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Report 1057: Newcastle and Hadrian's Wall

By PatrickLondon from London, England, Summer 2006

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Page 2 of 5: 19 June: First day's walking: Chesters Fort to Housesteads Fort

photo by Patrick Wallace

There are points where you can see the wall snaking away along the tops of all the crags in view

The wind seemed to be blowing the clouds away, and in the event this was a very sunny day (I forgot to bring sun block: the path is mostly in open country and on exposed hill crags, so you feel the full effect of whatever weather is going, and I still am, nearly a week later). As the walk got away from the road and started to rise through lush pastureland, this seemed to be everything I had been hoping for. The wind dropped to the point where it just made the buttercups and daisies dance, the sheep and cows grazed contently, the larks and swallows were on the wing: and so, with a whistling roar, were the RAF's low-level training jets. Just as well I hadn't got my flask of coffee open.

Eventually the path rose through woodland to high crags with spectacular views, descending into Housesteads fort and museum. I'd reached it in good time, and had some time to kill before being picked up to be taken to the next B&B:

Gibbs Hill Farm, Bardon Mill, Hexham NE47 7AP telephone: 01434 344030.

A complex of farm B&B and bunkhouse accommodation a long way from the main road and path - you would need a car to get here. But the housemartins swooped about the eaves, I could see pheasants strolling through the fields, and there was nothing to be heard but the occasional bleat (a very insistent lamb at the kitchen door the next morning) - and the RAF, of course. Another very comfortable stay (the taxi driver, laid on by Contours, said, "So you'll have Mrs Gibson to make a fuss of you," and she was indeed very hospitable). Dinner again involved being driven, with two merry widows from Yorkshire who were also staying at Gibbs Hill, to a neighbouring B&B - that is to say, a couple of miles away - which employs a chef and takes in people from a range of B&Bs around: Saughy Rigg Farm, Twice Brewed, Haltwhistle NE49 9PT, telephone: 01434 344120.

The meal was pretty up market - a warm salad starter, carrot and ginger soup (delicious), pork with apricots (again, far too much for me, though strangely I could find room for the sticky toffee pudding) - 15.50, or 20 including my share of the wine.

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