Saturday, August 12, 2006

Steel Rigg to Birdoswald

Friday 11th August [Hadrian Day 5]

Beginning from the Steel Rigg carpark, we had a very easy to follow path past great stretches of wall. We were almost immediately upon the highest point of the trail, which supposedly has some of the purest air in England, as certain fussy lichens can only grow there. These fussy lichens are probably enjoying a blizzard of malamute hair now. A little further along from there we could pick out some chimneys on the Scottish coastline close to our final destination 2-3 days walk away.

Since we'd past the highest point, this meant that we were trending towards a downhill trek. Today still had plenty of up and down climbing, sprinkled with quarry ponds, gnome gardens and ivy-bedecked sheep. Bondi would still sometimes have to pause for a breather at the top of a stile, in a position not unlike Horton hatching an egg.

The countryside changed from Northumbrian moorland to Cumbrian rolling green hills, and the watershed changed direction so rivers now ran to the west coast.

We halted at Birdoswald Fort around 3.30pm as I couldn't see another place within an hour's walk where the AD122 bus ran. I found out the next day that there was such a place (at Banks), not listed on any of the schedules.

Our accommodation for tonight shifted to Carlisle, so after collecting the car from Steel Rigg we drove west. I wasn't concerned about seeing anything new in advance of walking there, since a) I'd visited Carlisle last year on the way to Scotland, and b) the walking path is so different to the road in this case.

I treated myself to a sit-down meal at Teza Indian Canteen, which was a great change from a week of fruit and sandwiches.

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