We stayed in a cottage just outside one of the two towns whose claim to fame is the title of "the highest market town in England." Both sit at about 1000 feet above sea level. Both towns are pleasant places, though very different. The other one is Buxton, in Derbyshire.
Day 1 - Alston
On our first day we simply followed the Pennine Way south from our base at Harbut Law. A short walk took us into the town, where we filled in the time drinking coffee, drawing and exploring a little, as well as listening to the odd local resident complaining about the massive road works caused by a water main replacement. The consequences for the tourist trade over two bank holidays could be quite considerable.
Day Two - Natrass Gill
We followed the instructions from a leaflet at Harbut Law.
The route starts between the Swan's Head pub and the old Methodist chapel, and heads south along a "loaning" or walled walkway.
We head south past the old workhouse and Fairhill Farm, then pass Annat Walls.
The track becomes a footpath and leads to Nattrass Gill,
a stream with a waterfall, which flows down into the South Tyne.
We cross the footbridge and walk up and over a stile out of the trees. This area once belonged to an American who bult his dream house at High Nest, and even had a boating lake at one time.
We cross the fields, and have a coffee-pause.
We join the road by a stone stile, and turn left, then right at some sheep pens. Cross Fell can be seen from here. We follow the road all the way to Bleagate, where we turn north and follow the Pennine Way into Alston, with the South Tyne on our left.
A stop in lston for some lunch, and to pick up some food for tonight, then we continue along the Pennine Way to Harbut Law.
This second walk was getting on for 8 miles in all.
During our stay at Alston we heard and saw curlews and lapwings, nd also heard our fist cuckoo of the year.