Day Four

Day 4 – Saturday 9th May
Hexham to Housesteads

Brenda M dropped us off at Tower Tye to commence our walk to Gilsland, we started off in bright sunshine with a light wind, perfect walking weather. About twenty minutes into the walk and suddenly the wind became much stronger.
Now struggling against the head wind we reached Black Carts Wall which is a great example of the Wall.

Black Carts Wall
Black Carts Wall

We continued on past Limestone corner which gave us some lovely views to the north, and is the Northern most point of the Roman Empire; Brocolitia Fort, which affords nothing to see as it is still unexcavated; and Mithras Temple the altars in this temple are replica’s, the originals are now located in Newcastle Museum of Antiquities.

Mithras Temple
Mithras Temple

After a short break to take photos and chat with some of the other walkers, we moved off into a much stronger wind, and at times we could hardly stand up. By the time we reached Coesike Turret 33b we were fighting the wind to keep ourselves upright.

Struggling to keep upright
Struggling to keep upright

Our lunch was taken in the woods just west of Sewing Shields Farm where we met a couple who came from Gravesend, they were a little puffed and like us had struggled to keep upright.

The climbs and descents heading towards Housesteads along the crags were almost impossible to navigate; with the strong wind came hailstones, heavy rain and visibility was down to a few feet at times. The paths were very slippery on both mud and stones. The hail was stinging our faces and had got through our waterproofs; we were all extremely cold and just wanted to stop. However, we realised that it would not be a good idea to stop, but to keep moving as best we could.

Fortunately Brenda M had managed to get herself from Steel Rigg (walking) to Housesteads and was waiting for us in the cafe/shop. She realised that the path was getting more difficult but could not face going back to Steel Rigg, so she kept going. Hot tea and a warm place to sit soon had us all feeling much better. We decided that as most of our clothes had got wet we would abandon the walk for the day. The next day was going to be our rest day so we used it to do the remainder of today.

The woman serving in the gift shop gave Brenda M a lift back to Steel Rigg to collect our vehicle. As soon as she arrived we loaded everything and headed off for our B&B – Bush Nook, Gilsland; high quality and warm, with lots of hot water for baths. Once refreshed off we went in search of a pub – Sampsons in the village; wonderful atmosphere, good food and excellent value.

Back at Bush Nook we were joined by an American gentleman who had found the first few days difficult coming from Bowness on Solway. The landlady explained to him that the next few days were going to be hard going and that he might be wise to avoid this section. He didn’t have a map, mobile phone or gps. He went on to explain to us that he had been based at Bentwaters in Suffolk (our home county), in the early 60’s, as he was from Texas; a delightful and interesting man to talk with.

Back in our room and Brenda B attempted to dry her boots, soon she was in bed and fast asleep, while I wrote up the journal.

Note: During our walk today there had been an accident on the path around Steel Rigg with someone being airlifted to hospital, we later found out that a woman had broken her ankle.