My Golite Jam is leaking. Straight through the fabric. The seams are probably the only part of the rucksack not leaking. So when Earlylite proposed a draw for section hikers, with a Gossamer Gear sack as a prize, I looked at the rules to see if a protracted Munro campaign would qualify me. And very clearly, it wouldn’t.
So I set off from Clapham Station with my leaking pack. (Have you seen the price of new ones? Scandalous!) The pack worked well enough, despite the rain. The star, though, and remember that I had a new Trailstar to play with, was the Pennine Way, particularly the section from Hawes to Dufton. I hadn’t the time to continue on to Alston, but I doubt very much if the quality would have dropped on that high level section.
It was as I set off from Hardraw for the ascent of Great Shunner Fell that it dawned on me I was going to finish my present backpacking journey with just two stages of the Pennine Way to complete. I had section hiked from Horton in Ribblesdale to Edale during a walk from Heysham to Birchen’s Edge. I had walked from Sanquar to Melrose and on to Kirk Yetholm, where I picked up the Pennine Way and followed it as far as Greenhead. Now, my hike from Clapham to Appleby was using the section from Horton to Dufton. So I could have entered Philip’s draw. Here I was section hiking the Pennine Way and only belatedly realising it.
Of course, snobbishness had something to do with my lack of perception. I had always thought the Pennine Way offered lesser walking than Snowdonia or Scotland and that is true of some stages, for example between Malham and Hebden Bridge, but the stretch I mentioned above, Hawes to Dufton, is prime walking terrain. I had been missing out. My snobbishness means I’m also not section hiking Land’s End to John o’Groats except that finishing the Pennine Way, added to my days on Offa’s Dyke, would mean that I’ve completed a fair chunk of that route also. I wonder if Earlylite is planning another competition?