Pennine Way 2015
No I haven't taken leave of my senses and taken up long distance hill walking at the age of 68. This trip or project has been inspired by a map in Wainwrights 'Pennine Way Companion' which shows the 'principal traffic roads across the pennine way'. What if, I thought, instead of walking up the Pennine Way we criss-crossed it using as many of these roads as practicable. A quick look on a motoring map identified most of the roads that are shown on Wainwright's map and so the project was born.
Pennine Way, some notes.
The Pennine Way (PW) runs from Edale in the Peak District to Kirk Yetholm just across the border in Scotland. Around 260 miles long it follows a route described in the 1930's with small changes and some alternatives added since. It is one of the hardest long distance paths in the UK and very many who start it fail to finish. Some parts follow ancient stone paths others track across inhospitable moorland where the way is by no means clear. Here are some of the highlights on and near the route, names that may be familiar to you:
Kinder Scout, Saddleworth Moor, Hebden Bridge, Pen-y-Ghent, Hawes, Tan Hill, Hanna Hauxwell's meadow, High Force, Cross fell, Alston, Haltwhistle, Byreness and The Cheviot.
My two main references are the Wainwright guide and the Trailblazer guide and the latter states that a walker might aim to take 17 days, but the record stands at a ridiculous time of less than 3 days! Walkers who intend to stay at B&B hostels etc often plan their whole itinery and book ahead, their main baggage being forwarded. Others wild camp which gives them flexibility but means they must carry more and spend nights in some discomfort, especially in bad weather of which there is an abundance.
When I first thought about doing this trip five years ago, guided by the Wainwright map and using a highlighter I marked a possible route on an old motoring atlas, this was promptly put into the car and forgotten. Two weeks ago I collected together what detailed maps I had and set about planning a route. I had been told about electronic Ordnance Survey (OS) maps which you could purchase as 6km x 6km 'tiles' in an application called Viewranger. I also found you could purchase all the tiles you would need to walk the way (and hadrians wall) for £10.49, so I did. I began the process of finding a route and marking up enlarged copies of Wainright's map.
Some parts of the Pennine Way are close to, and run parallel with driveable roads, other parts of the way go across moors, and large detours are needed to get to the next crossing point. This is especially true at the beginning and end of the route. Faced with a large detour either side of the way from the start at Edale I didn't know which way to go. As you are criss-crossing the walking route which 'way' you start dicates much of your route, so perversely I started from the other end and worked on the map from North to South. There is a large detour there as you leave Kirk Yetholm as well but it is more obvious which way to go. In the end I produced these two map pages.
A closer inspection will reveal that I have had to miss out a few of the crossing places because they were either too small for my motor caravan or because I would need to retrace my route to get to the crossing point, Dufton near Appleby for example.. Anyway, I thought, I have to come back down so I could perhaps pick up any missed places on the way back south. Also its only a plan, I might find some of this route unsuitable and have to make a new route on the fly. It has enabled me to see what distractions we can easily visit on the way up or down such as the Keighley and Worth Railway (of Railway Children fame). I haven't looked for campsites yet and we may do some wild ones.
I then started thinking about the practicalities for my navigator. It would be necessary to switch between my actual OS 50,000 maps and the emaps and it might be better if the route was highlighted in our motoring atlas. I then had the brainwave of getting my old atlas out of Doreen's car (which has never gone north of the M3) and cutting the required pages from that. I had completely forgotten about marking it up five years ago, so it was a surprise to find a route already marked. Not only that, but the route, quickly marked five years ago, almost exactly matched the one two weeks of careful study had now produced!
Just to complicate things further I took a further blank set of the Wainwright map and plotted a return path by another route picking up on bits I missed on the way up. This, labelled plan B, has some use on the way up as well, if it turns out that some of the Plan A route is untenable. So here I sit surrounded by maps and for domestic reasons we can't set out until next Sunday at the earliest. I wonder which way I will go to Edale?
Some more planning.
With just a day or so before the 'off' I spent some time this morning at the computer sorting out some of the more troublesome parts of the route. Seeing some steep gradients I used Google street view maps to check them out. The first one had one of these width restriction signs, well the "except for access" might encourage you to think that you might be able to get up it but on the map two sets of double chevrons and two hairpins probably mean we shouldn't try. Also the sign at the top says keep in low gear and some of the hairpins look very steep.
