The walk comes full circle.
So after deciding to stop the first part of this blog after 8.5 miles in my infinite wisdom I decided to squeeze the remaining 17.5 miles into a second part. Here goes.
The first of those 17.5 miles involved the crossing of the Kielder Dam from which I had a view of the daunting task that lay in front of me, walking the full length of Kielder Water. It was just after 11:30 so without further ado I got a move on.
The North Shore of Kielder Water is different to the South as there are no roads, no visitor centres, no sign of human life of any kind apart from the odd Lakeside Wayer. That’s probably why I prefer it. The only landmarks / goals in the 12 miles to Kielder Castle are a number of imaginative sculptures (more of those later).
Anyway, cracking on the first few miles were eaten up as fast as a Romeo’s pizza after a night out at Ritzys. So fast I almost missed a large polished piece of sculptured silver metal, The Belvedere. This was my first encounter with a sculpture and there isn’t much to say about this one other than that it is a large polished piece of sculptured silver metal and that it marks the only point on the North Shore where the ferry docks. Resisting the temptation to end my walk prematurely I walked on to Robin’s Hut! If you have read the first part of this blog you will know all about this (hint,hint)!
On passing the hut, which is a lot like Pizza Hut except without the pizza, a familiar rumble meant it was nearly lunchtime. Thinking I’d stop at the next seat (there’s usually one every 50 yards!) in an open area as the sun was out, I pressed on. Low and behold the next 20 minutes passed with no seat and continuous thick woodland! However, just as the rumble had reached the noise level of thunder, the path suddenly opened out with a seat giving an amazing view over the water. Seated with a tuna sandwich and kettle crisps the rest was a well earned one as I was halfway along the North Shore.
Unfortunately due to the hot sunshine and tired feet the next few miles became a dawdle! Janus (Sean Bean’s) chairs were my next sculpture and by far my favourite so far! Laid out at waters edge I was tempted to stay there for the rest of the day but somehow tearing myself away I got back on the path. With a renewed determination I marched on and after passing some salmon, a giant head and some screaming school kids I reaching the picturesque viaduct at the end of the North Shore.
I now had a choice: continue on with 5.5 miles to go or stop at Kielder Castle. Despite the feeling of blisters I decided to stop as I had an overwhelming need for an ice-cream! Whilst waiting to order at Kielder Castle café the guy in front of me randomly wanted a mince pie and seemed suicidal when they didn’t have any!
Solero eaten, the last part of my walk along the South Shore lay ahead. Before really getting going I poked my head in at Bakethin reservoir’s bird hide and was assured by the twitcher inside that an Osprey would appear in exactly 20 minutes! Extremely sceptical and with a pizza waiting for me back at base I decided to not wait and hit the trail hard.
Before long I was at Lewisburn where the path sends you on an annoying but worthwhile detour to cross the world’s 21,587th longest but most attractive suspension bridge in the world. That done, and with the aid of a tangerine, I negotiated the scouts and midges at Hawkhirst.
With 1.5 miles to go I could almost taste James Bond’s beer of choice waiting for me at the Boat Inn, Leaplish. There where still some perils to overcome though most notably the snooker club but with some sidespin and a kick I made it past and to the end of my walk.
Sitting outside the Boat, Kielder Water was laid out before me! To circle it had presented a stiff challenge but I had overcome it. As I rested my aching, blistered feet I remembered that the next walk I plan to do in a day is 14 miles further! I might need some new feet for that one or maybe borrow Bilbo’s!
The Lakeside Way: 26 miles: Done by Jamie Fenwick in 11 hours.