We’ve definitely walked the walk! I woke this morning feeling excited, knowing that by tonight are journey would be over. Following the riverside path we made our way into Newcastle.
The quayside was thronged with people enjoying a browse around the Sunday Market. For us, the sight of the bridges marked roughly half way for the day. We paused for refreshments before striding away down river again. As we passed through St Anthony’s Point it was very quiet and felt rural, but signs warning of land contamination gave us clues as to its industrial pass.
Diversion signs for the path made us groan, but fortunately it didn’t add on extra miles and we arrived at Segedunum at 14:00.
And so the team will spend a last night in Tynemouth before we retreat to the north once more. It’s been a fabulous experience and I can’t thank my team mates enough for getting me through the tough points- adding that extra special feeling to the whole trip
Ok- the first part of our walk felt more like a steeple chase with stile, after stile, after stile. Setting of from Bowness a week ago we hadn’t appreciated just how much hurdling was involved!
We left the last major pieces of Wall and Vallum behind too.
There was a subtle shift in the landscape too moving from arable to more urban. Tonight we are at The Keelman, Newburn, which is buzzing with people. Maybe the walk into Newcastle city centre won’t be quite as an abrupt culture shock as I’d anticipated after all
Waking up to a new day with the anticipation of what lies ahead is good. This morning I can also hear chickens chuckling around- a reminder of home. A leisurely coffee also offers time to reflect on previous days. To walk the Wall in one go is fantastic, but the down side is, unless you have a long period to do it in, you can never linger too long in one place. I’m already planning sorties to the major sites again, but for now, am going to enjoy our penultimate day.
Another amazing day! I’ve run out of adjectives to describe how brilliant the trek has been. Yes we are tired, our knees ache and our feet are blistered, but I wouldn’t miss this for the world.
Today we had a short walk so began with a couple of hours around Chesters Fort. I’m really taken with Roman plumbing and the bath house is very well preserved here.
Wall niches for clothing or statues in the changing rooms and flushing system for the latrine (below)
Then the final push, a big climb out of Chollerford safe in the knowledge it’s pretty much downhill all the way to Newcastle. Looking back at the crags we realised just what a long way we’ve traveled.
Staying the night in the pretty town of Corbridge. Jane and I dived into the Roman town. Bewildering in its complexity, and definitely need more than an hour there!
What a great day! Over breakfast, as we watched the mist lift from the crags, the realisation that we had completed slightly over half our journey, sank in. Time has taken on a different meaning.
We rejoined the path at Steel Rigg and soon had our first uphill scramble
to be rewarded with a great piece of wall archaeology
Thence onwards, up and down to the iconic Sycamore Gap. I make no apology for getting misty eyed about trees and this one is beautiful in a stunning setting
Buoyed by the sunshine we pressed on to Housesteads Fort. Sadly we could only have a quick dash around before pressing on. The scale of the place, like Birdoswald took me aback. It was fascinating to see Roman central heating and, of course, the famous communal latrines.
Passing more turrets and mike castles we found ourselves at The Temple of Mithras. The entrance was guarded by a mercifully tranquil herd of cattle who inquisitively sniffed our rucksacks as we stood reading the information board. Maybe Mithras was looking out for us as we moved on unscathed through the changing countryside. Roller coaster crags we replaced with gently rolling fields…..
Rain! Fortunately we did get a couple of breaks in the weather to admire the view. As we climbed out of Gilsland and up onto the Riggs we had ample sections of Wall to see. One can only admire the effort and structural engineering which went into the Wall’s construction.
Feeling a little like mountain goats we are appreciating our night stop at Saughy Rigg
After a great night’s sleep we were ready for our day’s march. Stopped off at Walton for tea and cake at The Reading Room cafe which made up for yesterday’s disappointing lack of cakes. Approaching Birdoswald we started to pick up some astounding earthworks
And then to our delight we found ourselves alongside big chunks of Wall.
Birdoswald Fort is immense, with impressive remains of granaries and a few other buildings. We were all particularly taken with the gateways: 4 grown adults drooling over gatepost sockets!
After another couple of miles we arrived at our B&B excited about what we’ve achieved and looking forward to another amazing day tomorrow.
PS The cows were well behaved today 🙂