I don’t know how many miles I walked today but the weather was in my favor, and for much of the time, the gale wind was at my back.
The walk from Steel Rig to Housteads was entirely up and down. It’s the one part of the wall where you are permitted to walk on the wall for a distance. At this point, the wall is on a sheer drop down to a glacial lake or tarn. The forest and Scotland are ever present to the north.
I was delighted to find heather and creeping thyme growing on the crags in their natural environments, and happy to be hiking alone. I stopped so many times to take photographs, I would have driven a walking partner out of her mind.
At the Housteads Roman fort, I saw what are billed as the best preserved Roman latrines anywhere in England! This site is situated in a spot with 360• view. It’s easy to see why they chose to build there.
While waiting for the bus, I encountered another Volunteer Guide. He came striding into the car park dressed in a black and white fine checked kilt. I hailed him up and we got into a great conversation. The checked pattern on his kilt is the local version, to represent the black faced sheep which are the local breed. He was well versed in local history, and told me the people in Northumberland still identify with the north, and are the same stock as Scots. The borders are merely political, not cultural, he said. While talking about this and the history of bagpipes, I realized I was supposed to be catching the bus, and mentioned it. There it goes, he said pointing toward the main road.
I walked to my next stop, Vindolanda, which is an active archaeologic dig, and has a fantastic state of the art museum and gardens. At this site they found wooden tablets with Roman writing on them, and the presentation of this is by far the best historical museum exhibit I’ve ever seen. The artifacts are presented in such a way that they are entirely in context. The dig at the site of this fort and community is ongoing, and extensive.
The wall walkers are a moving community. One runs into people all over the place. Today I saw three long distance runners with mud up to their knees, running up and down the hills.
I’m spent tonight, and my feet and lower back are ready for a day off tomorrow. My Kiwi friends have offered to give me a lift to Hexham to pick up the train. Today the rain held off until just after I got back to the hostel.
The woman from Westbrook just completed the Cotswold Way. She said they have been having much more rain there than anywhere else in the UK, and the walking was horrendously muddy. Sigh. That’s my next trek, Hopefully I will continue to drag sunny sky and drying breezes wherever I go, as I have so far.