The riverside campsite in Haydon Bridge (picture) had been the best of the trip so far. I just had to remember not to step too far out the tent when going for a wee in the night.
I spent the next eight hours hacking northwest through lumpy and muddy bits of Northumberland. The whole county needs a really good iron. I didn’t realise quite how many sheep there were in this part of the world. I still don’t. Every time I tried to count, I started to fall asleep.
There was a lot of this sort of thing (picture): straight-line roads with no grading that consisted solely of ups or downs. I’d lubed all my gears this morning somewhere by Hadrian’s Wall. This proved a waste of time, because I only ever used the bottom one. I needed that for every climb, and the downhill bits were over before I could change up.
Lunch was in the pleasant historic town of Rothbury (picture), which is nevertheless bang up to date on things such as cafe prices.
Shortly after Wooler, the grey day turned into a glorious sunshine evening for my ride across the causeway to Holy Island (picture). The refuge is for people who get caught by the tide who then have to spend the night cramped with other people in a bare wooden box. Now they know how hostellers feel.
It was a beautiful, memorable experience, and nicely complemented my bumpy push across to St Michael’s Mount on Day 1. On the island itself (picture) I did what the early monks did so enthusiastically: contemplation; a bit of scribing; and supping a couple of beers watching the sunset. Sadly, I didn’t manage to get trapped by the tide in the Crown and Anchor.
Miles today: 79
Miles since Land’s End: 649