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Day 10 - Dufton to Alston

This morning was beautiful as you can see, leaving Dufton around 7am and trying to out run the midges by heading for the hills for another 20 miler. Must be getting closer to Scotland with all the midges.

We had amazing views across to the Lake District as we rose steadily towards Great Dun Fell and then Little Dun Fell, which is about 5 metres shorter than its big brother and then finally Cross Fell at 870 metres-ish. Don’t quote me on this.

I already had clothes hanging out to dry. But not for long!

After a couple of hours climbing we were at the golf ball early warning centre at Great Dun and in full wet weather gear as the wind picked up and then the rain came as we left Cross Fell.

At that point it really didn’t look good for the rest of the day, but as we know things change fast, the rain rolled away although it was cold!

Breaks where it’s cold and wet aren’t much fun. After the climbs the next 10 miles were very gentle yes, but foot destroying, gravel tracks, before the last 4 miles along the upper River Tyne into Alston, by which point it was boiling again. I even managed to dry the tent off - soggy from dew and condensation at one of our stops.

The plan to camp in Alston didn’t happen. The ‘campsite’ as someone subsequently described as ‘the one time forgot’ (interestingly/worryingly it was part scrapyard, part caravan park) was not taking tents ‘cos the boilers broken and the toilet don’t work’. It felt like a lucky escape!

Short of walking a couple of miles further and finding somewhere to wild camp my options were suddenly pretty limited. But the Youth Hostel Association came up trumps and I have a bed in a dorm and am currently sat on a comfy sofa! After 10 days I’d forgotten what that was like. It’s not what I’d planned, but I’ve seized the blessing that it is. As tomorrow it will probably rain all day and I have another potential long one, the chance to start off without a soggy tent is very appealing.

So, another long day with some beautiful sights, my feet are well, really annoying, but I’m 20 miles closer to the finish line.

Yesterday, one of our team mentioned to a lad in prison what I was doing and why. He replied, ‘He must be mad. Tell him we’re not worth it’.

There you have it. If you ever needed convincing why In2Out does what it does and why I’m doing what I’m doing, just remember all those young people who don’t think they are worth it. Our message to them is that they absolutely are worth it! See it in what we say, what we do, how we do it. If you believe deep down that you are nothing, and worth nothing, then I promise you that your actions and the response of much of the world around you will be simply to reinforce that.

Knowing they are of value and worth is often the start of their journey to a new place of self respect and potential, but it all starts with showing them. And to show them you have to be there, with them, on their journey.

So, tomorrow I will go again, in the pouring rain, probably in considerble discomfort, to raise money, yes, but to show these young people, (and everyone else) that they ARE worth it.

We still have a long way to go reach our funding target. Please give if you can, and pass the word to others. And if you’ve been stirred by anything you’ve read or understood a new, please consider over the coming days whether you could contribute to our work on a regular basis and join the journey with these young people. I’ll explain more how important that and the difference it can make another day. But for now it’s pack up and prep time and then bed. Another long day awaits!

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Frank and Deirdre Conway here Mark. We’re following you and in awe of your resilience in the face of some atrocious conditions. Not too far to go now. The end is in sight. Xxx


Well done Mark glad you got a bed inside for the night blessings for today Andi


Great stuff Mark!


How sad that those young people think, they’re not worth it. Keep going Mark, you are showing them that they absolutely are!! Brilliant job 👍🏻


What a sad comment…….we are not worth it! Every step,you take is showing they ARE WORTH IT. You doing the walk and you’re team at In2Out are showing them how much they are loved and how they are worth it. Great photos Mark

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