Anyway we now have a plan which looks viable, all the dodgy bits have been considered, some crossings deleted and others added so we will be crossing the Pennine Way (PW) 45 times, actually in two cases we have to come back the same way so arguably 47 times. Also I have just noticed at Hadrians wall there are a number of minor roads and tracks that would enable us to add a few more so it could be as high as 50. In this blog I will be using my planned crossing point numbering and ignoring those Wainwright crossings that we won't be able to get to.
Day 1 The drive t'North.
We set out around 10am with the idea that we might get as far as Leek. We went Marlborough, Swindon and A419/7 past Cirencester to the M5 (J11a) and stopped at Stensham Services. This is around two hours from Salisbury and makes a good breakpoint for us. Suitably revived with a light lunch we headed up the M5 and on to the M6, only a minor delay there this time. Then carried on up the M6 to Stoke (J15) arriving into Leek on the A520. As it was still early and Doreen's back wasn't too bad we started looking further afield for a CS to stop and so we carried on to Peak Forest passing through Buxton on the way. A small site by the side of a general store now closed for business. It was a former PO and there was a notice explaining the closure and rationalisation of the post offices and how in some way that this was 'good for the consumer'. It had been a dryish day so far but rain was expected so we were put on a hardstanding.
Day 2 Starting: Edale to Colden
It is a fairly short if narrow drive to Edale from Peak Forest and it took about 30 minutes once we decided not to park at the railway station and instead drive up to the Old Nags Head which is at the start of The Pennine Way. I wouldn't be surprised if most walkers had taken similar pictures to these before setting out. The signposts on the PW just show the next point so that one just notes that Upper Booth is one and a quarter miles away, no mention of the 260 plus miles to Kirk Yetholm!
To get to the first crossing point involves us taking a large detour, out of the Hope Valley and up to the A57 which becomes the Snake Pass on the way to Glossop. By the time we get near the crossing point we are in damp cloud. A walker would have spent three and a half hours getting to this point and much of that would have been going up because this section involves the second biggest ascent of the whole way, 600 meters. And when they get to the snake pass what can they see? On a day like today, not much, it looked pretty bleak especially the view north over the road:
Crossing Point 1 The A57
We went into Glossop and out again on the B6105. There was no chance of stopping at the next crossing point because of the extra traffic caused by work on new pylons straddling the road ahead. To get to the next PW crossing point we went via Holme Moss above Holmfirth, the road still bearing the graffitti of the 2014 Tour De France. We stopped at the carpark which had a piece of artwork which I chose to frame the Digley reservoir that we would pass shortly. This gave us a shortcut (avoiding Holmfirth) to the A635 which the PW crossed near Wassenden head.
By now the walkers would be well into day two. I should explain that in the various guides there are itineraries for slow, medium and fast paces that are also modified depending on if you are mainly seeking B&B, hostels or wildcamping etc. The fastest take 12-13 days and the slowest 20-22 days. For the purpose of this blog I will be using the medium pace of around 17 days.
Anyway there is no fanfare to greet you as you cross the A635, even the signpost is understated, not even telling you where you have been or where you are going. So we carried on over the ill-famed Saddleworth Moor and through the edge of Greater Manchester.
Crossing Point 3 Wassenden Head
By the time we got onto the A62 and stopped where the PW crosses at Standedge, the weather had much improved. We thought the views back to Oldham particularly fine. Doreen and Lottie walked a few yards on the PW whilst I made lunch.
Crossing Point 4 Standedge
In order to cut down unecessary mileage Doreen was using the electronic OS maps on my iPad ViewRanger App. This was greatly helping especially as we picked our way through the narrow roads and steep inclines around Slaithwaite and onto the A640 just South of the M62. Now travelling west we had two more crossings before we would cross that motorway. At the first we saw a slab paved way leading south but as you can see there are two paths and if you were walking north to south you might not be able to say which one to take, my guide book said nothing about the other path but on the map it was clear the minor one to the right of the picture was the PW. It would be difficult navigation in the weather that we had earlier.
