Haltwhistle to Carlisle (25 Miles)
The beginning of this day is daunting as you are straight into a climb and straight back onto the undulations of Hadrian’s Wall. The milecastle remains gave some comfort as we trudged along the path and the views along this section were spectacular in places. After 7 miles you reach Gilsland, the spa on the wall. A name which made us think of free running water and refreshment. Especially when we saw the public house signs on the map. Unfortunately the two pubs in this village were closed so mid morning refreshment was out of the question. Pubs being shut at 11 we could deal with. It was a small village, mid week, early doors we weren’t to upset, however two traditional northern gents walking long distances need to have a beer to keep spirits high. This was the beginning of a very dark day and I’m not talking weather wise! The path continues through a variety of rolling countryside and reaches a perfect half way point after 13 miles in the village of Walton. If you haven’t watched the video I would recommend day three as the words on this page can’t adequately describe the sight of a man’s heart breaking on screen. Nevertheless this event was captured twice in one day. The first time was here in Walton. Walton has a very nice looking pub called the Centurion Inn. I say it looked nice as we one saw it from the outside as we peered in through the window to see the bar taunting us. The honesty bar (an outdoor fridge) provided us with a sandwich and soft drink but considering the inn’s prime location on the route and the number of people sat outside, whilst the owners sat inside with the door shut, you would have thought being open at lunch time would be a good idea. Very disappointing!
The walk begins to flatten out from here as you descend to Carlisle. At this point moral was getting low. Three pubs visited. None open. Surely Crosby on Eden would save the reputation of the Cumbrian drinking establishments. So, there we were, 20 ½ miles in to the walk. 5:10 pm, at the Stagg Inn. Closed! Jeff summed this up on camera with one probing question… “People, what is wrong with you people?” If you have the answer then please let us know! This made the final few miles excruciating. We walked over the bridge into Carlisle like zombies. Out of the two, my day had been worst and the pain present in my feet at this point was unreal. So much so that when our bags had been delivered to the wrong B&B and we had to go and collect them on foot I was very nearly in tears. With morale low it was a quiet night of pain and painkillers accompanied by steak and a pint from the nearest pub.