F*cking Rush Hour
The chance to camp in the Cheviots had come round again but I was having a mare trying to get there.The traffic was horrendous!!!! I only had to drive up two friggin’ roads. One being the A1 like, all the same, it shouldn’t take over an hour to get from Darlo to Newcastle!
I’d set off at about 8am, stupid really. I knew I would hit rush hour but held onto the hope that I would somehow miraculously miss it. What a knobhead!
The plan was to meet Miguel @Geordie_Rambler (Instagram) at his house in Newcastle where I would transfer my hiking/camping gear from my teeny tiny Hyundai Getz into his slightly more roomy Peugot. Miguel greeted me at his front door bellowing “WHERE YA BEEN MAAN”! in his broad Geordie accent. Yeah mate, like I didn’t know.
We quickly packed up the car and I asked Miguel if he’d fill up my 2ltr water bladder. He duly ran in and filled it up for me and we hurriedly hit the road for The Cheviot Hills.
Cowld or not!!!
I’d kept an eye on the weather all week and I kept hearing phrases like “winter bomb” and “arctic blast”. Since when did we start describing cold weather in January as ARCTIC BLAST? There were a lot of local weather warnings and even more Gritters on the road than usual. “Something cowld must be coming” I thought excitedly, “I’d best make sure I pack properly and not half arsed like normal”.
Hitting The Cheviots
The weather – despite all the warnings – so far wasn’t too bad for a January. The further north we travelled it actually started to get out nice. “Mint” I thought, “I’ve packed all this shite, I’m probably gonna sweat me tits off now”.
We left the A1 and headed up the A697 towards the Cheviots past Longframlington and deep into the beautiful Northumberland countryside. We turned off at Powburn and headed towards a little farm Miguel had parked the car near to on a previous recce.
On arrival we made the usual last minute kit check and change from normal human being clothes into super hero hiking gear. I noticed my 2ltr bladder was still a bit damp on one side so decided to check it over for leaks one more time before putting it in the neat little compartment at the back of the Vango 70ltr I had decided to use.
“FUCK SAKE MAN!!!!!!!!” I shouted as a little nick I noticed on the side of the bladder dripped the tiniest amount of water. While I did have some Duct tape, I did not want to attempt a mend, put it in my pack and risk soaking everything in there so I had to leave it in the car. Although I knew I was fine as I had a stove and Iodine tablets, it only left me with a 750ml bottle of fresh water and 1 beer. “Well, these things are sent to test us” I remembered saying to Miguel through gritted teeth. However, with kit on and car locked up we were ready to hit the trails.
…and yes, I know, “what is the fucking point of one beer?” you’re asking!