When I arrived at Brunswick House yesterday I thought it looked quite nice, but after a bad night’s sleep in a squeaky bed and bad pillows, in the cold light of day the place wasn’t quite all it was trying to be. The room hadn’t been hoovered properly, all the fixtures in my bathroom were loose, so much so I daren’t touch them, and the list goes on. Is this the inner hotel inspector in me finally coming out after nearly two months on the road, or am I just getting a little too harsh in my criticisms Things got even worse at breakfast this morning. I went down not feeling too hungry after a large dinner and some beer last night but I can’t walk without breakfast so I had a yoghurt, some juice and ordered the usual full English. What came out was an overcooked mess. I swear the sausages had been cooked once before and then just reheated as they were as hard as rock! I struggled through as much as I could but it really wasn’t going down well at all. I have no idea what everyone else though of it but they seemed to be eating it ok. I won’t be going back there in a hurry that’s for sure!
While in the pub last night I bumped into the chap I’d met on the moor after Tan Hill the other day. He – Jim – was also staying in the youth hostel so we strolled along the road chatting. When I asked him if he was walking the Pennine Way for a holiday he told me that he was actually getting paid for walking it. He was asked by a publisher to walk the route and to check a guide book to make sure it was ok. Not a bad job if you like walking. Jim also told me that he’d spent a few nights in his bivi bag out in the open, doing four nights on the trot at one point! This wasn’t something he’d recommend me doing on my walk and to be honest it’s not something I’d like to do ever!
I definitely drank too much last night but, seeing as today was a day off, I wasn’t too bothered. That said I woke up this morning with a little bit of a thick head so I was very pleased I wasn’t walking. For the first time in quite some time I actually went down for breakfast on my day off. I seem to have gotten into the habit of just lying in bed all morning on my days off but I knew I had some work to do today: yesterday’s blog post needed to be finished off and I had accommodation to book for the next couple of days. With that in mind I knew I couldn’t just sit around and do nothing all day.
I’m pleased to say that taking a break from the beer last night, after drinking for most of the afternoon, and drinking girly non-alcoholic drinks for the rest of the evening paid off – no headache or anything this morning when I woke up…hurrah! I wasn’t feeling too bad, a few aches and pains, probably more from not walking than from walking which is just mad, and I got my stuff together and down to breakfast nice and early. I never hang around too long with breakfast, just eat it without rushing too much, go to my room, grab my gear, check out and then out the door. I didn’t have too many miles to do today but I knew that tomorrow was a longer day so sooner started, sooner finished and sooner resting this afternoon.
I awoke this morning as early as ever and for some strange reason I felt wiped out. I couldn’t figure it out as it’d been a relatively easy walk yesterday. Not the best way to start the day that’s for sure. Breakfast was good – way more than I could eat – and it wasn’t long before I had my gear on and I was checking out. Once I’d paid my bill Christine, the lady who seemed to do quite a lot at the hotel from making the bread for dinner to handling the bar and reception, gave me £10 towards my sponsorship which was very much unexpected and greatly appreciated. A quick chat with Christine and I was out the door.
What can I say about the Cheviot Hotel in Bellingham? Well, I guess the first thing I should point out is although it’s got “hotel” in its name, a hotel it certainly didn’t feel like. To start with, when I arrived I had to ring on a buzzer intercom thing and then wait a few minutes while someone came down to let me in – never done that in a hotel before. The pub part of the “hotel” didn’t open until 7pm so clearly that’s when the front door is open to anyone else wishing to check in? Yes it had rooms, which all hotels clearly must have, but the shoe-box single room I was put in, all stuffy and drab, wasn’t the worst room I’d had on this walk so far but it was getting close. They did have biscuits with the tea and coffee things so that was a plus point; I’ve become quite the biscuit hoarder on this walk, putting them in my pack for the next day’s walk.
Bad night’s sleep last night. Even though I didn’t have anyone snoring throughout the night as I had the room to myself, it was way too light and the curtains were rubbish. To be honest I suspect the walk ahead of me was probably playing on my mind as I knew it was going to be a hard one. As I’d been told last night that there wouldn’t be any form of cooked breakfast – this was an independent hostel and not like the one I stayed in the other night – there was no point in hanging around, so when my alarm went off I got myself up and ready. I grabbed a pasty from the fridge, leaving my money, and headed out the door at 7:45am, a good hour before I would normally be leaving. I walked along the road to pick up the Pennine Way again which immediately turned in to a complete nightmare. The first part of today’s route was up Byrness Hill, a three quarter’s of a mile 500ft climb, the majority of which was up through the woods.