After a traditional B&B breakfast of bacon, eggs and sausages with a view of the Tyne valley, we set off for the day, a little weighed down and sluggish!
On that note… Walking in England is very different to walking a camino. Here the choice of accommodation is usually limited to a B&B or pub, or a hostel if you’re lucky. The other alternative is to camp but this involves a lot more planning as campsites aren’t so plentiful. When staying in B&Bs or pubs expect to pay between £50 and £90 a night. Our night in Heddon cost £80 for a double, compared to say €5 to €10 a night in an albergue on the camino. And then there’s breakfast… When staying in a B&B, you feel obliged to eat the breakfast because you’ve paid for it but it’s usually not served until 8am or 7:30am if you’re lucky and then it’s quite an event and more suited to a laid back / read the paper / have 3 cups of coffee type of morning rather than a quick brekkie and then you’re off walking. Anyway, I digress.
Within 10 minutes of leaving the B&B we were standing in front of the first major section of wall. Here it was built to the planned 3 metre width – it gets narrower as we head west, possibly to save time and resources.
The wall in Heddon-on-the-wall
We got quite wet during the day and took cover at the first pub we came across after the deluge, the Errington Arms, it was full of Hadrian’s Wall walkers all hiding from the rain!
A stamp box outside of the Robin Hood Pub
Wet and windy
Escaping the rain and warming up in the Errington Arms pub
It was a lovely trail through (rain)forests and across fields with the occasional glimpse of the wall or a turret or a fort. The rain made the tracks a little muddy, let’s be honest, this is to be expected walking in England in the middle of summer!
We had one encounter with a very large bull (the size of a freight train, built of muscle) in a field with lots of cows… Both a little unnerved we managed to dart between them all and make our way over the stile and to safety.
We also saw 3 hedgehogs but they were unfortunately roadkill. And lots of rabbits. I learnt from the guidebook that rabbits were introduced to England by the Romans which is a little ironic now considering almost 2000 years later the rabbits are the main threat to the wall with their burrows destroying its foundations.
We eventually arrived in Humshaugh at our B&B (the very delightful Mingary Barn, 01434 681406) and after removing muddy shoes and wet weather gear, then cleaning up, we headed to the local pub for a lovely pub meal.