The sun doesn't always shine on a Footsteps guided walk
Every now and again, despite the weather forecast not being so great, it is worth getting out into the hills to have a bit of a battle against the elements. So there we are, four of us and a dog, in the border village of Kirk Yetholm at the very end of, or for some the very beginning of the Pennine Way in the pouring rain, getting ready to walk back to the College Valley. It's pretty much all uphill for the first 2-3 miles and the wind was coming over our right shoulders, so the driving rain didn't seem quite so bad. The visibilty wasn't bad either and we could see Humbleton Green, an Iron Age hillfort, with its clearly outlined ramparts and ditches, as well as back across the hills into Scotland. Before too long, St. Cuthbert's Way, which here briefly shares the same ground as the Pennine Way took off to our left and we carried on south to soon head back across the Border into England. Here, it's a gap in the wall, a gate and a stile, so we paused to take a photograph and headed east towards the valley of the Trowupburn. I was expecting at this point to get a bit of shelter from the wind and every now and again we did, but the valley was a wind tunnel and it drove us on, coming from directly behind, but at least the rain had stopped. Soon we reached the valley floor and as the sun peaked out from behind the clouds we reached the trees, the wind disappeared and for fifteen minutes all was calm and peaceful. Having reached the College Valley, we turned west and headed for home, hot soup and Christmas cake awaited us and we reflected on what had been we all admitted, a testing but very rewarding challenge along the Border Ridge in Northumberland National Park.