From Twice Brewed on Military Road in Northumberland to Lanercost Priory in Cumbria
Walking Along Hadrian’s Wall
558 metres Up, 719 metres Down
8:35 AM to 3:35 PM
Sunday, June 12, 2016
We left Eliane at Twice Brewed. She walked six kilometres, had an informative guided tour of Vindolanda then took a bus and train and arrived safely in Todd Morden where she will explore gardens and food.
It was a longer and tougher walk than we anticipated. We thought it would be 23 kilometres but that did not include the walk from Twice Brewed to the wall where we left off yesterday. Nor did it include a diversion that took us through the village of Gilsland. I think they wanted us to see their two pubs and maybe stop for a brew but we had just had a cappuccino beside the Wallstown Quarry.
After the first ten minutes we had the longest steepest climb and descent on Hadrian’s Wall. Because of the rainy day forecast I was wearing my rain pants. By the top of the second hill, I was down to my t-shirt. By 11 AM we had arrived at the Cawsfield Quarry where a washroom magically appeared. I took off my rain pants that had soaked me from the inside and out on much lighter cooler Solomon pants. There was another woman in the washroom who was making long use of the hand dryer to dry her long wet hair and soggy camping clothes. She was rained on last night while camping. I was so glad not to be her!
Although it rained in the night, in spite of today’s forecast, we had no rain on our walk. It was foggy when we stated this morning but less dense than yesterday’s. For the first several climbs the fog closed in behind us so that after climbing out of a valley we often could not see the hill behind us. We could always see the hills ahead and there were many. We took more than three hours to walk the first ten kilometres.
It was a wonderful surprise to find a snack bar in the middle of nowhere. We sat down at a picnic table and had our coffee with the bacon and sausage sandwiches we made this morning with our leftovers from breakfast. We had to switch to a table in the shade where there was a light breeze so the midges did not devour us. This is the first day in all of our walking that we encountered any type of biting insects. I think we came away unscathed.
The hills also diminished after our break. We still had hills but more gradual and we began to go more down than up. We saw quite a few hikers on the trail both days. Weekends bring out lots of walkers even in the fog. A group of some twenty teenage girls were on the trail early this morning with adult chaperones. They had been camping. They were carrying large packs. I do not know whether this was a youth, church or school group. Not all of them looked happy to be there. Two girls were clinging to each other as they walked. Their faces said, “Rescue us. We should not be here. Where are our warm beds?”
The English love their dogs. At every pub there is a water bowl inside the door and often a jar of dog treats. Dogs are welcome in pubs. There were often as many dogs as people in the pubs. Many dog owners arrive with two or three dogs. We also saw many dogs walking the trails. Many pastures had signs asking that dogs be kept on leads to avoid harming sheep or cows. Probably only half the walkers obeyed this request but generally dogs stayed close to their owners.
We were so happy to see the rolling pastures, stone walls, sheep, lambs, cows and calves that were mostly hidden from us yesterday.
We were even happier to arrive at Lanercost Priory and find Jim waiting for us while he finished his ice cream cone. We are so grateful to Jim for his chauffeuring. Our supply bag had arrived at the tea room; so, we changed our shoes, had an ice cream, looked around the priory and the cemetery. I found and photographed four Wannop ancestor’s gravestones for you, Kate.
After arriving home in Gosforth, Brian and I each had a hot bath and Jim made us excellent gin and tonics and served chips and nuts. And once we were here in the house, it poured for a couple of hours. All of us were happy, Jim because his gardens needed rain and us because we were not walking in rain.
After good pizza and Caesar salad at the Wild Olive, Jim and Brian are neck and neck winning at Hand and Foot and I am way behind. We have leftovers for lunch. Last night all three of us ordered crab ravioli. There was actually a good amount without surplus. I finished my meal.