After a breakfast of champions (I had the pancakes, Jane probably porridge or at least muesli!), we were given a lift to where we had left off the day before, the parking lot at Steel Rigg Craggs.
It started off beautifully, if a bit chilly, and you can see what it looks like in the sunshine in the picture below. We had rain on and off during the walk today, but nothing too intolerable. The temperature was definitely cooler, however, and I needed my fleece today. We were still climbing up, but the worst was definitely behind us, meaning that most of what lay ahead was D-O-W-N... :)
We reached the highest point on the trail quite early on, Winshields Crag, at 345 feet above sea level.
The scenery just gets better and better.
I believe that's Saughy Rigg, aka "Soggy Bottom" in the photo. Look at the location! The beautiful Northumberland National Park.
I didn't check particularly carefully, but I THINK this marks the highest point on the Winshields. The views were breathtaking.
This is how easy it is to see the weather changing - literally right before your eyes!
Can you see the rainbow??
We've come SO far, but we still have so far to go. Basically if you follow the line of hills, that's the route. Silly Romans. Made it harder on themselves really.
I loved these little flowers - I think they're bluebells. They struggled along in all these cracks and pockets in the wall, and really stood out.
Another Milecastle - on a slope. Those Romans did a lot of climbing.
...past beautiful, isolated crofts...
(this is their view, btw!)
...and up more hills...
The remains of Walltown Quarry.
Once I stopped seeing so many spirals, I started seeing feathers. If I saw feathers on the ground, I knew we were going the right way. This one was at our lunch spot.
I saw many grey & white feathers (wood pigeon) and plenty of black ones.
As signs go, they aren't bad:
GREY - peace and neutrality (as it is in the middle of black and white), authenticness, flexibility.
Grey and white symbolise hope (like the pigeon feathers).
BLACK (crow feathers) - protection, warning, repelling or warning of negative energy, death (as in a closed chapter), mystical wisdom - a sign that you are undergoing a spiritual initiation, growth or increased wisdom. When the feathers are irridescent, oir represents high mystical insight (especially if there is a shiny irridescence).
The whole scene changes when you look behind (and have sunshine!).
We took time to walk the Labyrinth. We had time to explore a bit today as we were making good time. It was brand new, the shrubs only hip-high in places, but it was peaceful and pretty and tied in beautifully with our spiral-themed hike! :)
Climbed this stile towards the small, pretty village of Longbyre, which contains the remains of Thirlwall Castle. In the field were over a dozen calves and their mamas, quite content and not the least bothered by the intruders. But dog walkers take note: mama cows are fiercely protective of their babies, so to keep all safe, put your dog on a lead and be very, very respectful as you pass. Apparently you are to let your dog go and fend for itself if the cows run at you. Difficult, but sensible really. The dog will be more able to take care of itself and move faster without you.
Thirwall Castle. Oh, look. It's at the top of a hill.
The sun came out in time to show us the true, warm colours of the stone.
Rolling hills now, wrapping around pretty villages and cottages.
Through the Vallum (the protective ditch that ran behind the Wall).
People really know how to make the most of their gardens up here!
Coming into Gilsland. We took a slight wrong turn trying to find the High Street and headed straight along the trail again.
But eventually found the delightful, cozy, warm and welcoming House of Meg Tearoom. We had a lovely hour of relaxation, tea and cake before heading off to find our next B&B.
Not too much further to go (3 more days)! We're still on the right track - the B6318 is our roadway guide.
The creative front garden of the Brookside Villa B&B.
Relaxing in our lovely room after a long walk. This was nice to arrive at, as we had this for two nights, so could leave our things UN-packed for a change.
We had a superb, filling, delicious dinner after arriving just in time for Pointless (I'm a bit of an addict).
Only 7 miles tomorrow!