Thursday, June 13, 2013

Once Brewed - Walton

Distance: 27,0km.

It's cloudy weather in the morning when we leave The Twice Brewed Inn and start walking up towards Steel Rigg where the trail continues. The longest stage of the journey ahead of us. A small look backwards from where we came from yesterday brings back great memories, but it's onward we're going. As a change there are no remains of old Roman buildings in the start of the walk this time.

View back in the direction of Sewingshields Crags from Steel Rigg on the way up towards the highest point on the route.

The white acorn nut shows us the way up to the highest point on the walk, Green Slack at 345m. It isn't much to brag about, but since the area around is so flat it will provide a great view of the surroundings anyway. The north is still kind of looking desolate back at us from the top. Like before the wall is undulating up and down the green crags.

Green Slack, the highest point on the trail at 345m.

A tree reaches over the wall and spreads its leaves and branches over the trail.

Going up and down in the emerald landscape and then we're coming to a disused quarry. There some school children are learning how to use a canoe, which is nice; they're also learning how to use a machine gun, which isn't that very nice. Shaking our heads we pass Aesica Roman Fort (or Great Chesters) without quite knowing that we're passing it. At Cockmount Hill the terrain bears resemblance of a highland plateau (only lower). Bromlee Lough and Sewingshields Crags still visible in the background.

Typical British house at Cockmount Hill.

Now the sun is starting to become interested in joining our walk, the clouds are cracking up. In the small gap before Walltown Crags I'm getting confused by the guidebook and we end up walking towards the heath in the wrong direction. After some confusion we find out where we are by Turret 45a. It's getting warmer and down towards Walltown Quarry the sun is illuminating a green landscape in front of us.

We stop for a break down by the little pond at the quarry. The sun can be seen reflecting itself in the water while the ducks croaks from the pond. Behind us lies the last crag on the walk. Not far away lies Carvoran and Magnis Roman Fort, but we're letting the Romans be in peace for this time and continue walking further in the direction of Gilsland. A strong wind is blowing over the fields before Thirlwall, but it is easily subdued by the sound of a fighter jet plane that shortly afterwards is flying straight over us making my ears scream. The ruin of Thirlwall Castle stands just as quiet and watches over us with old eyes.

A resemblance of a highland plateau after Cockmount Hill.

It's a nice walk through lush surroundings before we arrive at Gilsland, we've now descended from the crags and the landscape is much flatter. In a place the trail is also literally going right through a garden. We arrive at Samson Inn just after they've closed serving food, but they're very nice and prepare lunch for us anyway.

A sycamore at Walltown Crags.

At Birdoswald Fort we stamp our passports for the fourth time, but are skipping going in to look at the fort. From outside we could see more than enough of the remains and we have started to make up a clear picture of how the forts looked like.

Walltown Quarry.

The ruin of Thirlwall Castle with eyes from the past watching over the trail.

A serene walk along a quiet road leads us to Haytongate. Here it has been put a sort of small self-serviced store, which reminds me of the Camino. I buy myself a cold coke and put the pound in the honesty box.

Remains of the wall at Gilsland.

A long days walk go towards its end when we're getting closer to Walton, here we're met by a cacophony of bleating sheep, everywhere. On the map there is marked a pub or an inn in Walton that should be lying adjacent to the route, but when we walk through the little place we can't see any trace of it. We're staying the night at a place called Sandysike Bunkhouse that is situated just outside of Walton, the plan was to go there first for then to go back to Walton to get something to eat for dinner. But Alessandra's feet are now hurting quite a lot and she is skeptical to the plan of going back to the village to eat, unsure if she can make it. In the end we give up the search for the inn and continue towards Sandysike, which appears to be quite a lucky stroke.

The Haytongate Hut, a small hut based on trust. You take what you want (refreshments, biscuits, fruits, chocolate, etc.) and then pay for what you take in an honesty box.

We arrive at Sandysike Bunkhouse and receive a warm welcome. We almost haven't come through the doors before we have been offered dinner. It soon gets clear that the only place you could have gotten food from in Walton, Centurion Inn, has been closed for a while. After happily saying yes to the offer of dinner we're being escorted to our room for the night, which is a large almost too personal room. The last remains of the thought going to the inn in Walton disappear when it appear that I can get a cold beer here as well.

Alessandra and me reflected in a mirror by the road at Banks.

The house we're staying at is a typical British stately mansion, the kitchen is just nice. In addition having a room for bed & breakfast they also offer the possibility to camp outside and in a bunkhouse. The two Norwegian boys that we've met, Truls and Kristian, arrives later and are camping outside, in the addition to Karl that goes the trail for charity. We eat dinner together in a dining room that fits the house. Rain sets in while we're eating. We ended a long and nice walk with a nice evening in Sandysike.

The dining room in Sandysike Bunkhouse, Alessandra is satisfied.

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