Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Wall - Once Brewed

Distance: 20,8km.

It is starting to become a routine now, to start the stage with a specific part of the wall. This time we start at Chesters Fort (Cilurnum) at Chollerford. But first we have to eat some breakfast in Wall and then walk the little trip to the remains of the fort. The sky is grey and bears omens of bad weather.

Chesters Fort at Chollerford.

Alessandra at Black Carts.

As the trail now moves over higher contours is it here also much clearer contours of the remains of the fort than at Segedunum. You can walk in between the remaining parts and get more of a feeling how it was here before. There is a quiet moment down by the river with an overview over where the wall crossed the river North Tyne.

Back on the trail some lonely drops of water are coming from the sky while we walk alongside the road out of Chollerford. After Walwick the path follows green meadows and fields. Cows are grazing and are looking stupidly at us. We pass innumerable gates and stiles. At Black Carts we enter the Northumberland National Park; from here large parts of the wall are visible alongside the trail.

View to the heath and the moorland to the north, the desolate mood accentuated by the grey weather.

Remains of a turret at Sewing Shields.

The landscape around us takes on a more and more desolate form, though that is kind of a vague thing to say about England. In the horizon the landscape is undulating more and more under the grey veil. The rain greets us after Milecastle 30, together with the wall. We pass Brocolitia Fort, but we can see more of the Mithraeum temple than the fort.

Alessandra and me on our way up the Sewingshields Crags.

While the rain creates a grey and thin blanket over us and the wastelands of the barbarians we wander along the remains of a wall of past times. At Carraw a sign give promises of tea and refreshments. We walk through the backside of a farm and are met with the sight of a dead cow and calf. We turn and take the route around. The quite morbid sight doesn't hinder us from getting a good cup of hot tea in the rain at Carraw Bed & Breakfast though.

Sewingshields Crags.

Bromlee Lough.

Then the landscape unfolds to a feeling of the moor. In old days it must have been considered a very desolate place, which makes you wonder how it must have been for the roman soldiers that patrolled the wall here. Desolate and abandoned, with the barbarians howling outside of the wall during the nights. Now it's quiet on the moor. A little lake emerge on the other side of a complete other wall than Hadrian's, Shield on the Wall Dam. The tranquility in the national park is torn apart by a large group of motorcyclists just afterwards.

Undulating hills and crags.

In the horizon there have now become more and more distinct crags visible. The rain has gone quiet when we walk through a small forest by Sewing Shields. We're now gliding into a mythical landscape, where the wall is going over Sewingshields Crags with a great view towards the desolate north. The sky is colored like the inside of a shell, with a kind of pale pearlescent color. A nice light becomes a beautiful sight when Bromlee Lough appears and the view is dominated by the distinct shapes of the crags that undulate onwards in the horizon. The reconstructed wall of John Clayton goes along the hillsides on the top of the crags.

Remains of the Roman Fort at Housesteads (Vercovicium). We flipped a coin wether to go in to look at the ruins or not, we ended up going in.

The known northern gate of Milecastle 37.

We crawl over the wall at King's Wicket to eat lunch in shelter for the wind, but at that side we're not sheltered from the scots in the north. The third fort stands in line waiting for us when we arrive at Housesteads, or Vercovicium, here the fort is even more preserved. Up to 800 men were stationed here. We stamp our third stamp of seven before walking in between the ruins. With the fort guarding towards the north beyond us we walk on further towards the end of today's journey.

Looking back in the direction we came from, the crags and the hills are breaking up the otherwise flat and desolate landscape.

Sycamore Gap. A big sycamore tree is filling up the gap between two hills.

At Crag Lough the sides of the hills are going straight downwards; little farms are visible here and there. And then the trail is going steep down to Sycamore Gap, where it isn't hard to understand how it got its name. In the middle of the crags a huge and lonely sycamore tree is standing. A clear sign that we're near today's destination, at the top of the hill I can look down at the Twice Brewed Inn in Once Brewed. The names make me think of what I want now, a good and cold beer to celebrate today's great walk.

We abandon the thoughts of going to Vindobala, another fort that is located a couple of kilometers away from the inn. The fort isn't said to be more special than those we have seen already, but the museum there contains supposedly a lot of artifacts that has been excavated from the fort that could be interesting to see. Time isn't always available. In the evening there is a lot of life and a nice atmosphere at the inn, quiz in the bar. We go to sleep while the night outside gets darker by the rain that yet again is being released over Hadrian's Wall.

The Twice Brewed Inn in Once Brewed.

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