River deep, mountain high

We tore ourselves away from the Borderside campsite this morning to continue our journey north. Plans have changed yet again – D now needs to be in Oxford next week for a client meeting, so we’ve decided to concentrate on Northumberland and County Durham before blasting south again – Scotland will have to wait until next time.

We left the campsite using the road we should have arrived on last week – glad we did, it is so much easier than the way we came in – not tight and narrow at all!

Our drive today took us across the Pennines – more spectacular countryside, although completely different from where we had been for the last few days – huge, bleak landscape, none of the cosiness of our Lakes valley. We followed the A686 via Alston – what a great road. Unfortunately, the weather was following us from the west and, by the time we got to the viewpoint at 580m, the views had gone. I got into trouble for not having my camera at the ready on the drive – must do better next time.

This is August. Imagine what January must be like.

This pay-to-view will never catch on.

We were a bit cautious of taking the tiny roads marked on the road atlas, so missed Allenheads and Allendale Town (and the brilliantly named Dirt Pot), but our road did take us alongside the River Allen for a while. We found a parking spot just before a bridge and spent a great couple of hours pootling about by the river. We also took quite a lot of photos – prepare yourselves.

This is shown as an A road on the map - glad we didn't take the little roads!

An Allen, doing the Allen thing, on the River Allen. A pretty spiffy photo if I do say so myself.

And now we are settling down in another remote campsite with great views – photo will have to wait until tomorrow because my camera can’t cope with the sky and expose it properly at the moment. A fab day, two happy campers and a very happy camper puppy.


What a discovery. The River Allen is magic (and not just because of the name)! One of the most beautiful parts of Blighty for me. The part we saw had no sign to tell you where you were, no proper pay-and-display car park, no ice cream van, no gravel or over-manicured paved footpath, no benches to admire the view, almost no other people and almost no rubbish. You wouldn’t like it so bog off. It’s mine.



Again, I think the photos are fantastic. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an underwater limestone pavement before (the crazed riverbed – and i’m not talking about a mental state!). I assume that it’s caused by the river freezing and cracking the rock. Can anyone enlighten me, Steve?

You are right – it’s absolutely cracking! My first reaction was “A crazy-paving river; what will the English come up with next”? The only thing I’ve seen that approaches this was a river that had cut through volcanic crystaline formation (for the nerdy, vertical columnar jointing – like the Devil’s Staircase) so the river bed was smooth rock in close-knit hexagons about 0.5m across. Could this be something similar? The longitudinal grooves (a couple of photos later) could be glacial scratching? A fascinating, beautiful place; and, I have to agree, no doubt best seen through dark-rimmed sunglasses.

Wow ,i love all these views ,bridges, rivers . Very impressed & reminds me of picnic spots we’d go to in the 1950swhen living in Darlington. I
want to be there too tho’it does look rather bleak for August.
Good photographs !!

Tucking your jumper into your trousers, next it will be white framed glasses

It’s actually a shirt tucked into my jeans thanks Gok. My massive muscular bulk must have made you think it was a jumper. Next Nigella will be offering S cooking tips…

That is some spectular scenery, very jealous!! Looking forward to seeing more wonderful photos.

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