The final stretch.
In the final two stages of the Hadrian’s Wall path the wall almost completely disappears, both days however are defined by two things : 1. The (at times) overpowering stench of animal manure and 2. The wee marauding beasties that hover in packs of millions.
Day 5 / Brampton to Carlisle
Starting out at Brampton, this short section was nothing to write home about in terms of scenery. The first rain for the week was forecast to hit early afternoon, so this small stretch today was simply a race against the weather. Sweeping views of the Pennines in the distance (and the rain clouds) the trail came along its usual route of farmland into wee villages and finally into the outer suburbs of Carlisle.
Most of the morning was spent walking along the River Eden. The amount of flying beasties was completely mental anytime I opened my mouth I would swallow another mouthful of the things!
Arriving in Carlisle just after lunchtime, congratulating myself on planning a short day – I spent the rest of the day exploring Carlisle castle, and the city centre.
Day 5 Stats
Distance actually walked: 14.64 miles (giving the old feet a bit of a rest)
Blisters = 0
Aggressive farm animals = 0
Random observation: It is possible to get a ‘drivers’ tan whilst walking
Day 6 / Carlisle to Bowness-on-Solway
The final day. I’m in Carlisle about to walk the final what is meant to “14 miles” to Bowness-on-Solway. I’m bloody pleased with myself, now just to get to the end. To be honest it was a bit of struggle to get going this morning, I was properly knackered. One foot in front of the other, and wee motivational chat to myself and I was up and moving. I reach the path at 06:30, and was greeted to a lovely walk alongside the river Eden. 45 minutes later, I reached the local sewerage pumping station and was greeted by a stench that…..well, lets not go into detail about that here, I’m sure you will be able to use your imagination.
The river path, soon gave way to the farmland that has become so familiar over the last 4 days. The last 3 days my confidence going through cow fields had increased to the point of being cocky and was passing through them without any issue…until I came across this sign….
Not again, I peered over the gate, nothing in sight and so went in. The field was flat on one side and then had a high crest on the left, the exit gate was nowhere in sight.
Then it appeared. The bull the sign had promised was at the top of the hill and it was looking right at me. SHIT!, not again and the SIZE of it! It was size of small truck! (Or large car) Picking up pace, but not running, I was trying to appear relaxed (assuming these things smell fear right?) and desperately trying to find the exit gate or fence somewhere. In my peripheral vision the bull had started making it was down the hill, grunting as it went in but in no particular hurry (although the speed it was moving at was faster than me). Silently praying to every deity I don’t believe in, I spotted the gate it was still about 300m away but I had a target. Walking as quickly as I could, with the bull trotting behind me. I could hear it but didn’t dare turn around.
Finally I reached the gate, sprang through and turned around. This monstrous beast was right there, glaring, and practically roaring at me. Behind the safety of the fence I allowed myself a moment to cry from sheer fright.
Bull-gate now over – off I went through fields of much friendlier sheep, curious horses and slightly angry cows. After the bull incident nothing would scare me as much as that. Leaving the farmland portion of the trail and onto the Burgh Marsh. 3 miles of flat, straight road, with the village on the otherside never getting any closer, finally it was there. Drumburgh, housed another oasis in the form of the Laal Tuckshop, morning tea was in the form of a solero icecream. Leaving town I passed the sign: 4 miles to go.
Through the village, then a garden, the archway appeared. I had made it to the end of the path YEAAAAH! As is apparently traditional at the end of this walk it was straight to the Kings Arms that was bursting at the seams with other walkers who had just finished the path. Many beers drunk, and many stories. The Bull had apparently had run ins with a number of other people that morning, apart from one group who had met the farmer and had advised them of a detour (wish I’d know about that!).
What an incredible experience (livestock run ins aside), I met people from all over the world and of all ages doing the full 5/6 days of this. I would thoroughly recommend anyone wanting to get a taste of long distance walks to start with this.
Day 6 Stats
Distance actually walked: 17 Miles (including a small detour when I’d forgotten how to read a map)
Blisters = 0 for 0!
Angry Bull = 1
- The stench of cow shit may never leave me
- Its amazing what you can accomplish on your own, with just your brain and your own two feet.