April 6, 2011 – East Wallhouses to Humshaugh – 11½ miles
7:15 came too soon for us, but we shambled groggily downstairs to an excellent breakfast. I’m in touch with the proprietor for his homemade bread recipe. Well fed, we started off through the farm field (that’s the 1735 farmhouse we stayed in the night before)…
…over a river…
…and through a wood.
Again with the sheep pastures. This little guy had squeezed his way through a gate and couldn’t squeeze back, so I had to help him. The joy of reunited mother and child sent us flying through the morning.
This is pretty typical of the kind of terrain we saw during this part of the hike: mostly flat, occasionally interrupted by a quarry. This one, although it’s hard to see in a picture, was about 30 feet deep.
We came to Portgate, home of the Errington Arms. Since it’s rude to eat a picnic lunch inside the pub, we hopped over the wall behind the dumpsters and ate there. (Bacon and sausage sandwiches with brie. My mouth is watering again.)
Then we went inside for toilets and pints.
That long ditch is the Vallum, and was actually dug by the Roman army. In most places, it’s the only thing you can see that’s left of the wall structure.
When Becky walked between these two, they made such a racket. I wasn’t sure if they’d charge, but I hung back with a camera in case they did. Unfortunately for you, dear reader, they did not; you get a picture of Becky with two placid sheep.
A dark, spooky wood, in which I peed.
This is typical of the kind of ruin we saw; there’s actually a Roman milecastle somewhere under those mounds.
This is a totally different ditch, the one that runs on the enemy side of the wall. It’s called the “ditch”. The English are really creative with names.
It was about 4pm when we arrived at St. Oswalds Tearoom, hoping to become the mayors. We were so disappointed when we found it closed, that we sat down by the side of the road and tried to cheer ourselves up with British chocolate. It worked, and we powered our way through to the town of Wall. Yes, that really is its name. I told you the English were clever with names.
Anyway, they had a village green with free bathrooms, something of a rarity, and swings. We talked to a woman who was walking by with a wheelbarrow, looking for her lost sheep. If you’re confused, well, good.
We took a short break before hiking our way through Chollerford to Humshaugh (“hum’s hoff“), and our lodging for the night. We found the local pub (yes, there’s only one), and the food was excellent.
We showered, washed some clothes in the bathtub, and passed out at 9:30.