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Day 14/15 Byrness to Kirk Yetholm?

The short version. I DID IT! 😆


The longer version. First off apologies. As I suspected there was no prospect to post last night with no phone network. The plan had always been to camp somewhere beyond Windy Gyle - I know, not a very auspicious name - about 13 miles from Bryness, so we set off a bit later than normal knowing it’s not great form to set up your wild camp at 3pm.


It was a beautiful (initially midge-infested) morning in Byrness and that continued as we climbed up into the Cheviots proper. It was so nice to just see the sun, and though there was still plenty of bog jumping it just felt better on a nice day with rolling hills to every horizon.


By late afternoon though there was the distinct feeling of clouds building up and we started looking for a place to camp. About 1 mile beyond Windy Gyle out of nowhere appeared a flat square of grass. Perfect. We pitched the tent by about 7pm, got inside because it was starting to get really cold and then the rain came. Light at first, but steadily building to a crescendo of hurricane winds and torrential rain throughout the night. I didn’t get much sleep, what with the noise, but also just worrying about how it would be in the morning.

The answer was, not great. It was still so windy and the rain was crashing down. Visibility was 15 metres max. Anyway, as I’ve found before, you have 2 choices. Don’t move or move. So we moved, with the rain of the night covering most of the slabs that were meant to guide us through the boggy areas.


Thankfully, by about 10 am we descended out of the cloud, the rain stopped and the skylarks started singing - always a good sign that the sun is coming.

And suddenly there were beautiful vistas in every direction.

But the waterlogged areas still needed to be contended with and it was slow and heavy going at times.

But knowing the finish line was almost in sight helped massively. It was partly the thought that it didn’t matter how much water was in my boots, or how much my feet hurt, I wasn’t going to be doing this tomorrow. So, by early afternoon, with my family walking out to meet us, we eventually arrived in Kirk Yetholm, Scotland - 15 days, 268 ish miles, 600,000 steps, several thousand bog crossings, several hundred blister plasters, and one soon to be deceased waterlogged phone, after leaving Edale in Derbyshire.

I was quite tempted to bag myself a ‘new’ pair of boots from the pile of discarded footwear outside the official end of the Pennine Way!


So, for anyone who was waiting to donate until they’d seen whether I’d do it. I did it!


There was no massed pipe band to serenade me across the finish line - I was slightly disappointed by their absence - just an overwhelming sense of relief that my journey was over. But not relief without regret. The simplicity of these last 2 weeks, despite the challenges and hardships, are hard to find in life. The beauty of England and a bit of Scotland, spending time with people I care about, trying to do something meaningful for all these young people that we care about - I will miss all those things.


But the end of any journey is actually just the start of the next, and who knows where that might take us. It might be the end of chapter, but for a journey to have really meant something you need to have experienced something new and learned something that you can take with you into the next. What will you take from my journey, and that of the young people In2Out support, into the next chapter of your journey?


I’m excited that we have reached 90% of the fundraising target - there’s still time to get it to 100% or beyond - and we are so grateful to all those who’ve given, but if you have ’travelled’ somewhere with this Pennine Way journey, I want to lay one challenge for you.


It’s great to raise one-off sums - it helps us massively to be able to do more, but there is real power in regular giving. Please consider whether you could give a monthly gift to support our work and be part of changing lives from the ‘Inside to the Out’ on a regular basis.


£25 would pay for a mentor to travel to, spend time with, eat with and perhaps take care of any basic needs of a young person.


£50 pays for a leaving custody kit which contains all the essentials that a young person might need on release - a phone, some credit, clothing, toiletries, food etc.


Maybe you can’t give that much on a monthly basis - maybe you could give more. To find out more go to https://www.in2out.org.uk/donate


We all need people who are there for us regularly, consistently. Can you be one of those people?


I will leave my final word for tomorrow when I reach home (I’m not walking!!), but for now a massive THANKYOU for helping get me across the line - for your engagement, care, compassion, commitment and encouragement, and I believe for your heart for the young people In2Out supports.


We don’t do this work alone.


We do it together, because we believe these young people are worth it and deserve a chance of a better life.


And that’s powerful stuff.






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Magnificent! J & T

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Congratulations !!!! What a journey you are a Hero there’s nothing you can’t do now. After of course you have rest and recuperation. Your next challenge could be a Swimmathon !! Maybe not this year 🤣🤣🤣.

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Hi Mark

I’m lost for superlatives to describe your achievement in succeeding to complete the 268ish miles of the Pennine Way

Your journey has been amazing, awesome, breathtaking ,inspirational ,,beautifully related ,emotional and. add many other positive adjectives.

Dee and I are doubling our original donation You deserve it

Well done xx

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Amazing! Well done Mark!!

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Well done Mark.

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