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Friday, 4 September 2009

Hadrans Wall day 5 Birdoswald to Carlisle

I think that Cumbria is in the North-West of England. Carlisle is, surely, a North-Western city. So, when the weatherman said it will be wet in North-east England, it could be argued that in Cumbria, there wouldn’t be so much rain.
Apparently not. I set off from Birdoswald at 9:00 am in chucking rain and walked for the next five and a half hours in chucking rain, and a further hour in drizzle.
A Kiwi in an unusual jacket and hat I met along the way suggested that England wouldn’t be so nice and green but for the rain. And, as for the mud? Mud? You’ve seen nothing like the mud we’ve got 176 degrees South of here, mate..
As the day continued, the mud got muddier and the fields got more flooded. In parts they were quite shallow – only a few inches. In others, things were getting serious for the worms. I considered taking off my boots and socks before they wetted out completely. Maybe I should have done. Bare feet could well have been just the thing.
Its very soft and sloppy.
I pressed ever Westwards towards the brightening sky. It was just a different colour of rain. I sheltered in a sort of garden hut in a garden at Haytongate. I made a cup of tea, considered the mars bars too expensive at a quid a go and put my money for the tea in the honesty box. I read the messages on the wall. The emperor Hadrian was, apparently complaining about the state we’d left his wall in, and various peope said thanks for the tea… Later, there was a wooden box in a grassy (slightly underwater) lane. Inside the box there were sweeties and crisps and a little dish to put your money in.
It’s a good idea, this, provided nobody nicks anything.
Was the bar at the closed pub in Walltown really an “honesty bar”. I didn’t have time to find out, I had to keep going towards Carlisle and the last bus to Birdoswald. It would be an expensive bus-miss either in terms of extra walking effort or yer actual money.
Eventually, after 18 miles of mud and rain and Himalayan balsam by the riverside – I arrived in Carlisle – and promptly got lost, passing Debenhams three times from different directions.
I caught the AD122 bus back to Birdoswald, though, with 20 minutes to spare. Possibly a close run thing.
Rain? Don’t talk to me about rain….
18 and a half miles and just 700 feet of climbing.
Probably a very nice walk on a sunny day in early September. The brambles are fruiting and the elderberries will be ready in a week or so – so if you want to make wine, there’s absolutely loads of ‘em.
And there’s sloes too….
And very depressed-looking cattle and sheep.
But what of the route – well, it’s easy again. Very easy walking, in fact. Not much uphill at all either, and its still well waymarked. And, apart from the honesty tuck shops, there’s a few pubs/hotels and a farm near Crosby on Eden which does snacks.
The archaeology gradually disappear to just a flooded ditch (maybe not always flooded!) – and then there’s a bit of lane walking, then some nice riverside paths which take the walker into Carlisle without seeing much of the city. It’s a short trundle into the City Centre.
Nearly finished this – just 14 miles to go.


ukmase said...

Your getting close to the end now Mike. The honesty bar, i am assuming you mean the Centurian Inn - well i walked out because the landlord was a prat.....

mike knipe said...

That's right, Mase, it was the Centurion. I'm hoping to finish HW tommorrow.
Forecast is for fine, sunny weather. (Eck!)
But what shall I do next?

ukmase said...

I quite fancy the Ridgeway for next year.

mike knipe said...

The thinking cap's on, Paul - I'm having another crack at the TGO Challenge next year, and I've thoughts on walking up the middle of the Isle of man - and back down a bit of the coast.
Dales Way, perhaps - just enough for a week....

mike knipe said... forgetting Dartmoor, obviously....