Crossing Point 5 A640
The next crossing was at a large tatty layby on the A672 adjacent to the M62 my guide said their might be a 'chip van' here, but if you were hoping for chips then you would have been dissapointed all there was were lorries backing up and turning round. We didn't stop neither did we venture onto the M62 a quarter of a mile further on where the PW crosses over on a pedestrian bridge. Instead we carried on under it and down to Ripponden where a hairpin turn onto the A58 took us back west again to the next crossing by the White House Inn. Walkers most probably will be on day three by now, by my reckoning it will be close to lunchtime, handy.
Crossing Point 7 White House
The next crossing is on the A646 next to the R. Calder, on the approach to Mytholm. If I had had my wits about me we could have stopped a little before the PW and walked 50 yards to take photos but at the crossing point itself there was nowhere to pull over and pressure of traffic kept us going. This day has had lots of main roads but although there will be more they will be much more spread out and little roads will be prevalent. In fact the first of these is about to present itself. It was in this area, Mytholm, that we met our first obstacle by way of 6'6 width limits when in the planning stage. So we had to go into Hebden Bridge and take a minor road to Colden it still looked narrow and steep but it was on a bus route. We had several campsites in mind but from the PW guide knew there was one at Jack Bridge near the pub just after we crossed the PW but didn't know if it was just for tents. We went there on spec and it was ok, well more or less ok.
Crossing point 9 Colden
At schooltime the pub carpark fills up with cars on the school run so we had to pitch up before contacting the owner, who isn't at the pub, there is a number to ring but no coverage on EE or 3 (nor vodafone either apparently) however one of the school mums said that the owner would be around soon and so she was half an hour later with kids in tow. In the meantime we approached a gazebo between two tents next to our hardstanding where someone was sitting with their back to us only to veer off before making contact as she was naked. In my guidebook it says that nearby Hebden Bridge was named Europe's funkiest place to live. Late that evening all manner of hippy like people turned up, ribbons in their purple hair, tie dye vests etc and that was the men. But by 10.30 there was no talking but sounds of 'activity' in the tents.
Day 3 Colden to Thornton in Craven
One of the more normal campers at Colden was a young woman who was doing the PW. She was just starting day 4, was she on schedule I asked, 'more or less' she said. How's it going I asked, because I saw her limping a bit as she headed towards the pub last night, 'ok so far' was her reply. I guess you get out of practice with your conversation when you have been walking on your own for three days. I checked up and yes if anything she was going slightly faster than medium pace. Later just before we both hit the road I had a longer chat, in retrospect she may have been heading for the loo when I accosted her earlier.
Quite frankly yesterday was hard work, lots of navigation and main roads, with very little reward in terms of scenery or views so we were going to take much of today off. We started out by recrossing the PW and heading down into Hebden Bridge. Looking for a left turn we dived into this narrow road when the TomTom said we should and found ourselves in a narrow street with cars parked on the pavement, we inched our way past. The only reason the SatNav was on was to find Oxenhope Station later and we resolved to largely ignore it after that near miss. Hebden Bridge is perched on a gorge and looked like a place to explore, but if you are in a motorhome find a carpark somewhere and take a bus to it. Even the main road out was fraught with difficulties. So to Oxenhope.
Some will know that Oxenhope is at one end of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, made especially famous by being the main location of the Railway Children film. It is only 5 or so miles long but today was going to be even shorter as the BBC were filming on the line near Keighley and today the train would terminate at Ingrow. Still it went through the famous Oakworth station even though today for filming reasons it said it was 'Furness'. (all except the gas lamps they still said 'Oakworth'. A vintage bus was laid on to take passengers on to Keighley but we stayed put and went to one of the two railway museums at Ingrow. Some purchases were made. We have decide that its time the grandchildren moved on from 'Thomas the Tank Engine' to 'Peter's Railway'.
OAKWORTH or FURNESS
After making the return journey we set off for Haworth where I parked up while Doreen went to the parsonage, which is the Bronte Museum. As I went to pay for the car park I was accosted by a man with a stall, blocking the way to the ticket machine. For £10 he said I could have his latest book discounted from £15 with much of the proceeds going to the RAF Benevolent Fund and I wouldn't have to pay for parking. I think that swung it, later I was to find parking would have only cost 90p! Trouble is I am used to Salisbury prices two hours in central Salisbury is £6. I have never read a book like it. Gents of a certain age who got the Rover or the Wizard as kids would have recognised the spiffing yarn style of war story which was enhanced (?) by adding lots of sex and a transgender heroine. You had to keep reading it to find out what happened next but it was rubbish and it sold two hundred yards from the Bronte shrine!
