Monday 14th August [Hadrian 8]
Last day today! I packed up from our Carlisle B&B and drove out to Burgh-by-Sands. I had been nervously shifting my pronunciation between "burra" and "berg", trying to detect the preferred pronunciation. Two strikes: it's "bruff".
No stiles today, just cows, endless flippin' cows. I'm sure there are more cattle than bricks along the length of the wall.
By about halfway through this morning's walk we were following the marshy edges of the Solway, looking over to Scotland where the four cooling towers at Arran were perched, visible from high up on the trail two days previously.
On an ill-advised short cut across some marshland, Bondi was too tired to make a small leap over a deep muddy channel, and ran around to cross through a wider point. He sank up to his shoulders in black brackish silt, and so I had another afternoon of dog-washing to look forward to.
We cruised into Bowness just after noon, making the elapsed time for our walk one week and one half hour. I dropped Bondi off at our lovely B&B, The Old Rectory, not far away from trail's end and caught the bus back to Burgh to pick up the car. I popped back to Carlisle to Tesco's to get food for Bondi. For some reason this store is billed as "Open 24 hours" but it's closed for at least 10 hours every day...
Sitting out on the step I chat with some passing cyclists from Norway, and a pair of ladies from Australia, each looking for overnight accommodation. Apparently the Hadrian cycle path only opened a couple of weeks ago, so business is really picking up in this area.
Crossed paths for the third or fourth time with a couple I'd spoken to first near Corbridge, and now we're all at the Old Rectory together. The local pub is the only option for evening meals, and because it's closed for the week, our hosts are ferrying us a mile up the road to the next village 's pub. I join Simon & Alison for dinner and we gab for hours: war stories about cows featuring prominently. I'm hoping to have Spotted Dick and custard for dessert, as my mother used to talk about having it at school, along with other delicacies like Toad in the Hole. The last dick is sold before my turn, so it's sponge cake and custard instead.