We’ve been walking Hadrian’s Wall for two days, and of the ancient Roman Wall—nothing yet. This isn’t unexpected. When the people in the north of England started to build houses of stone they had a choice of quarrying it—or scavenging from this stone wall that had been unused for centuries.
Easy choice. Times were tough enough for Medieval builders.
Fortunately, some parts of the wall in the middle of the country are preserved or recreated. We’ll get there soon.
We have seen vestiges of the wall. In general, the wall was made of stone with a defensive ditch in front. At one point today you could see the former course of the wall with the ditch in front. And, we’ve seen stone built into houses, fences, and other structures that could have been liberated from the original Hadrian’s Wall.
We stopped and rested opposite St Mary’s church in the village of Beaumont. It is unique in that it is the only church to stand on the former course of Hadrian’s Wall. It crowns the top of a small hill—which was previously occupied by a Norman fortification.
We’ve also seen a lot of cows and sheep. Much of the trail goes through pastures where flocks of sheep or herds of cows either look at us curiously as we pass, or scurry out of our way. Frankly, we see more livestock than hikers.
The locals have been friendly. One (Charlie, or was it Roger?) has a home built directional sign that he updates for passers by. He asked where we were from, and then posted Seattle as well as its mileage from his place.
In one case a couple explained that the pub where we had hoped to eat was closed as the landlord had raised the rent, and the proprietors walked away. Unfortunately, one of the more popular signs on local businesses is “For Sale” or “To Let”.
We also enjoyed our overnight stay in city hostel in Carlisle, our location for the second night. Carlisle is the home of a castle that served as the prison for Mary Queen of Scots as well as Scottish Rebels. Although it was an important Roman town it predates their rule. We’re sorry we only spent the night there. Carlisle looks like it would be worth exploring.
Trip Update: Day one from Bowness on Solway to Carlisle was tough—about 16 miles with a steady drizzle at the end of the walk. And, lots of the path was on pavement and on the shoulder of busy roads. Laurie’s knee was giving her grief. But day two from Carlisle to the small village of Walton was better. Only about 12 miles, much of it on grass through pastures. Laurie told her knee to behave and it’s complying.