31st May 2016 – 15.9 miles
We drove a short way over the hills from Haggs Bank campsite to the village of Garrigill. The Pennine Way follows a wide track out of the village and uphill between fields. There must have been nesting birds in the land either side as the lapwings and curlews were very active and vocal as we passed. We saw a few birds we didn’t know (not surprising as we aren’t particularly clued up on birds), standing on small mounds and calling. I took a rather blurry picture for identification – golden plover, so now there’s another one I know!
The open country higher up is obviously managed for game. There was a line of grouse butts and there were traps set into logs running across drainage ditches.
The area was once heavily mined for lead. There are shafts, levels and workings marked on the maps. today we saw a few capped shafts – most are now filled in, leaving just hollows in the ground. We didn’t see any evidence of where the miners lodged though and wondered if they slept in the levels (although the Internet suggests they could have walked to and from the workings each day – a long walk!).
The weather was better than yesterday, and there was only a little cloud around at the top of Cross Fell, where we had another welcome break in the shelter, along with two German women.
We had decided to loop back to the south of Cross Fell and follow a bridleway back tothe Pennine Way. We walked up and down the saddle point looking for where the path left, eventually resorting to the GPS and going across trying to avoid the worst of the bogs. We soon came to a gate with a blue ‘bridleway’ waymark so knew we were in the right place, but very soon the path petered out. There was nothing visible on the ground so we decided to contour round Cross Fell and rejoin the Pennine Way. It wasn’t as bad a route as it could have been (we only had to climb over one fence).
We were very glad to rejoin the Pennine Way, with the German women just behind us. We leapfrogged each other a few times, going down the path. It seemed a long way back, with the landscape not changing much a few points of reference until we reached the grouse butts, and we were soon back to the lapwings and curlews warning us off.