Relaxing in Gosforth

Gosforth, Cumbria
Monday, June 13, 2016

Lanercost Priory deserves further mention. If ever you are passing by in Cumbria, it is well worth a visit. We did not give it the full time it deserved as we were tired, Jim was waiting for us and it was getting close to closing time. A good part of the priory can be viewed from the outside but for a small fee you can also visit the inside and see more of this well preserved church and Roman ruins. The priory was built using stone from the wall and local red sandstone. As with Whitby Abbey this combination of grey and red allows for interesting decorative stone work.

Lanercost’s three east arches are fully intact soaring some eighty feet high, an estimate of mine. A blue sky would definitely have added drama! The priory was built around 1169. As with all such constructions it no doubt took several years to build. The Scots led several raids on the priory but they must not have had sufficient breakfast or the priory was too well built because they did not destroy all of this magnificent structure.

Lanercost is not directly on Hadrian’s Wall. We walked down a hill some four hundred metres to the priory. It was well worth the descent. If we were planning to walk the full length of Hadrian’s Wall, I think I would plan on shorter distances each day to spend an hour or so at such wonderful sites. An added bonus is that there are tea rooms some of which even sell ice cream. I thoroughly enjoyed my lemon curd ice cream cone. There is also a B and B beside the priory.

It is our impression, based on those we met, that many people drive or take a bus to Hadrian’s Wall then stay in two or three inns or bed and breakfasts along the wall for a few nights each. There is a very large youth hostel currently being built beside Twice Brewed. There is hourly bus service that runs along Military Road and drops people off at B and Bs and historic sites.

There are many interesting sites to explore. Those who walk the wall from coast to coast do not usually allow for enough days to fully explore all the history and beauty the ruins have to offer. We saw the ruins of a seventh century fort that was entirely built from the stones from Hadrian’s Wall. The farm in front of this castle was then built from the stones from the castle. It was incredible to see the sixty foot high castle wall remains standing in the backyard of the farm. The farm is no doubt a few hundred years old. As recently as 1999 people were still hauling stones away from the castle before English Heritage stepped in.

Walking the wall path also meant that we walked another section of the Pennine Way as these overlap for several kilometres. As well as the Coast to Coast and Hadrian’s Wall, we walked parts of the Pennine Way, the Cleveland Way, the Cumbrian Way and most of the Lyke Wake Walk. There is no shortage of public footpaths and bridleways in England.

We did not think we could get lost on Hadrian’s Wall. Just follow the wall. Yesterday we did that and at one point that brought us to a cliff. Lacking a parachute or glider, we decided to retrace our steps and see where others turned left ninety degrees. The winding descent took us safely to Cawfield Quarry and our cappuccino.

We had a leisurely morning at Jim’s. Brian delivered a cup of tea to me in my comfortable bed under a turquoise duvet the colour of which I love and a peaceful print of Padstow at low tide. Serene is how I feel. Brian walked to the variety store and brought back fresh croissants and pain au chocolat.

We did some statistics this morning. Our total Coast to Coast walk was 323.09 kilometres. We averaged 21.5 kilometres a day. We included our two days on Hadrian’s Wall when figuring that our total ascent and descent was 18423 metres. When we calculate the ratio of rise to run, it is
.5of a metre. We compared this to doing the Tour of Mont Blanc and discovered that the elevation changes amount to 10600 metres over 180 kilometres. The ratio is then .59 of a metre. For a twelve day tour of Mont Blanc, the average distance is 15 kilometres per day. Bryan and Susan, are you ready? Any other takers? We can do this! Not today.

We are enjoying our lazy indoor rainy day. We might break out our ponchos later to have a little walk in the rain: an excuse to use our ponchos and find puddles to splash in to clean off yesterday’s manure.

We took our ponchos with us for a little walk around the village. We were not outside five minutes when the rain stopped. We had no use for ponchos. We cannot get the rain to fall even when we look for it!

Many thanks to all for your congratulations and good wishes. We appreciate your encouragement.

Time for tea and scones!

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