Total Distance:- 22.1 Km (13.7 ml)
Ave Speed:- 3.89 Km/hr (2.42 mph) [10.27 am – 16.08 pm] Buses did not leave baths until 9.00 am
Max Elevation 166 m (544 ft)
Total ascent:- 454 m (1489 ft)
Peter led, 9 in group. Yet again, it was after 9.00 am when the bus left the baths following a late arrival. Consequently, we alighted from the bus at Greenhead about 15 min later than expected under a very grey sky although there was no rain. Thro the underpass and along the track/ road, we arrived into Greenhead. A minute or two later came the realisation that I was heading in the wrong direction and we backtracked about 100 m to join a path heading NNW alongside the river. Crossing a footbridge and climbing a track we arrived at Thirlwall Castle where we had our coffee break. On our way again, we joined a minor road looping around into Longbyre from where a path brought us onto Hadrian’s Wall Path. At this point, the path heads along the top of the Ditch and the walking was easy across the short grass. A short stretch on the road and then back onto fields as we approached Gilsland. Here we had a disappointment as the path was diverted and instead of crossing the Poltross Burn and passing the significant remains of Milecastle 48, we headed around the north of the town before rejoining the Wall path to the west of the town. Immediately after rejoining the path we walked alongside an extensive section of the wall rising in places to about 1 m in height. This brought us to Willowford and the remains of the Roman Bridge which had crossed the R Irthing before it changed course. An interesting bridge crosses the new course of the river and after a steep climb up the west bank, we arrived at the remains of milecastle 49. There followed another good stretch of wall alongside the grassy path as we headed towards Birdoswald fort. This fort is really extensive, but unfortunately we did not have time to have a good look. After Birdoswald, we took to the road for a while passing a turret and a milecastle before rejoining the footpath. We then rejoined the road at Appletree and continued WSW to Wall Bowers where we headed south into a wood and found a nice sheltered lunchspot. After lunch, it was back on the minor road although we did take to the adjacent path for a short distance, but it was rather muddy and slippery so it was back to the road. Shortly after lunch, the mizzle which had been threatening, materialised. Further sections of wall were visible adjacent to the road as we approached the houses at Banks. Taking the right fork at Banks and then crossing a N-S road, we arrived at Hare Hill where another short section of wall was visible. We continued westwards over grassy fields, stopping at Haytongate to look for a “coffee hut” which had been advertised about 400 m back. We were advised that it was not open in the winter so we continued on until we reached a minor road heading SSW. Although my plan had been to go a little further west, because of our late start I decided to take the road south to Burtholme where we then took a path to Lanercost bridge. Near Burtholme, the sun started shinning and we had a good view of a sunlit Lanercost Priory. A group photo on the bridge and then it was up the road towards Brampton. Taking a more minor road after Boothby, we then crossed a couple of fields before joining a farm track heading WSW. To say this was a mistake is an understatement – the actual track was a river of mud and with electric fences on both sides, there was no escape. Eventually, we left the track heading SW over a nice grassy path to the outskirts of Brampton. The roads and pavements came as a welcome relief as we made our way to the Howard Arms. An interesting walk alongside Hadrians Wall, with mainly good walking conditions except for “that track” and about 30 – 40 min of mizzle.