Leaving Haworth we went to across the hills on an unclassified road towards Colne. As we neared the crossing point (Our number 10) at the west end of Ponden reservoir we saw a lone walker crossing the road, it was our young walker from last nights campsite, we said hello as she disappeared over the wall. Just think about the coincidence for the moment. We had been at our leisure all morning and some of the afternoon (it was now about 3pm) she was only about 4 hours from Colden, so she was running behind schedule, although she had said she only had 12 miles to go today. Then she crosses the road in front of us. Half a minute either way and we would have missed her completely.
We think we saw the PW crossing at Ickornshaw/Cowling but in villages its often just a nondescript finger post which unless you are on foot you can easily miss. We were on the A6068 in school run traffic so perhaps missed seeing it but definately crossed the PW. The next one on another unclassified minor road was near the Hare and Hounds pub in Lothersdale and easy to see.
Crossing Point 12 Lothersdale
We then went to our campsite at Thornton in Craven by way of several more minor roads to Earby and then the A56.
Day 4 Thornton in Craven to Tan Hill.
Crossing Point 13 Thornton in Craven
The PW crosses about half a mile from our campsite just on the A56 a difficult spot to stop at with juggernauts bearing down on you. Then it was back past the campsite up a minor road to the A59 going east. The crossing point was even more difficult than the previous one as an artic was attempting to mate and it chased me all the way to the junction with the A56 but very soon we were back on to unclassified roads. as we approached Gargrave the PW joined our minor road as it crossed over the river Aire. We stopped at the coop for essentials and photographs. Opposite the bridge outside a famous cafe there was this sign, and it showed what a small proportion of the PW we had crossed to date.
Crossing Point 15 Gargrave
Gargrave was a nice place and we will be sure to seek it out next time we are in these parts, but now we were on a mission to get to Malham Tarn and from Malham onwards the road was going to be narrow and steep also the road would be largely parallel to the way, so it would cross us rather than us it. The first crossing of the PW was while the road was still fairly flat at this humpbacked bridge, the PW walkers use this bridge, crossing it towards us before going over the wall on our right into what looked like a field of thistles:
Crossing point 16 Newfield Bridge
We had some confusion as we approached Malham, for some reason we thought that the PW crossed at Kirkby Malham but in reality it follows the river Aire on the eastern bank until you get to Malham where it goes along the road we were on, veering off after a quarter of a mile or so towards Malham Cove. Many visitors to Malham walk this bit of the PW to get to the beauty spot. Our road curved off to the left and by the strict letter of the law we shouldn't be on it as it has a >7'6< sign. Yer honour my van is only 7'5¾" (if I ignore all protrusions that is). Anyway we had no difficulty on the hairpins etc and there are plenty of passing places.
Just after Crossing Point 17 Malham
Just after Malham Tarn the PW crossed our minor road again. This sign gave us some pause and a look at the map 'waterhouses' not being mentioned in our PW guide but a look at the emap showed that is was the area around the top of Malham Tarn. The other direction is easier as we had already noticed Dalehead as being on the approach to Pen-y-Ghent. How would walkers be doing? Well for many it would be at the start of day 6.
Crossing Point 18 Above Malham Tarn
We are now on one of our large detours over the dales via Arncliff and Halton Gill in Littondale ,all to get around Fountains Fell which the walkers plod across. From Halton Gill to our next crossing we go southwest along a road that is signed >7'6< Google street view showed that there were no problems and I wanted to go that way because you get a good set of views of Pen-Y-Ghent.
Pen-y-Ghent from the South East
When I was 18 or 19 and stationed at Catterick I was in the cross country team and we did the three peaks: Ingleborough, Pen y Ghent and Great Whernside. We didn't run it but attempted a fast pace. We had a fell runner as a coach in team whho had done it in around three hours but the target is under 12 hours we took 8. Nowadays, incidently you normally start at the foot of Pen-y-Ghent and Ingleborough is your last peak. We soon got to the next crossing point where the PW is on the road for half a mile before Dalehead, rather than just show another finger post how is this for a sheep's bed?
