|Breakfast in the sunny dining room at Fellcroft|
None of us had any wish to make the return walk back to the Wall Path via the endless and tedious road down which we had journeyed the day before. There were alternative routes out of Corbridge that would return us to the Wall Path, and it would have been possible to do so without seriously extending the overall length of the day's stage. But that would entail missing out a section of the trail, and opinion was strongly in favour of picking up the Path where we had left it. Fortunately, a different solution was at hand. Tove - Mrs. Brown - told us that the local taxi driver would drive us, and our luggage, back up to the Wall, and drop us at whatever point we chose. However, there were five of us, and the taxi would only take a maximum of four, thus necessitating two trips. Tove, though, was kind enough to offer to take one of our number at the same time as the taxi, thus saving us time, and money. Because of prior commitments, the taxi was available at either 9.15am. (too early for my slow-coach habits) or 11.00am. We therefore opted for 11.00am. and Tove suggested that we load all our rucksacks into her car, which would allow us to walk into town unladen, have an hour or so to sit in the sun or explore Corbridge, then meet her and the taxi outside the church at eleven o' clock. So we did.
|Walking into Corbridge in the sun|
It was pleasant to walk, even if only for a short distance, unencumbered by rucksacks. The wind was sharp, but the sun was generating some real warmth, as we walked into Corbridge. We had a bit of a wander about, Dave and I got some photos, and we generally took things easy for an hour. We knew in the backs of our minds that we still had ten miles walking to complete before the day was out, so true relaxation evaded us. The time soon passed, and at the appointed hour Tove and the taxi pulled up beside the church.
|Hear no, see no, speak no evil|
|Our little strip of grass|
|The Vallum earthworks near Carr Hill|
The first obvious Roman relic that we discovered today was the massive Vallum earthworks just West of Carr Hill Farm. The map shows the nearby presence of milecastle 21, and Onnum Roman Fort. On the ground, though, the only obvious features (and they are OBVIOUS) are the ridges, ditches and mounds marking the line of the Vallum along this stretch of the Wall. The Hadrian's Wall Path through this region follows the pattern that became familiar yesterday, with the tarmac of the Military Road marking the line of the Wall proper, and to either side are signs of the North Ditch and the Vallum.
|Precipitation within sight - time for the waterproofs|
The afternoon continued in much the same vein. The undulating nature of the terrain, the fact that the path was more often than not on grass, and the continuing fine weather and associated good visibility made the walking today much more to everyone's taste - it was even possible to forget about blisters for short periods.
|Descending towards St. Oswald's, first view of the Whin Sill|
We eventually passed the St. Oswald's Tea Rooms, followed shortly thereafter by St. Oswald's Church itself, at which point we began the gentle descent towards the valley of the North Tyne. Down past a tractor ploughing a field, across the road, and so to Planetrees.
|The 'broad' Wall meets the 'narrow' Wall at Planetrees|
Here we find a surviving fragment of the Wall, and the Info sign tells us the following:
"After 3 metre wide foundations were laid along most of Hadrian's Wall, the building of the 'broad' Wall began. At some point, perhaps to save time and resources, it was decided to continue with a 2 metre wall on the existing foundations. Here at Planetrees, you can see where the 'narrow' Wall joins the 'broad' Wall."
|Descending into the valley of the North Tyne|
|The foundations of 'Chesters Bridge', Roman crossing of the North Tyne|
|Our room in Mingary Barn|
Up through the village, past the Crown Inn (where Fiona had taken the precaution of booking us a table), and finally to Mingary Barn, our accommodation for the night. It turned out to be another pleasant place to stay. We got ourselves settled into our rooms, showered and changed, and then to the pub for dinner.
Fiona's idea to book a table turned out to be a very clever move. We arrived at the pub during what turned-out to be the the inaugural monthly "Open Mike Night". Once a month, on the last Sunday of the month, an opportunity for local musicians and singers to just turn up and play. The place was packed, noisy, and (no bad thing given the unseasonable low temperatures) warm.
|The team, looking better, after dinner and some beers|
Our table was waiting, so at least we had somewhere to sit, and there were three real ales available. Food was good, beers were good, music was a bit much, but did give the opportunity for some photos, and the performances ended at 9.00pm. The pub was much quieter after the music ended, so somewhat more relaxing for the Wallers Hadriani recovering from their day's exertions.
And so Day 3 draws to an end. We were all still upright, still going well, and nearly half-way along the Wall. The day had proved easier than it might have been, with better weather, good scenery, and better spirits than Day 2. What will Day 4 bring?
All the photos from the day can be seen on my Picasa Gallery.