The day, as you can see, dawned bright and cool, giving us the energy we needed early in the morning to get started. We had big packed lunches from the hotel (an excellent lunch and a great deal for £7.95!), so didn't have to rush to get to a particular place en route. There are plenty, so it's not like we would have starved, but it's always comforting to have an idea of our own modern day version of 'mile markers' - pubs, tea rooms, etc.
Obviously the modern route of the walk doesn't follow the exact route of the original Roman wall, but it does a pretty good job.
Over the years, the wall has been pillaged for its stones to build churches, homes, other walls and various other buildings in the area. It was an easy and, I suppose, sensible resource for this. Why make extra work for yourself when there are ready made building materials already formed and standing idle? So, while there is sadly (comparatively) little remaining in situ, there is still plenty around to see. It's a UNSCO World Heritage Site, so hands very firmly off these days, please.
A beautiful Roman-built bridge in pretty Chollerford, our first destination of the day, 3 miles on from Wall. It's a very narrow bridge, obviously not designed for anything wider than a cart or a Roman legion, so it's single traffic only in turns.
Feeling good about our day so far, standing atop such an historical creation.
Taken from the lovely gardens of the George Hotel.
This lovely creature was very curious and stood watching me for ages. I gave her the name Harriet, although I have no idea why. :) I stood with my hand out, hoping she'd come closer, but she wasn't quite brave enough to touch it.
This is why Harriet was so curious - all these people in her field!
Yay! More of what we came to see - the Wall. We're still smiling, see?
This is Black Carts Turret, one of the 158 turrets en route - they have all been designated a number (not necessarily all have names) - this is probably in the 30's. There are always signs posted, but unfortunately not all are legible - some were just blank metal stands. I suppose the weather is not particularly kind, but it would be a good thing for the UNESCO people and the Northumberland Parks to get some funds together to refresh them. You can see the damage on the one next to me.
Remember to always look back! :)
More beautiful views, but the clouds are moving in, not boding well for the day.
The Carrawburgh Temple of Mithras
Remnants of the alter
There were two of these figures, this one the more complete of the two (I think I may have been sitting on the remains of the other...).
Look where we are! In the middle of nowhere. It was fab. The North is beautiful. Still smiling too...for now.
Wind had picked up a little bit and the temperature had dropped by this point. We were bundled against the weather.
At least we're going the right way - the acorn was our friend. The path is very well marked and we only got lost twice, nearer the end, once when we weren't paying attention to where we were going. That added a couple of miles to our day too.
The wind had become much more noticeable as we climbed and the temperature fell further. It hadn't started raining though. Yet.
But look at those views!
Coming up to Housesteads Fort, in a steady drizzle. Neither of us was feeling particularly on form at this point (Jane's Achilles tendon was very sore and giving her trouble and my feet were killing me), but I was determined to see Housesteads after coming this far. We walked up that hill and took the path to the left.
There is ONE entrance and it was exactly opposite the junction of the walls at the top. They didn't make it easy (fair enough, really) although we managed to wander in without a ticket. 15-stubborn minutes later, we wandered out (Thanks, Jane!!), less happy than we were before and still with miles to go.
Those nasty cloudses with their cold, drizzly rainses...
The only portion of the wall you can walk on. Housesteads is a big tourist attraction and most of the people we saw there, I would say, are the day-trippers.
The rain made the rest of the route quite treacherous. It took us longer because there were points where we had to go quite slowly and carefully up and down the crags.
A beautiful, isolated croft, with Crag Lough in the background. I think I had cried a little by this point, wondering what exactly I had signed up for. I was really strugglings.
But still such lovely colour to be found struggling in this gray, wet, cold day.
Another milecastle. I'm not sure where Jane is - either climbing down on the right or over the crest of the hill already. I was determined that even though I was pretty miserable, I was going to record as much of this as I could.
Looking back on what we've done!
It was a really treacherous, steep trek down Steel Rigg crag. By this time, however, the rain had stopped, but it was still wet and muddy and cool.
It looks so easy from here. We were finally (almost!) at our destination. A couple of calls to the B&B got us nowhere, so we had another couple of kilometres to walk. It was a very, very, long day - about 10 hours of hiking. I had trouble getting up the stairs to our room (I'm badly out of shape), and we only had the energy for a bowl of soup and a bun.
The soup was delicious, though, and the stay was great. The conservatory below is the dining room and captured all the sunshine. It was quite a lovely, modern and comfortable refurbished croft.
And we're already almost halfway through our walk!