrupted somewhat by our being discovered by a herd of inquisitive cows. They nosed around for about fifteen minutes or so before accepting our presence on their patch and moving away. It was possibly an advantage that we were pitched quite close together which meant that they weren't tempted to wander between us.

It was quite a rough night but the tarp stood up well, although I went out at about 11pm to tighten everything up. With a tarp, I've found that it's essential to have the ridge line as taut as possible.

We mad an earlier than usual start at about 8.30 and made our way through Harwood Forest, quite a large area of conifer woodland. Although there was a footpath marked on the map, it rarely followed the line of the firebreaks. Instead, it weaved its way through the densely planted trees which would not have been easy to navigate. Therefore, with Howard and Frank's 1:25000 maps and superior skills of navigation, we covered the two miles or so until we emerged on to a cinder track which led us a further couple of miles through and out of the forest.

From there, we headed across moorland, eventually reaching and passing through the villages of Hepple, Sharperton, Harbottle (where the pub was shut) and Alwinton, beyond which is Clennell, which consists only of a caravan park and an hotel. The park's web site is out of date; it no longer takes campers and no amount of sweet-talking would sway them. The park wardens were none too bright and were slavishly following orders from the owner. We filled up our water containers without asking and went next door to the Clennell Hall Hotel. I went into the bar and asked if they could help three tired walkers and my innate charm and hang-dog expression resulted in permission to camp in a paddock in front of the hotel. No charge but, of course, they'd appreciate our custom in the bar this evening.

A few times it threatened to rain today but only a few spots fell now and then. The expected sun didn't appear but you can't have everything. Along the way today, we've seen the flattened grass and detritus, evidence of the level that the rivers rose over the weekend.


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