Friday, 29 July 2011

Birdoswald to Gilsland

Due to some family stuff we couldn't get out for a long walk this weekend, so instead at 6.30pm on Sunday evening we decided to do a little circular walk from Birdoswald, though Gilsland, then back to Birdoswald.

We ended up walking 3 miles - just 1.5 miles into our Wall journey, but every little counts  :)

So, we parked at the main car park at Birdoswald and walked up the hill towards the gate that began our walk, and into a field full of cows.  Walking swiftly on...... we trailed the Wall through a couple of fields until we came to a Milecastle.

Walking swiftly on...... we trailed the Wall through a couple of fields until we came to a Milecastle.

We we quite high up at this point and we could see for miles.  The walk then started to descend down a quite steep path.

At the bottom of the path was Willowford Bridge. 

This was a really interesting place, I never even knew this bridge was here and what history it held.  It was great learning all about it.

Would have been fantastic to see the Chinook bringing in the replacement bridge.

In this photo you can see the end of the old Roman bridge, according to the information board the river ran right beside this piece of bridge, now it is a long way back, beyond those trees.

Walking away from the bridge, there was loads of beautiful butterflies basking in the sun on the wall.  I took loads of photos before getting one in focus!

Now, as we had walked down a steep path, we obviously had to walk back up and we were faced with a rather large set of steps, us ladies had to stop half way to pretend to admire the view ;)

At the top of the hill was Willowford Farm, with an inscription in the side of the building.

On we went, climbing and descending, chatting to sheep and enjoying the weather, until we came to Willlowford East Turret.

Just past here we arrived in the village of Gilsland. We spotted the car park where we would leave the car next time as this was the point in our trip that we would now begin to walk back.

So, for today, this is where the journey should end.....

Total walked today- approx 3.5 miles.  Time spent - approx 2.00 hrs walking.

Grand Total - Miles 38 / Time 16.45 hours.

But, I might as well share the rest of the walk with you.

We walked round the edge of Gilsland and back out onto the road towards Birdoswald.

Then up quite a steep hill, but it was stretched out so we didn't feel it too bad.  

We passed loads of hedgerow with pretty flowers and wild fruits.

At the top of the hill we stopped to admire the gorgeous views.  Couldn't you just sit here all day?

From here we could see Willowford Farm as mentioned earlier on in this blog post.

Past a sheep  (I do like sheep - such comical creatures)...

....and through a field where we had to balance on a board to stop the land getting boggy.

At the other end of the field we had to climb very steeply down into a wooded area, it was like a rainforest, very dense with trees and vegetation - and mud!  You can just about stop Andrew down there.

Of course if you go down, you then have to walk back up.  So over the little bridge we went that crossed the same river as the Willowford Bridge, and started to climb.

At last we were out in the open.

And back to the car  :)

Oh... weight lost this week 4lb  :)

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Walton - Birdoswald

I am a little late with this blog due to lots of things going on.  This week we were away in Fairford for the Air Tattoo, so didn't get to do our regular walk on the wall.

Last Sunday (10th July) we walked from Walton to Birdoswald, and what a gorgeous stretch of our journey it was.

Starting off from where we ended last time, we donned our rucksacks (which held our lunch and raincoats) and set off.

The sky was a little overcast, but the views were amazing.

Dotty Dog didn't take long in finding a patch of mud - she is such a mud magnet!!

We walked over that muddy field and marvelled at the view, we could see for miles.

Exiting out of the first lot of field we had a change underfoot and wandered down a country lane.  The nice thing about this walk is that the terrain is so different, from slipping and sliding about in mud, to soft freshly mown grass, and road ways.  Your feet never get tired.

Back into the fields, as long as their are no livestock Dotty can run free (and get muddy).

This field was exciting though as we finally saw our first bits of WALL!!

Walking further on we found a lovely tree full of Hazelnuts - they were not ready to pick yet unfortunately though, would have made a nice snack.

Oh, look, more wall!

Then it was time for our first lunch stop.  We found a couple of nice picnic tables and sat down.

 Today's offering - Quorn & Tomato sandwich and some stuffed Turkish vine leaves made by my friend Meltem.

We had a visit while eating from this lady, I think she was looking for titbits, but Dotty Dog had snaffled them all by then.  But what a pretty dog.

As we were sitting we spotted this little sign pointing through the bushes.

Wondering what was in there we decided to take a look.  Two sheds, one was full of refreshments (including a kettle and tea bags etc...) and little notes from fellow walkers.  Run on the "honest" scheme, you put your money in the box and take what you want.

The other shed was selling t-shirts.  Genius idea, check them out here -

Lunch over, it was time to set back off.  I love the little gates we have to walk through, and Dotty Dog is a dab hand at negotiating them now, although if you are on the other end of the lead you can get dragged through rather quickly.

There was a good few inclines on this walk, tiring on the calves, but so worth it for the magnificent views.

The grey mountain in the background of this photo is Skiddaw.

At the top of this hill, I took this photo looking back the way we came, you can just about see the village of Walton (where we started this morning) if you look closely.

We soon reached Hare Hill.

We walked on through a lovely little village, where we passed a road kill strawberry  :(

Setting off up another hill, we heard the sound of a helicopter and turned around to have a great view of the rescue heli coming over the hill.

From here we passed loads of interesting bits of wall, and mile-castles and information boards.  There really is a lot to see and learn on this little stretch.

And so onwards into some more fields, the sheep were not too happy to see us and we had some feet stamping as we walked past.  It's actually quite cute when a sheep stamps it's foot at you, of course you walk on, the last thing you want to do when walking through fields is to upset the animals.

We next arrived at Leahill Turret, there are quite a few of remains of these little turrets along the route.

We arrived at a signpost, only just under 2 miles to go to finish our walk for the day.

We walked down behind a house and pas this stone - no idea what it is or what it means.

Then into a gorgeous wooded area.
 We were just about to step into the next field when we spotted this sign.

LET GO OF MY DOG???  I don't think so, we would have to run together if need be.  I could have given her to Andrew as I am not the best runner in the world, but she really only likes to walk with me, so we decided to face them big bad cows together.  I say cows - mostly bullocks, and one was a fully grown angry looking bull.  We looked forward and just walked!  No stopping to take photos or to scent the grass  :)

The next field was slightly friendlier, with just stamping sheep  :)

We walked up a hill, then down a hill.

Then we passed the Hadrians Wall bus, walkers use this to get from point to point, it's a really handy service.

Finally we reached Birdoswald.

There is actually a heritage centre here which costs £5.00 to go into.

We did think about it, but then decided to spend the £20 on wine and food instead :)  So we opted for a cup of tea and a drink for Dotty.

We did, however get the third stamp in our Passport  :)

All that was left was to walk down to the car park, passing a long stretch of wall and the route for next time.

Total walked today- approx 6.5 miles.  Time spent - approx 3.00 hrs walking.

Grand Total - Miles 34.5 / Time 14.45 hours.