Day 30 – A Triumph

Bowes to Middleton

Great breaking news!! 82 year old Pennine Way hiker found safe and well near Keld. He’d hit his head apparently. Who’d do a stupid thing like that? Well done Eveline for a first class bit of research. Everyone loves a happy ending


There is only one accommodation in Bowes, The Ancient Unicorn. When you’re the only place in town you can call it whatever you want. I was the only walker but there was a group of bikers. Among the Hondas was a Triumph. That’s a great bike even though they keep going bankrupt. One immediately thinks of Marlon Brando in The Wild One and of course Steve McQueen in The Great Escape. Also Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman. They all had a Triumph.

I looked around at breakfast but there was only a group of elderly ladies having the full English. I should have realised. But I soon heard them talking about their bikes and that Triumph.

Bowes is a great little town. It has its own castle and an atmospheric St Giles church and graveyard. It’s just 20 miles west of Darlington. That means I’m well and truly in the north of England. Our country has such a wealth of regional and local accents. She used to tell me about Darlington and her life up here. How I wish I could have pulled out my iPhone in 1971 and recorded her. I’d never heard such an accent. I hope these local characteristics don’t disappear as the world shrinks.

The day started with sunshine and so the moors looked stunning. Despite being on the softies trail, I had an accident. A branch was hidden in a patch of thistles and my boot caught it. The branch refused to yield, I couldn’t free my boot and down I went – into the thistles. Fortunately they were the non stinging type.

I sat on a small bridge over a bit of bog to enjoy my coffee and a piece of fruit cake from the Ancient Unicorn. At lunchtime I sat on a handy stretch of dry stone wall under a tree. They made me a dry stone cheese sandwich and I got a dry stone bag of salted crisps.

The mist came down as bad as yesterday but Middleton appeared just where I was expecting it and I found another decent B&B called Brunswick house with a bowl of fruit in my room.

I’m here for two nights. The clever Contours people will ferry me backwards and forwards so I can avoid a long walking day. I could get used to this.

The Ancient Unicorn

St Giles, Bowes and Castle

A typical dry stone wall stile with a little door to stop the sheep hopping over

That’s all for today

11 comments on “Day 30 – A Triumph

  1. I absolutely love the gate on the post to prevent sheep hopping over. I have never seen one of those before! So relieved that the elderly hiker was found, his family must have been beside themselves with worry.

  2. Loved the double meaning for your title today, Tim. I was thrilled at the triumph of locating the elderly hiker, and who doesn’t love a Triumph? 🙂 Well, maybe my brother — he’s a Harley guy.

    The countryside is stunning! I am incredibly envious of your chilly, misty weather. We just finished a weekend of 115 degree temperatures (with 2 more weeks of high 90s on tap). The air is filled with mist here, too, but unfortunately it’s smoke from a fire burning in the mountains to the east. Would love to be out walking in the bogs with you.

    • I’d love to be walking in the bogs with you, DJ, but you can quickly tire of cold wet feet, however alluring they might seem from 115 degrees. But that aside, the point of today is that we have a wealth of local accents in England. However, few can surpass that of Southern California. Keep talking to me…

  3. Tassie Kaz

    Do you manage to dry your footwear out overnight Tim? Hope you can at least start out with dry feet even if it doesn’t last long!
    Love the Tuck Shop…shades of the Camino & brought back memories of the dispensers of goodies on Shikoku & the VF.
    Great news about the missing man.

    • Hi Karen, as we’re up north, they’ve already got the heating on so I easily dried my boots on the radiator. I loved the tuck shop. I tend not to carry cash in the UK so I can’t support it which is a shame.
      I best loved seeing that man reunited with his family. They looked in such despair when I saw them yesterday. You don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone.

  4. I never knew they cunningly disguised a Triumph to look like a BMW in the Great Escape! Donner und Blitzen!! No wonder that sheep has come back to follow you, oh font of all knowledge.

    • I guess the Nazis would have been suspicious of a young American on a British motorcycle.

  5. Vicky Williamson

    Kia Ora, Tim, It’s late Wednesday afternoon in NZ and an hour or so ago a news item about the lost man turned up on a news website which I follow. He sounds like a very hardy fellow with a great a great sense of humour. Hope I’m as sanguine in challenging circumstances in the future. I concur with Tassie Kaz about the unexpected pop-upshops along the routes she mentions. My daughter and I found a pop-up wine fountain on the Cammino di San Tommaso in 2018 – great wine. Kia kaha, Vicky

    • I love the pop up shops too especially when they’re done by children.

  6. Philippa

    Good to hear that the lost walker was found safe & well …. thanks to everyone who mentioned the Cicerone article; it was fascinating, especially the story of the flagstones & why they are so effective 🙂.

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