Crossing point 19 Near Dalehead
After passing through Stainforth we were on the B6749 and passed through Horton in Ribblesdale, crossing point twenty on our way to the Ribblehead Viaduct. Sharp right there onto the B6255 and on to crossing point twentyone in Hawes. When I had the Romahome and visited here twenty years ago there was another route to Hawes past High Birkwith but now part of that route is quite clearly only a bridleway. Hawes was very busy and we didn't even see the start of crossing point twentyone but we did stop at a layby that was at its end but only to let some cars go by not regrettably to take photos. The PW now goes over Great Shunner Fell to Thwaite whilst the road (unclassified) parallels it going past Butter Tubs. If you go this way beware coaches which use this pass often, its also on a bus route. This brings you to Thwaite where the PW is on an east west run.
Crossing Point 22 Thwaite
At Thwaite we briefly joined a B road to Keld then shortly after left on a minor road on a short steep ascent with hairpins before the long slog up to Tan Hill all the time the PW was on our immediate right. At Tan Hill we crossed the PW on our way to the Tan Hill Inn car park. One photo shows the PW leading up to the Inn. Overnight 'parking' is £5 a person but the main attraction of the highest pub in Great Britain is the beer and the food.
Crossing Point 23 Tan Hill
Although not listed as an overnight stop on any of the itineraries, we saw many walkers arrive and several went away in a car or taxi but some stayed overnight. The wind which was strong (see Union Flag) was due to change by 180 degrees overnight and we took advice from the staff on where to park ourselves. It should be around day 8 or 9 for the walkers but on the medium and slow schedules they would just have had a rest day. Its also about 120 miles from the start, so nearly halfway. However for the walkers the biggest challenges lie ahead.
Day 5 Tan Hill to Bellingham.
From Tan Hill to Baldersdale is 10miles for walkers but we had to take one of two detours; east into into Arkengarthdale and up to the A66 a few miles east of Bowes or west towards Brough then east to Bowes. By taking the latter route we went across the PW twice more. Twice? Well just below the A66 the PW splits to allow a route via Bowes or a more straightforward approach to Baldersdale. So on the A66 we went over the direct route which goes on an underpass and then about 2 or so miles latter we went under the other PW carried across the A66 on a pedestrian bridge. I had looked very carefully at the map around Baldersdale which we could access from Cotherstone but the road peters out at the Youth hostel and becomes a gated track. So instead, just north of Cotherstone we turned left and took the very minor road through Hunderthwaite on the other side of the Hury reservoir. We crossed the PW then reversed direction and stopped at the PW to talk to some walkers. This middleaged couple were doing the PW to complete the missing part of their journey from Lands End to John O' Groats. The PW just here passes though Low Birk Hat of Hannah Hauxwell fame unfortunately you can only visit Hannah' s meadow on foot or in an 'authorised vehicle' and there was not a motorhome friendly car park nearby.
Crossing Point 26 High Birk Hat
Half a mile east there was a narrow road going to the western end of Grassholme reservoir and a bridge that the PW crossed as well. It was approached down hill and on a sharp bend and was only just wide enough for us and we had to carefully align ourselves so as not to scrape the sides on the high walls. Out the other side with a sigh of relief it was then only half a mile to the next crossing point, on the B6276.
Crossing Points 27 & 28 Near Grassholme and that Bridge
Now we continued into Middleton in Teesdale where the PW crosses our road. We briefly followed the PW on the B6277 before we crossed the Tees and left the PW on the south bank. A few years ago we walked part of the PW from High Force down to Low Force and got slightly lost on our return trip across country but the hotel by High force was the furthest we got north on the B6277 and it promised good views later. After the PW leaves High Force it follows the Tees for a while then goes mainly west but a little bit south as well skirting Dufton Fell to the village of Dufton. Its not a bad journey for the walkers allegedly and just before the end you come to the top of High Cup a deep glacial valley. For us to get to Dufton (see map above) we would have to retrace our journey on the B6276 back to the A66 at Brough and as far west as Appleby in Westmorland so we ignored that crossing and carried on up the B6277 enjoying the views until we were almost at Alston then diverted down the hill to Garrigal. After the PW leaves Dufton it goes over the infamous Crossfell in a norheasterly direction to Garrigal, that 16 miles is amongst the toughest on the PW. Anyway in Garrigal it follows this street and I imagine many make this their night stop after probably 12 or 13 days.
