Day 17 - The long and not winding road

It's Day 17, 21st April, and Neil is less than a week away from his destination, Edinburgh. His body is holding up but he is facing the toughest part of his walk. He may not realise it but the weather forecast for next week talks about Arctic winds and thunderstorms! Here he tells us what it's been like walking through the Northumberland National Park.

If you look closely you can see the No Third Runway van (and Ray waiting patiently inside)

If you look closely you can see the No Third Runway van (and Ray waiting patiently inside)

"Strong winds today and I have my waterproofs on. It's so hilly! I've been on this same road now for days and it takes some getting used to. When I look at the road ahead I'm aware that I have to walk as far as the eye can see. When I look behind me I see a vast stretch of road that I've walked. 

"The landscape is stunning. A bonus on this walk has been absorbing some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen. I've also been blessed with some decent weather for the walk through England.

"It's also been good to have so much support on the road - not just from Ray in the van. Drivers beep me and people on the street stop to wish me well. A few people have walked along for a while to keep me company and have chat. Perhaps the most unusual though was a flock of sheep who walked their boundary with me - I think they liked my hi-vis."

Ray filling his lungs with some clean air - something denied to people living near Heathrow

Ray filling his lungs with some clean air - something denied to people living near Heathrow

"I usually take a 'shut-down' photo at the end of the day, but not tonight. We did the full 20-mile route today and booked into a campsite. As soon as we arrived I got straight into the sock washing and showering routine to get it out of the way. So I'll send a picture of the camp in the morning. I've no internet on the tablet right now.

"We are 7 miles short of the Scottish border, that's seventy-ish miles short of Edinburgh. Today was a tough walking day, with serious hills on one long, mostly Roman, route. Feet and legs are good though.

"Each day I've been adding a few miles to the original schedule as I know the terrain in Scotland is going to be tougher. I'm now about 25 miles ahead of where I'd expected to be at this stage. I might have to cut the mileage a bit as I don't want to arrive in Edinburgh too early. Let me see what tomorrow's hills are like."

On the A68 - Camien Cafe, Rochester, Northumberland National Park

On the A68 - Camien Cafe, Rochester, Northumberland National Park

Christine Taylor