Hadrian’s Wall Day 2 – Carlisle to Coombe Crag Farm: Onwards

(and up-and-downwards a lot too)

I haven’t got much battery and nowhere to charge up, so I’ll try and write these notes up quickly,today.

Today’s route. Starting to be more challenging, terrain-wise. Tomorrow is meant to be much more challenging!

I left Carlisle early. Starting from the Banks Centre at 06:40am.

I kicked off the day feeling surprisingly good as I walked from Carlisle towards Rickerby Park and crossed the Memorial bridge. I had made some adjustments to my bag’s shoulder straps as I left the B&B, which seemed to have helped. Throughout the day, I made sure to hydrate regularly to fend off dehydration.

Despite a dry forecast, there was a pleasant drizzle, making the journey quite refreshing. I talked to another walker before Low Crosby, it was just nice to talk with a fellow human. There hadn’t been many people on my way to that point.

I took a break at a bus stop near the Stag Inn to attend to my hand burn (from cooking breakfast on Thursday morning) which had cracked in the shower and was looking infected. I will spare you a gross photo of the said hand. I snacked on a pear from my B&B (they gave me so much fruit!) before hitting the road again. The overcast weather was great for making progress in terms of time and distance.

Along the Sandy Lane track after Crosby on Eden, I was surrounded by wildlife, I even saw a rabbit, the pheasants further on. I stopped to put on my fleece layer just before crossing the Bleatarn field/quarry due to the winds peaking. It was here that I had my first nature wee of the walk, the downside of hydrating well, I suppose!

I stopped at the Snack Shed for an unusually early lunch at 10:20 am. Enjoyed a cup of tea and chili con carne (frozen meal), an unusual but welcome choice. Also the first non-vegetarian Neal for me this trip. I chatted with a lovely American couple from Virginia after setting off again. The sun finally peeked out, warming my skin, prompting me to reapply sunscreen.

I treated myself to a delicious raspberry scone with a cuppa tea at the Walton tea room. There I talked with another lovely couple. This time from Bristol. Comparing notes, it seemed we had a very similar set of stops planned.  Then as I left Walton, I witnessed a rather interesting event – Gelt Gladiator, where people were sliding down a hill and running around.
I spotted more walkers, and the sight of the majestic Skiddaw (I think?) from the Lake District in the distance was a welcome surprise.

I crossed one tough hill, between turret 54a and Haytongate, if you do so as well, you will be  rewarded with a refreshments hut. There is also a portaloo just 150yd down the hill. I chose to follow the route via the Lanercost Priory, worth the detour thanks to my English Heritage membership. Interestingly, it seems it was built from stones robbed from Hadrian’s Wall. At the priory’s tea room, I enjoyed a peppermint tea and a lemon drizzle.

As I walked towards the village of Banks with the wall and the vallum on my left, it felt just right. To my right, the beautiful English hills were a reminder of the beauty of the English countryside. This in itself, made me feel better. This is why I was here.

I started to see some interesting turrets and ruins of the Wall.

For about 30 to 40 minutes, I had a really teary itchy eye, from an insect probably.

Then I met one other backpacker who was going to camp at Lanercost. We had a brief chat. I guess my eye settled.
Also shortly after, I met a guy touring the UK with his van going gardening jobs, if you meet him, give him work!

The final stretch of the day was slower but felt less exhausting than yesterday, perhaps as I was started to feel purpose. I checked in at the Coombe Crag campsite, a basic site but I knew that in advance. I had to deal with lots of little flies around my tent – the downside of a dairy farm, I suppose.

I ‘treated’ myself to a pasta pot for dinner, which was an interesting first-time experience.

Tomorrow, I’m straight back on the wall, so it’s time to rest up for a bit. I’m feeling much better than yesterday. Body battered, but the mind is back on track.

Over and out.

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