May 7, 2012
Today breakfast was at 8 am: the Full English Breakfast. Egg, bacon, sausage, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, and toast is far more than we would usually eat for breakfast at home, but it works quite well for walking all day. Usually we save the sausage and maybe a bit of bacon to eat at lunch.
Before we left, our host Owen called over the Highland cows so we could see them up close. The mother and baby came quite close, but not close enough to pat, but the others came right up to the fence where they could be given stale bread. After we said our thank yous and good-byes, we headed west along the path again. The weather was cloudy but dry, so we hoped to have a whole rain-free day. For a good part of the morning we walked along the side of the “vallum”, the wide ditch which was built parallel to the wall.
We stopped at the Whittle Dene bird hide, beside a big lake. There were only a few birds there, perhaps because it was too early in the year. Carrying on along the path, when it got close to noon we saw on our map that there was a flat stone coming up which was a good place for a rest. But when we got there we found that the wind was so cold and strong that it wasn’t a good place for a rest after all. So we continued for a few minutes until we went round a corner and got out of the wind a bit. Christine and Neil arrived after a few minutes and we had lunch there. The views from there were quite nice.
After lunch the trail continued up and down through the fields, over numerous stiles and through numerous gates. We came to Halton Chesters Roman Fort, which was unexcavated, so using our imagination we tried to guess which bumps in the grass were what. But by now the wind was very cold, so we just kept walking. The route was very easy to follow, with acorn-shaped waymarks at every gate and every turn, and we met several groups coming from the west. Climbing the hill to St. Oswald’s Hill Head we were tempted to stop in the tea-house, but both of us had sore feet so we decided to carry on.
Our map took us steeply down through a road, past a piece of the wall, and then along the road past another piece of the wall into Chollerford. By now the rain had started, so we donned rain gear and carried on. Our destination was the museum at Chesters, just outside the town. We found Neil and Christine in Chollerford by the bridge; they had passed us by going directly down the hill instead of walking the two sides of the triangle past the wall fragments. So we all headed over to Chesters. We arrived about 5 pm, which was before closing time, but the Roman Army re-enactments which had been going on all day had just finished. Still, we walked around the ruins of the Roman fort and Rosemary got her Hadrian’s Wall passport stamped.
From there we continued up the hill towards our home for tonight, Greencarts Farm. We finally arrived there and were shown our room with two sets of bunk beds. After all the cold wind today, Rosemary was starting to suffer from hypothermia. Several hot cups of tea and warm clothing eventually took care of that, though. Since evening meals were not available at Greencarts, we phoned out for Indian takeaway. They must have been busy today, since it took over an hour for the food to arrive. There was a nice kitchen in the bunkhouse, so we sat at the table there and ate our meal. We were all tired after the long day in the wind so we went to bed by 10 pm. The bunk beds weren’t the most comfortable, but the duvets were very warm.