Friday, 17 July 2009

I've made a decision...

It wasn't an easy decision to make - I'm a proud person, also very stubborn, and hate failing. I thought long and hard about it and took everything into account, but eventually the decision had to be made. I booked into a B&B. There, I said it.

In the 7 or so weeks that we have been walking this is only the 3rd time I've used a B&B. The first 2 times there was literally no-where to camp, but this time I actually walked past a campsite to get to it. The strange thing is, now that I'm here I don't feel the slightest bit guilty. I was absolutely feet were squelching, and poor Patch was frozen. PLUS we've just been down to the pub for a bar meal. I'm so naughty.

Yesterday we walked along an old railway line (the South Tyne Trail) to Alston. I reached the campsite to find a very strange set up. It was full of static caravans which people seemed to live in, with a tiny bit of grass for tents. I was told where the water was, and that it was "probably all right". To get to the toilets you had to go through a yard full of skips and old machinery, through a strange tunnel underground that seems to be part of some old big pipe, and into the bottom of a 3 storey building. The facilities were basic, and the showers were free but very grotty looking so I stayed clear. That said, it was only 5 pounds a pitch, and the lady running it was very friendly so I was happy to stay there.

Today's forecast was for heavy rain and gales, so instead of the Pennine Way I opted for a mixture of roads and footpaths to a small village called Ousby. I'm now in a B&B called "Bradley Foot", which I highly recommend. My boots are drying by the fire, my socks have been rinsed and dried (they were very brave to do THAT) and I've had a cup of tea. Lovely. I've also had a bar meal from the pub just down the road. That's blown the budget. Patch has been very happy from the moment we set foot indoors. She loves the B&B and all the fuss she has got. She also loved the pub and meeting everyone...and everyone laughed at us when she then refused to leave the pub to return to the B&B.

I must admit, nothing would make me happier right now than a phone call from John saying we had won the lottery...I would straight away send the tent and gubbins home and use B&B's from now on...I may be getting soft, but I'm loving being comfortable!


litehiker said...

I can't say I blame you but this could be the start of a rather slippery slope! Well done so far.

Gayle said...

I'm a firm believer in a bit of luxury at least once a week so banish those feelings of guilt! A comfy bed, the opportunity to sort out kit in a leisurely manner, being able to get out of a shower into a warm room, and a good breakfast - all ocassional necessities in my opinion.

Mark Moxon said...

And I'm a firm believer in cramming as much luxury into your life as you can - after all, walking is supposed to be fun, surely. :-)

When you look at the map of Britain after your walk and think, 'Wow, Patch and I walked that,' you won't qualify that with, 'Yeah, but we stayed in B&Bs every now and then.' People won't say, 'OK, you walked across Britain, but you stayed in B&Bs, so it just isn't impressive, sorry.' I think B&Bs are an amazing part of British culture and should be celebrated and used to the maximum; if they're a source of guilt, you're doing something wrong. :-)

[This, obviously, from someone who spent the first two weeks of his LEJOG camping, before realising that roughing it just can't compete with a decent pub and a morning fry-up. Big respect to those of you who love your tents and your bivvies, but you're welcome to them... :-) ]

Jewellery By Shalini said...

A little bit of luxury does not take anything away from the effort you and Patch are putting in for a very worthy cause Sophie. It's fine.

I second what Mark Moxon said...

BabsnRay said...

Can't blame you for wanting a bit of comfort & warmth - especially if the weather where you're walking is anything like the deluges we're getting here. Basic clean well maintained camp facilities is fine as long as the facilities are not grotty, grubby & basic - so you have no cause to feel guilty. You should feel more refreshed on your next stage too. Glad Patch was made to feel welcome - dog friendly B&B's & pubs are something of a novelty nowadays.
Congrats on what you've done so far, and best wishes for the next stage.

Sophie Easterbrook said...

Thanks for the comments!

Litehiker - to be honest, I would happily slip down that slope right now...but alas, the purse strings are too tight for that. 3 months in a tent or bivi is proving to be a looong time!!

Mark, I don't blame you at all for ditching the tent. Although I remember you having a very good excuse with a gammy leg! B&B's or hostels would go down very well for the rest of the trip. If only...!

Gayle, good to know you are human after all - I was beginning to think you are bionic woman! I forgot your contact details by the way, so if you are still on for meeting up feel free to email me at sophieandpatch(AT) as I can get this one on my phone.

Shalini, many thanks. I'm finding a touch of luxury goes down very well!

BabsnRay you are so right - for a nation of dog lovers (apparently) it can actually be quite difficult travelling alone with a dog.

Gayle said...

Sophie - I emailed you on Sunday. Let me know via another comment if it didn't reach you.

John J said...

I can only echo what everyone else has said, a dollop of comfort now and then is good for a girl...and her doggy.

You two are doing tremendously well and it's only reading your last post or two that I realised how much you had camped.

My LEJOG is pencilled in for next year but once a week I'll be in a B&B / hostel / bunkhouse or whatever, just to get a decent bed and clean everything properly. Oh, and to sit on a PROPER chair at a PROPER table to eat!

Keep it up!