East Wallhouses to Humshaugh -- 10.3 miles
The proprietors at our B&B, The Barn, were little seen and little heard! The man showed us our room that evening, and the next morning the lady fixed our breakfast. We seemed to be the only ones there, since we didn't hear a peep from anyone else. They didn't even show up when I fried the adapter for my computer. Whew, it got hot and made a terrible smell! The outlet seemed to be OK (after I wiped the burnt black stuff off of it!) None of the lights or TV went out, and no one came running, so I assume it didn't do any lasting harm. Except that now I had no adapter for my laptop . . .
The "Barn" (our B&B) was sitting on top of the no-longer-existent Hadrian's Wall, so we had about 10 steps to be back on the trail. That was good. The morning was once again in-and-out cloudy, but no rain. The wind, however, was still blowing a pretty good gale. Head on!
WHERE'S THE WALL???
Once again we started climbing walls! My legs should be pretty strong by Thursday when we get to the Crags. Oh dear, the dreaded Crags . . .
I'll put a few pictures of farm animals here, but have hundreds more that I will resist the urge to include and leave them out of my blog. Russ says we could have hiked the whole trail in half the time if I hadn't stopped to take pictures of all the sheep, cows, and rabbits. (Not to mention snails, slugs, and every other living thing!) We didn't see many horses, and nary a pig, on the whole trip. Maybe they were sequestered because of the ominous "swine flu!"
Who wants to see pictures of nothing but grass and trees??
Well heck, Russ! The only time I get to stop walking is when I take pictures!
When we entered this field, the cows were way up the hill. Talk about curious? You'd have thought we were handing out cow candy or whatever it is that cows think are treats.
They started loping toward us like, "C'mon, fellows, there's something strange in our pasture."
About that time I decided I didn't much like being surrounded by a whole herd. I hadn't forgotten the bull story . . .
Sometime the trail was by pastures . . .
and sometimes through pastures . . .
sometimes beside roads,
sometimes on small country lanes,
and occasionally crossing busier roads.
Close to Halton Shields, we met another couple and stopped to visit. They took our picture, and we took theirs.
There were beautiful views in all directions.
This was the first good look we had at the vallum, (big ditch) and the northern ditch, which along with a supply road on the south, created a sort of military zone on either side of Hadrian's Wall. Dug to further hinder the "barbarians" from the north (Scotland) before reaching the Wall itself. We were to see stretches of these ditches for miles and miles even when there was no evidence left of the Wall itself. Sometimes they were grown up with trees and bushes, but here in the grass, they were much more evident.
Sorry Russ, but these were really strange-looking cattle. They had real shaggy faces.
Over we go . . .
Who said this walk was flat??
The gorse (weedy bushes) was in bloom and sometimes the colors were amazing. A lot of it grew in the vallum.
The rabbits loved it, but were rarely still long enough to get a picture . . .
Sometimes those stiles were good for more than getting from one side of the fence to the other!
Our faithful Hadrian's Wall Path sign and acorn.
Stiles, stiles, and more stiles . . .
Sometimes we would see a copse of trees ahead, and the path ususally went right through.
Uh oh, here come the rain clouds again . . .
Late in the afternoon, I was starting feeling draggy, when we came to St. Oswald's Hill--and guess what? A little country tea room! Even better than a country pub!
This one was a welcome sight.
Nothing like being the only customer!
Coffee, cake, pack off, and out of that never-ending wind. What more could a person ask for?
Walking again, past a famous Saxon battle site, my "guide" said there was a very old church close by--St. Oswald's of Lee. It was constructed almost entirely of dismantled Wall stone. So we left the trail and walked up through a field of yellow wild flowers to have a closer look.
I love exploring old cemeteries, and we spent quite awhile reading gravestones and enjoying the beautiful hilltop view.
The church is still in use. Sunlight was streaming through the windows; it was a quiet, peaceful place to rest. The ancient organ at the front looked like it was still in regular use.
Someone had even put fresh flowers in all the windows.
And there was an intact Roman font at the back of the church.
The view behind the church was lovely, too.
Russ wouldn't admit being tired, (heaven forbid), but I noticed as the day went on that even he found it a little easier to sit on top of the stiles occasionally for a short respite!
What do you know? We finally have more of the wall. I really thought we'd be walking beside it a lot of the way. Many pictures you see in the guide books show the trail following beside miles of the wall. Well, not in the first few days, that's for sure.
We'd have been more disappointed, but we actually did this walk mainly for the challenge and the experience of seeing the British countryside up close. The history was interesting, but the Wall wasn't necessarily the most important feature for us. (It's a good thing!)
Back through the wooods . . .
And the pastures . . .
and more wall . . .
And finally the Chollerford Bridge--the end of today's walk. Tomorrow will begin a more hilly section of the hike, and supposedly quite different scenery.
Our B&B, the Mingary Barn, was a good mile off the trail, and we were quite tired by the time we walked to it, through the little village of Humshaugh, just outside of Chollerford. It was a very newly-converted barn. Our room upstairs was tiny, but newly decorated, with lovely furnishings, a small modern bathroom, and a comfortable bed. The only pub in Humshaugh that served food was closed. So the Mingary Barn's owner, Mrs. Val Pesarra, was kind enough to take us and another couple, Mary & Peter Becket, to the near-by village of Wall to get some dinner. Russ and I had a delightful dinner of salmon in dill sauce along with a large portion of fresh mixed veggies. Either that pub had a very good cook or we were just famished from walking over 10 miles! After dinner, we called our host, and she came and fetched the four of us home!
WE SAW THE WALL TODAY!!!
Come with Russ and me as we walk 84 miles coast-to-coast across northern England, following the remains of Emperor Hadrian's amazing fortress....Judy