My stay at Allerton House was fantastic. From the moment my host picked me up, he and his wife cared for me wth compassion. They were concerned I hadn’t had supper (I was too exhausted to eat) and made sure I at least had fruit and biscuits, even if I didn’t take them up on their offer of whiskey. They were concerned my bag was too heavy. They assured me they would drive me back to SCW in the morning. A hot bath, arnica, Advil and a wonderful feather bed were a relief.
In the morning, I asked about a baggage transfer service they mentioned and within minutes, it was arranged. My heavy pack would be picked up and taken to each spot for the next 5 days. That was a huge relief. I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage another day like yesterday!
True to his word, my wonderful new friend dropped me off, but not before taking me to a shop where I could buy a new map, and another shop where I could buy lunch. I could not offer enough thanks.
Then, rather painfully at first, I walked. Today had fewer hills (although there still were some!) and much of the scenery was pastures and woodlands. All of it was green, all beautiful. As I made my way through another style and walked at the edge of a farmer’s field planted with wheat, I realized how lovely it was of that farmer to share his property with walkers like me.
If yesterday was all about beauty, today was all about hospitality.
At the very start of the trail I met a man and woman traveling together, he from America and she from Scotland, old friends on their way to Lindisfarne the same as I was. They were friendly but walked much faster than I did, and noted (rightly) that on my pilgrimage I was probably hoping for solitude. I ran into them again today, and they were anxious about how I had fared overnight. I thought it was so kind of them to be concerned.
As the day wore on, I was tired and sore with a fresh crop of blisters. An overcast day turned to rain (which I was quite content with in my great rain jacket and pants!) Stopping at the pub in Morebattle I ran into my friends again, and this time they wondered, did I have a cell phone? If I didn’t they could loan me one of theirs. They had worried about me all alone on the path. How generous, I thought. Such a welcome from fellow travellers.
I walked on, now stiff and soaked but not unhappy. I would have gladly taken a bus to the next town but there was none to be had, so I kept putting one foot in front of the other. Hips, knees, feet, all sore.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a little blue car stopped and rolled down the window. An older gentleman asked if I would like a ride and I hopped in before he could change his mind. He and his wife and two young grandchildren were just finishing a day together. At least that’s what it sounded like. Their accents were marvellously thick and I barely understood a word! I hope they understood my thanks when they took me straight to the hotel and waited to make sure I got inside. How can there be so many warm, hospitable people in the world willing to help a complete stranger?
As I settled into my room, tended my blisters and had a hot shower, my lovely host even brought me up some toast, worried that without supper I would be hungry. Truthfully I was simply too tired but so appreciated her cre.
Today was a day that found me amazed again, this time at how I could be the recipient of such warm and genuine care. Hospitality can’t take away the soreness in my muscles but it certainly lightens my spirit and I am grateful.