Well, if I’m honest – I have no intention of doing a trek like this again.
I would if it were a leisurely holiday but not as a challenge. Not that I’m unfit or lack any mental strength.
The reason is because our trek across Northern England felt like a marathon – a race against the clock – and as a result some days passed in a blur. Furthermore, there were many places I would have loved to have lingered and savour the atmosphere.
Sure enough, we saw some sights we may well not have seen on any other given trip. And the weather was kind to us, too.
However, places like the North York Moors as wonderful as they were – more so given the abundance of ancient sites to seek and explore – I shall not be in any hurry to go back to. I have too many memories of pain and exhaustion from that part of the world. And the bogs and swamps were a nightmare to negotiate.
Granted, my route planning played a part in that but the place still leaves a bad taste in my mouth and that’s not from drinking the murky and peat ridden waters!
The Cleveland Hills were a wonderful surprise and I would’ve liked to have hung around that area for at least another day – instead of rushing through them in just a few hours.
But as soon as we made it past the Tan Hill Inn in North Yorkshire things soon picked up.
Though it was hard going underfoot, I’ll not forget the wild and remote nature of the land as we made our way to Nine Standards Rigg. What a place that was! The views were fantastic.
Another highlight and I suppose on reflection my favourite was the ascent and camp on Wild Boar Fell. A place I’m bemused to learn does not get a great deal of visitors. But this may change if the National Park boundaries of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales are extended.
A real gem of a fell with stupendous views to all points of the compass – the Lakes, the Yorkshire Three Peaks, Cross Fell and the Pennines, The Howgill Fells and the Irish Sea beyond. Perhaps the fine sunset had an influence, I don’t know.
But that evening was a special one and more so with the company of Eion and Yuri (what a place and time he had for his first wild camp!).
Mosedale Cottage in the Eastern Lakes was a delightful discovery – if a somewhat spooky place at night.
Then Great Moss and Eskdale in the Lake Distirct was another day I’ll remember fondly.
Yes, there are many memories I’ll cherish and too many to mention.
The sense of achievement and pride in raising money for Mountain Rescue is only now sinking in. In fact, currently my body has only just forgiven me for the punishment!
The journey we made, though not the official Alfred Wainwright route is one I’d suggest others should do, too. We arguably got to see more scenic places and gain a better sense of wilderness within these small isles than one ever could on the famous Wainwright crossing.
That in itself gives me a grin from cheek to cheek.
But looking back I can now see more clearly as a native of the UK how many travel writers rank a crossing of Northern England to be up there with the best in the world – and it does not surprise me with the number of foreign visitors we encountered.
Sure, some of it I or even we Brits take for granted – be it stone circles and bronze-age burial mounds, walls older than some countries, Norman manors and castles, Roman Forts and roads, small idyllic cottages with rose gardens, cozy county pubs and inns. Those alone helped emphasise the diversity we came upon on our trek.
It never ceases to amaze me how over hundreds or even thousands of years, man has shaped and tamed the wild uplands in the UK. Walking high on moors or rock and then 60 minutes later strolling along a country lane surrounded by lush greenery and civilisation!
And through it all the gear held good too.
I took along with me a 45 litre pack which did the job fine. Food, shelter etc were all in there.
The Be-Well freeze-dried food was the tastiest I’ve ever eaten.
I got by with only meths for cooking, the Laser Competition performed admirably as usual (I so love how small the tent packs down never mind it’s light weight and large porch when erected) and my Rab Top Bag did just the job.
In fact, I cant fathom why more sleeping bags are constructed in such a way (no insulation on the underside). It makes perfect sense and saves weight and bulk. After all, any down is compressed so null and void. Your sleep mat is what keeps you insulated from the cold ground.
And finally my Drinksafe Systems in-line filter for my hydration bladder performed extremely well. I was actually really surprised how well. It’s a much more practical and useful device than their Travel Tap.
So, all in all it was a trip to remember.
And what now?
Well, I’ll go back to my usual 2-3 night soirees into the hills with the video camera. And perhaps next year I may plan another long-distance trek elsewhere in Britain.
I feel embarrassed to say this – but I’ve yet to backpack in Scotland! I’ve visited the country before but not set foot out on the tops with my tent in my pack. There’s a place I’d love to take time out for.
It’s just before now I’ve been heading off to places that are not only closer to home but have just caught my eye.
I tend to explore every inch of a place I’m new to and milk it for all it’s worth – and then look elsewhere.
Not that I don’t go back, mind. Of course I do. The changing seasons alone make it worth re-visiting certain landscapes.
So, there we have it. Great trip, very tiring, went too quick but I won’t be doing any more marathon journey’s ever again!
I’d also like to thank all of you who have supported me and Eion in some way. Be it advice, meeting up or even your generous donation towards the cause.
It’s fantastic we’ve reached our target for Mountain Rescue England and Wales – I just hope I’ll never require their assistance anytime soon.
So, thank you all for your support and taking the time to read my posts.
I hope you too felt like you were part of it and maybe even think of doing something similar if you haven’t done so already. And if you have? Perhaps it brought back some fond memories.