Crossing Point 30 Garrigal
Crossing point 31 is just south of Alston on the bridge over the South Tyne then crossing points 32 to 37 are all crossing the A689 in a ten mile stretch of that road between Alston and Lambley so it was crossing point after crossing point for the next twenty minutes. Here are two of them:
Crossing Point 32 and 33 On A689
I had carefully looked over the next bit of the route as on the face of it it was too narrow and twist with lots of double chevrons but with the aid of satellite imagery I pretty sure we could make it and so it was to be passing crossing point 38 at Kellah burn without incident but shortly after a similar Chausson to ours came the other way on a narrow bit and we had to squeeze by, its driver asked me the way to a campsite that wasn't on our map as far as I could see, he was navigating by postcode, always dodgy in the countryside.
This route of ours was a shortcut to the A69 and Greenhead where I thought the map showed the PW crossing the B6318 in the village. Epic fail, we crossed a long distance path called 'A Pennine Journey' there but the PW crossed half a mile north and then merged with several other long distance paths including 'A Pennine Journey' so we missed planned crossing 39. We had also gone past one of my possible campsites for the night but it was still only mid-afternoon on a sunny day so we pressed on with the PW going east just a little to our north along Hadrians wall until as the line of Hadrians wall went slighly south of the B6318 and the PW veered north and then we turned north and then west to cross it again.
As we turned off the B6320 onto a very minor road we noticed a sign for falconry, then a little later just the word 'Eagles', every half mile or so there was another notice and another bird to entice you on but it was a narrow road so we were travelling slowly and it seemed a huge number of notices and a very long journey to Ladyhill where the falconry displays took place. Coincidently that's where we met the PW again, then at Whygate we turned east again and met the PW on our way back to Wark to rejoin the B6320.
Crossing Points 40 Ladyhill and 41 Leadgate
It was only a short journey to our campsite at Bellingham but a few yards before getting there the PW came off Ealinghamrigg common and crossed the road to the pavement opposite leading into the village. We had come much further than we had planned and it left us with only three more crossing points. Bellingham C&CC campsite is very good and we enjoyed a good night's sleep and the best showers of this, or any other trip we could remember.
Day 6 Bellingham to Kirk Yetholm.
As can be seen from the map its quite a trek yet for the walkers, two or three days worth. Bellingham (pronounced Bellinjum by the way) is a lovely little village the PW passes right though and is an overnight stop on most walkers schedules who by now have probably been walking for two weeks. We restocked in the coop and posted some letters and cards before braving Scotland! walkers have to do the same Just a couple of miles north on the B6320 we came to crossing 43.
Crossing Point 43 North of Bellingham
Then for us it was up to the A68 and on to Byrness. From the map the PW crosses the A68 between a hotel and Byrness village. We didn't see the crossing point, nor the hotel for that matter, but its a fast road and we were in traffic. Now for the walker the biggest challenge of all and the biggest decision. There is nothing much in the way of habitation on the 27 miles from Byrness to Kirk Yetholm so do you attempt to do it in one go burning yourself out on your last day. Most opt for two days and if wild camping or bunking may use one of the two refuge huts however one is only 4 hours from Byrness the other 3 before Kirk Yetholm so neither at the halfway stage. The other alternatives involve coming down off the PW and seeking accomodation at a hostel or in a village both involve a mile or two of extra walking and in the morning a steep climb back to the PW before continuing. For us its much simpler we aim for the border at Carter Bar on the A68 and follow that road into Jedburgh.
Just over the border at Carter Bar
The walker meanwhile crosses and recrosses the border as he slogs across the Cheviot hills. Today wouldn't have been a bad day for it, mostly sunny but with a tad too much wind for comfort. Having left Jedburgh on the A698 we look for the B6401 to Town Yetholm. We are delayed for twenty or so minutes there as we came across a large (over 100?) common riders from Kelso who were just leaving town but followed by all the support vehicles and tourists who had been watching the spectacle. It was then a short drive through the crowds to Kirk Yetholm and the end of the Pennine Way. We had a beer!
Well we weren't staying in Kirk Yetholm so made our way back into England and headed fro Seahouses and Beadnell where we intended to stay for a week or so at a C&CC Temporary Holiday Site practically on the beach at Beadnell. As we relaxed there we where full of admiration for anyone who has walked the PW. We know of someone who has done it in two hits and he told us it left him physically, emotionally and spiritually drained and he is a vicar!