Within a few minutes of walking from my campsite I came to my first Roman remains , a mile tower. It marked the start of seeing a lot of walls and archaeological remains.
The wall follows the contours of the hills so there was a bit of climbing but the walking was quite easy. When I reached the fort at Birdoswald Roman Fort I decided to visit the splendid National Trust museum and indeed cafe there. Especially the cafe.
The site is large as it was a fort for 1000 soldiers, as I rested in the cafe there was a disturbance. A man had apparently left his mobile phone and wallet on the table and as he belatedly returned to collect them, they had gone.
He was upset as his passport , car keys, and other stuff had all vanished. After the staff had almost turned the place upside down he found the wallet in his coat pocket. However the phone was missing still. “Who would want a pink mobile phone? “ he shouted , whilst listing his contact details so when the staff found his phone they could return it.
He stumped off out of the cafe still muttering as if the National Trust should in some way be able to recover lost phones.
After this excitement I carried on walking the path. Eventually I reached Gilsland, a small village, there was a path diversion here and I decided, correctly as it turned out , there was going to be a lot of climbing so I left the path and made my own diversion that passed by the Samson pub. I stopped for a quick snack. As I ate I heard the following snippet between the barmaid and the kitchen staff.
“Where was it?”
“Outside on the bench, but it’s locked so we can’t see whose it is”
“Is it a pink mobile phone?” I called out.
They looked at me as if I was a cross between Mystic Meg and Sherlock Holmes.
“Is it yours?” they asked.
“No,but you need to ring the Roman Fort at Birdoswald. They’ll know”
They duly set the wheels in the motion.
I wonder what the chances of me going into the very pub that had the mobile phone at the time they were discussing it? Chance is a wonderful thing.
I then spent the rest of the day climbing hill after hill as the wall followed cliff and crag across Northumberland. The views were amazing and the effort and work the Romans must have put in building the wall was truly humbling.
The final incident of the day was meeting a family doing a circular walk who had run out of water. It wasn’t a particularly sunny day but the climbing at taken its toll. It is no fun running out of water so I unpacked my water bladder and transferred some over into their water bottles.
They say no good deed goes unpunished. It so proved.
I climbed one last hill and tired and satisfied I camped in sight of the wall, looking out over the Pennine way , next day’s challenge.