The last leg of the Hardian Wall path is from Carlisle to Bowness-on-Solway. A long but easy walk.
As by this stage there were 4 couples that traveled with the same organization in the B&B we had a breakfast full of chatter and comparisons. Unfortunately the American couple had decided to drop out as the lady had hurt her knee. So sad to see, but reality it is not a walk in the park it is a real hike and these things do happen.
Our first stop of course was the Sands centre to get our passport stamped. As we could not find the little stamp box we wandered into the centre. The lady at the desk looked up, saw ou gear and pointed us to the restaurant were we found our target. Once we had our coveted stamp we were truly on our way. Initially the walk was mainly rolling hillside, gradually lowering to the coastline. Around midday we arrived at the Greyhound Inn. It seemed to be the place were all path walkers from both sides came together, as it is halfway that leg for both eastward and westward walkers.
On the first part my left leg had started to hurt. It seemed the calf injury that I had sustained in Philadelphia had reoccurred. Probably a case of overuse and stress on the hills. Nothing a bit of panadol could not handle, so I found myself some at the pub. After our rest we went went on to the coastal road. The coastal road can flood during high tide, but our timing was perfect for low tide and a safe crossing. It was windy very windy, and halfway we found shelter to have lunch and be away from the wind for a while. Cattle is walking in the grasslands around the coastal road, it is completely open with cattle grid at the end of the road, near the villages. The cattle were interesting they seeemed to be non phased about sharing the road with cars, they’d seen it all. In one case the cow just would not budge and stayed standing on the roadin fron of the cattle grid, until the car sounded it’s horn in slight frustration. So funny to watch that one.
As the end of our walk was now in sight now we were counting the maps in our guide book We had 45 detailed maps in the book and we were now on map 43! Some more fields and then the last bit over the disused train track, nearly there. That is when we met Roger. Roger is special. He is clearly retirered with a bit oo much time on his hands. He’s made a huge signpost saying “end of Handrian Wall Path 1 mile”. He’s chatty, friendly and a little nosy. He asked where we came from. And put up our city plus distance on the same pole. after a few minutes of chatting we saw a couple we’d met a few times before. Last time when they arrived at the same time as we did in the Greyhound Inn. The lady had already looked quite tired then, now her husband was carrying both backpacks. As it turns out her back was very very sore. So the fact that she was going to finish was quite an achievement. We walked the last mile together. They stayed at the first B&B in Bowness, we in the last (there are three appearantly). We said our goodbyes, but as we headed to the Banks Promenade for our last stamp we found the couple right behind us. Turns out they had dumped the bag and walked to the finish, which is half way in the village.
SO and I walked on to our B&B had a well deserved shower and went on to the only pub in town. It was full, very full, and not just hikers. But locals also had their night out eating. As we had not made reservations we had a drink and held on to our seat. We ordered early, and were joined by the last couple again. We had a nice evening chatting over life, the path and everything that came to mind. Our other track buddies and the Dutch couple arrived later. It was a feast of recognition there. so many people we’d seen at some stage over the holiday. A nice evening to close off with.