4. Banks to Cawfields near Haltwhistle

24.07.11  11 miles


The first meeting with an Hiker from Maine/USA


After a cold night I was early up, in the other tent a  family was still sleeping. My tent was wet and I hung it over the fence. A cold washing by the outdoor watertab and I was ready for breakfast. One slide of bread and water, but I knew that I will have a breakfast in around an hour in the Romans Fort Birdoswald. It was a nice quiet morning and I started the hike for today. The hike was planed for around 10 miles. First I went along the street to Bankshead. East of Banks I saw a longer part of the wall with some Towers, the foundation of the Towers. In Bankshead I must walk through a forest an it was very muddy. At the end of the wood I must go on medows with animals. A sign means" if you feel not comortable to walk through Farm animals, you can go along the road to Birdoswald Fort" I dont wanted to go along the street but I don´t feel really comfortable to walk beside young bulls. I must climb the next hill, a young girl was also early on the path but she walked to the west. She was the first hiker today I saw. On top of the hill all around medows with sheeps, mothersheeps with 1-3 lambs.

Some of the Lambs are very curious and when they noticed the mother was not near a very fast run to under the mother for drinking. Down the hill I saw a long part of the wall beside the street and now it was not far away from Birdoswald Fort and I am really a little bit hungry and would like to have a warm cup of Tea. I love it to have English tea and you can have it often. The wall to Birdoswald is impressive and he has only less than 30% of the original hight. I was to early by the Fort and the tearoom was still closed. I must wait a half hour. A good time to visit the Fort. There is a round walk along the old wall foundation. On the southside I had a wonderful view into the valley of the river Irthing, an nice older  couple told me on the medows down there are deers although are farmer worked with his trekker. The Fort is an interesting place to visit. On signs you can read the history of the fort after the romans time. In one room are wonderful photos from the Hadrians Wall. In a sidehouse the Fort Rangers working for an active afternoon with kids. I saw the box with the stemps for the hadrians Pass but I havn´t a pass so I stamped one of my Hadrians Wall Map. When the shop was open I had a good breakfast a big cup of tea and english pie with meat in, very tasty. You can buy a lot of nice souvenirs, books, maps and so on but I thought evry weight you must wear miles of miles. As I had my breakfast I was surprised to see the American from  Main again. I thought he was up and away over all the hills. He told me he want to go also 15 miles today and we shaked hands and I wished him a good walk today and all the best for him. He was leaving the Fort before me. After my breakfast I was also on the trail again. East of the fort the wall is really impressive, some tourist from Japan and the States ignoring the signs not to climb on the wall. Only in a short distance east of the fort you can see a milecastle. I thought it is near the castle because here is the edge of the river and a good place to see into the valley. My American was sitting on a wall and studied the history of the wall, most of the hikers are walking with a book in his hand, why I have not such a book? Now the path was going down into the valley of the river Irthing I crossed the river over a new bridge. On the other side of the bridge I saw the old romans bridge "Willowford bridge"

The river is flowing after such a long time now more west of the romans bridge. It is build with very big stones. I followed now the wall to Gilsland and it is really an interesting part of the wall from Birdoswald Fort to Gilsland. I was searching for a postbox so I walked not the Wall straight but through so Village. Saw  a nice tearoom, the supermarket was closed and I had nothing to eat, the pub was also still closed and my breakfast was not long time ago. A older Women asked me" do you want a cup of tea".  I told her " I had a cup of tea and breakfast short time before, thank you"

Nobody in Germany wouk ask you that. I saw no postbox and of the end of the village I went back up to the wall. Where the wall crossed this street I was standig beside a postbox and 4 poscards are on his way. From the postbox the path was running a short time in the deep Vallum or was it the ditch? Then I had to climb over a wall into a vegetable garden of a cottage, I love such old farmgardens, it is a mixture of vegetables and nice flowers. Then following the climb out of the garden and not far a climb over another wall. The next part is walking beside the ditch to a little village, after the village crossed a little creek and further along the ditch to the road to Greenhead, a turn right and then left in direccion to the castle Thirwall. The Pennine Way from the Lake District is now together with the Hadrianswall Path from here to Housesteads Fort. Two hikers with a big dog was coming down from the Pennine way and we find together the sign of the Hadrianswal Path. The Thirwall Castle was built from stones of the Hadrianswall.  It is a nice area around the castle. On the other side of the creek is a Barn for hikers to sleep. Really a romantic place. After Thirwall Castle is following a long and steap up hill walk. But I had a wonderful view back from where I was coming. On top of the hill I saw first the rocks from Walltown Querry. I reached Walltown restarea and saw a tearoom and outside many tables with benches. The sun was shining and stayed here for a rest. Bought 2 cups of tea and english pie with meat and enjoyed the nice area. As I had my lunch my American friend was coming. He took a sit at my table and we talked. He told me that he is surprised about my walking speed, but I mean by myself I am slowly like a snail. He gave up to walk 15 miles a day. He will take the Hadrians Wall Bus because he must come to his booked Bed&Breakfast Hotel. He has only one day more for hiking and then he must go back to London for his flight back to Maine. After my rest, the American was going earlier, I hiked into one of the nicest part of the Wall. Around Walltown area I saw wild Orchis on the medows and other wild flowers. The wall is running now steap on top of Walton Querry and the up and down of the wall looked great and I felt also great and I was happy to be here. At King Arthurs well l must climb a very high and steap hill, I was not the only one to have a rest to bring the pulse down. But this nice area was it worth to have some strenuousness. The next hill up and down and the great Chester Fort was not far away. Before I went to the fort I had a rest, drunk some water, ate a little piece of cheese and watched the hiker which passed me. An old man with a good speed and a kindly greet passed me, a couple at which the man at the front and his wife 10 yards behind without a smile on her face, perhaps she don´t like to hike. A little woman with also a heavy backpack and she smiled and said Hello. A thin and paly young man without a smile or a reaction was perhaps thinking about his problems. My problem was I had enough for the day and no place to sleep.

The great Chester Fort is in hand of the sheeps. It looks like that the fort is in using from the farm on the northside of the fort. After the fort I met 3 young hikers with full backpack, I asked for the next campground and the answer was not nice. "You must go around 4 miles to the Winshield Campground".

I want not to go further 4 miles. At the cawfields recreation area is a restroom and the hiker can use it. It is a nice place for a picnic. I asked a man for a campground but he don´t know. At this moment another man told me "1 mile from here is a tearoom with a new campground, you have only to go along straight the street". I was happy and follwed the street, passed the milecastle inn, that could be a place to have a dinner tonight. The street was running uphill and this one mile was my longest mile. It was time to finished the hike for today. I reached the place called " Herding Hill Farm". And it was perfect for me. I bought somthing to eat and to drink in the tearoom, had a londg shower, a nice place for my tent on a big medow and a nice evening sitting outside beside the tearoom for my supper. A wonderful day ended and I slept well this night in my tent.