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"End to End via the Margins"
-the diary of a walk.

- Piercebridge to Spennymoor


As I climbed the hill only a couple of miles beyond the Roman fort at Piercebridge, and left behind me the great plain that stretches towards the North York Moors and York itself, and joins the bottom ends of the dales, I saw new things ahead of me. I saw what looked like a pit spoil heap, for the first time in a while. There were factories and numerous small industrial estates, in various states of repair. From time to time I could smell coal fires, a reminder of the past. Whether I was in the Prime Minister's actual constituency I do not know, but I was in the Sedgefield area, and above the Durham coalfield. As with any coalfield, I didn't expect to see any active pits.

The farmers and proprietors of small industrial units around here were defensive. There were notices and threats all over, about thieving and fly tipping.

From time to time on these small roads, it's hard for a car to pass me. In can almost always anticipate such cases and get up on the bank. But few drivers thank me for my courtesy. They just drive by, impassive in their sunglasses. I long for some sort of interaction, some sort of give and take. But that wouldn't be cool I guess. Cool is independent, individual, not needing the society of anybody else. Maybe we are beginning to believe that interaction with strangers is dangerous, for strangers come only to rob, con, or make religious conversions. Is this how society ends - when people stop needing people? Drugs, many think, can help us to stop needing people, from Prozac to heroin. It shouldn't be surprising that both are popular. Anyway, for all this annoyance, I have never been anywhere near danger on the road.

I get to another hilltop and see Durham Cathedral: more progress!

I see an old man in a flat hat, lying on his stomach, digging out weeds from under a hedge. Did he learn to work like that in a narrow seam somewhere, some time in another age?

The logic of planning this jaunt dictates that I go all the way back to Richmond to stay the night, with the brilliant and longsuffering hosts the Clarkes again. It seems I have walked a long way in two days.

Pictures from today...
Shower over the plain - view from elevenses stop
Works near Shildon
Tree of the day
This part of Leasingthorne looks as if there used to be houses - anyone know?
Supporters about two pixels wide on distant fort
God of all the world,
we give you thanks for different rocks,
the different landscapes they give rise to,
the different crops that can be grown,
and the different treasures under the ground.
Help us use wisely
all that you have given us.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord...

© Bob Warwicker. The words here may be reproduced freely, but not for gain, or without attribution. All alterations must have the permission of the author.