Obstacles in the way

Slow Ways Routes – Hurnor one, Darhur one – Northallerton to Darlington

Distance 28km / 17mi

I knew today was going to be a longer day with 28km to walk. I had booked an Airbnb room in Darlington so I wasn’t worried about pitching a tent or thinking where to stay. All I had to think about was walking. So by 07.30 I was back in the town centre ready to start my walk.

I headed out of town, passing under the East Coast Main Line, never far from my thoughts and hearing on this stretch of my journey.

U was soon on country roads which made up a large part of today’s walk. I passed through the little village of Yafforth and was attracted by Howe Hill which is described as a Motte on the OS Map.

It was here that my senses were at risk of being overwhelmed, not by the awesome views and the beauty of the hedgerows but by the smell of the pig unit I passed. It was thankfully a fleeting moment as I powered on. I came to the village of Danby Wiske where I found the delightful campsite and facilities at Church Farm. They had an unmanned tuckshop, good toilets and a barn with kettle and mugs etc. I stopped here and made the most of everything. I decided this would have been a great place to stay but didn’t fit with my current itinerary.

On I went through the fields where I found some obstacles. This included the completely overgrown fence/ stile and the field where there was no recognisable path through the undergrowth.

The next obstacle was a field of cows. I wasn’t particularly worried about them as they were on the other side of the field. The problem came when I got to the gate out of the field and discovered it was very firmly tied shut. My only option was to climb over. As I was working all this out I happened to glance over my shoulder and was surprised to see the cows just behind me! Obviously I was the most intersting thing to happen to them that day. I scrambled over the gate as quick as I could.

Thankfully after I passed through the village of East Cowton and the ex railway station I was back on roads and farm tracks.

As I came over the brow of the hill I could see the River Tees and the village of Hurworth-on-Tees in the distance. As I descended the hill the village became clearer and I could see Darlington in the distance.

I was dreaming of maybe a pub in Hurworth and congratulating myself that I had cleaned all the mud off my boots when I came across the next obstacle. At Low Hall Farm I had to cross the farmyard which which several inches deep in slurry. Thankfully my boots were waterproof but they got well and truly covered. I crossed over the Tees and walked into the village.

Hurworth seemed a posh place with lots of very well appointed houses. I stopped and had a look round the church yard to see if there was a water tap to clean my boots but I couldn’t find one. I ended up nipping in to the village shop for something to eat and drink and hoping they wouldn’t notice my boots. I sat on a bench and looked out over the village green.

On I went across more fields and stiles towards Darlington. I saw the stadium in the distance then just before the town I encountered the last obstacle of the day, a building development. It took a bit of hunting around for the way through but I did eventually come out the other side and some woodland.

There wasn’t far to go through the streets until I came to the end of today’s slow ways.

My Airbnb was just a few minutes walk away and I was glad to have crossed the Tees. This was for me another milestone finally reaching County Durham as was and feeling that much closer to home.