An Easy To Moderate Climb.

‘An easy to moderate climb’, the guidebook promises.

But, halfway up Catbells’ spine, she turns to me and says,

“I cannot carry on.”


We had followed in footprints of dead Roman legions.

I’d seen her walk on her hands on Tynemouth beaches.

But she cannot carry on.

We measured maps by millimetres, drank goats’ milk by the litres;

found myself sober in Twice Brewed one winter.

But she cannot carry on.


– tide books, tea lights, dry-stone walls.
Locks of light; umbilical.
Hag stones through the Royal Mail.
Rubbed and pencilled Saxon graves.
Bunting stitched on hems and denim,
cut-out poems from daily papers,
paraded painted soldiers on rented sills.
Loved in as many counties as we had toes –

But still, “I cannot carry on.”


Below us was the Derwent

and the road we’d travelled in on.

Above us was the flintstone sky

and the chalked and spiky bone –

Catbells – we took each other by the hand

and carried on.

13 thoughts on “An Easy To Moderate Climb.

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