Well, this time last week we had just set off on a crisp clear morning, through the first of this winter's snow, on our 3 day 37 mile walk in the footsteps of Isaac Holden, an itinerant tea seller.
Isaac's Tea Trail runs just below Sunrise Cottage and follows the river down to Alston and then wiggles its way round a circuitous route via Ninebanks (our first night's stop) and Allendale (2nd night) over Alston Moor to Nenthead where we had a celebratory pint at the Miners Arms before the final mile back home.
We walked the Trail with our neighbours from Greenends Holiday Cottages just up the road and each took a campervan which we shuttled back and forth to our overnight stops. (On our first day John and Steve had an extra shuttle back to Greenends to pick up the keys to Steve and Sandra's van!! Sandra and I were left at Ninebanks where it had been suggested we pick sloes in the gathering dusk! However, we had a better idea and just before the men set off in the van we grabbed a couple of cans of gin and tonic from the fridge which we drank sitting on a bench as the frost crept up from our toes. Eventually we resorted to marching up and down to keep warm as we waited for their return.)
On the second morning Sandra and I set off through drizzle to look at the Hearse House which Isaac Holden had given to the community in 1856 while the men shuttled one van to Allendale.
We then walked on and the men caught us up before coffee time, the rain cleared and we had a pleasant day's walking to Allendale where we had a brief stop at the Brewery before heading into the Golden Lion where we waited until the men had shuttled the other van to Allendale for the night!
Wednesday dawned bright and clear for our last and hardest day up over Alston Moor and back to Nenthead. The route was well-signed almost all the way home which was fortunate as, in the rush to set off, the map for the final stage of the walk was left in our van! However, Steve was able to come to the rescue with his phone on which he'd downloaded the route before we left home so all was well!
A few hours before setting off, while watching "Countryfile" we decided that we should walk in aid of BBC Children in Need and we set up a JustGiving page:
We'd like to thank everyone who generously donated to this and also those who said they would donate via the BBC website. It's good to know that our aching knees and feet have benefited someone!