Today was going to be the shortest walk of the week. And yes it was, just not quite following the wall the whole way.
The good thing was that we had been staying in a B&B at a farm, literally on the path. So as we stepped off the farm we were back on track. We had another glorious start and met up with our track buddies immediately. They had started in the village about 20 minutes earlier, so it was pure coincidence. We walked together for a while. But as things go, you notice the differences in speed as well as interests and we pulled ahead after a toilet break. We also noted that it is easier to walk in a duo than as a foursome. Having said that at some stretches it is quite nice to have company.
It was not long until we came to the point where we had to use an alternative track guide,as we were heading toward Brampton. Brampton is not the Hadrian Wall of course, but as this is a short day, there is this diversion. Initially the diversion and the path do go along the same track for a while. The diversion does not happen until a place called Hayton Gate. Anyway SO and I walked happily admiring the scenery missed an acorn sign. We had to backtrack for about a km again and we saw what happened. On our sing some other posters had been added and between trying to catch what they said we actually missed that what we had been looking for. But back on track we quickly got to Hayton Gate where we would loose The Hadrian Wall path.
At Heyton Gate we teamed up with our track buddies again over lunch and we walked together toward to Lanercoster Priory. As nice as it was to walk together it was also clear that our friends had a much keener interest in the building than we did, so we parted ways again. Our friends did not have the same map that we did (was in their suitcase) and we had two, hence we gave them our spare one, so they would not get lost.
So off we were to Brampton. It was just over the bridge that the confusion began despie the map. We were told by the map to cross the road and get into a small lane to follow the river. Our first try was a “No public access” road, sp that was wrong. Our next try was the path was tar sealed, which was slightly unexpected, for a path which we expected to follow the river, but we it met the map requirements so we walked up. On our right we noted a path that met our expectations more, but it has a big sign “No footpath access”, so we walked further up the tar-sealed road.
It wasn’t long, but steep when we lost the sound of the river. SO and I were totally confused, as the map clearly indicated to follow the river, but went on as the map indicated that a road to the right was needed. After about a km we felt we were well off the track to Brampton and no right turn was to be found or to be seen. So we backtracked. It was on our return that we noticed that the no footpath access road has some small writing under the large “NO footpath access”. The small print said something along the lines of ‘entrance moved up the road’. After a always read the small print moment irritation we walked back to the main road.
There we found the entrance to a forest path that looked a little small and muddy, but a passing cyclist told us that it was a pleasant walk. We decided to give it a go and we walked up the path. Now it was pretty there, muddy but pretty. we also had to conquer two trees that had fallen down over the path, but you know that is adventure. As we went on past a nice waterfall the path became smaller and smaller. By the time we reached the quarry it was no more than 10 cm wide and very close to the fence. So close that the wires nicked my backpack. As we crossed the access road to the path continued to be so small. Not only that the path was overgrown with thistle and nettles.
A thistle wack from the left followed within a flash second with a whoosh sting from the right left me in tears from instant pain and frustration. SO suggested to go back to the access path and walk to the main road. Sniffingly I agreed. The road was not that easy to walk as there was no verge, but it did have some interesting roadkill.
Just walking the road for the next 4 km was not our idea of a fun walk, but got us to where we needed to be; Brampton. Brampton is a small town, but it did have a few things we desperately wanted: a pharmacy to get some toothpicks and eye drops. I needed the eye drops as I had to use a fair bit of antihistamine (both tablet and the lung thing) and they had a side effect that it gives you dry eyes, hence the drops. As soon as I had that my dry eyes were soothed again.
We stayed at a decent Inn this time. The rooms above the pub ae all had Charles Dickens names. We were staying in the Bob Cratchit room. They liked the fact that I immediately said “Oh a Christmas Carol!” As it turns our on our floor it was all from that story, upstairs it was all Oliver Twist. The story being that this Inn had been visited by Charles Dickens when he was alive obviously.
The best thing about the room was the bath and while SO went downstairs to et his well deserved pint of beer, I relaxed in the warm water. When I came downstairs I saw our track buddies with SO. As it turns out they got lost even more than we did. They had interest the “No public access” path, and had walked and walked until somebody noticed them and realised they must be lost as they were quite far from any known footpath/track. The kind driver then had driven them to the the Inn, but one of their backpacks had given in, so they had a bit of an issue to sort out as well. But at least they too could go to spend at the right place where we had been booked in.