37 Bardon Mill – Wark

Bardon Mill to Wark 13.6 miles (21.8Km.)

The Vindolanda Experience

The Vindolanda Experience

Another climb to leave Bardon Mill punctured by sighting of the Roman Fort of Vindolanda. I anticipated another site managed by English Heritage but this one is privately owned and operated more like a theme park with reconstruction of Roman buildings, all be it on a limited scale. Signs warned ramblers not to use the facilities unless they supported the aims of the organisation and paid their entrance fee, I walked on and found a tree.

Hotbank & Crag Lough

Hotbank & Crag Lough

The climb continued opening up the view of the fort site and the countryside south over which I had already passed. Although only a short walk along the B6318 it was unpleasant as vehicles used the long straight section to overtake preventing passing traffic from pulling out as they passed me and forcing me to take refuge on the verge on a number of occasions. A track on the map suggested this road section could be avoided but there was not evidence of it on the ground.

Roman wall or reconstruction?

Roman wall or reconstruction?

The Great English Walk now approached what in Roman times would have been the end of the walk but in 2011 we press on beyond the Roman boundary created by Emperor Hadrian. Other walkers suddenly appear and I briefly meet a chap doing the Pennine Way from north to south then pause to admire the beautiful setting of the house by Crag Lough. I compare the remains of the wall, or is it reconstructed, with those seen at Hardnott in the Lakes where the stone had been so precisely tooled. Then my mind moved north to the inspection of the Antonine Wall which the Romans were unable to defend. Here the natural features alone are a deterrent as I look back to the south.

The wall and natural defences

The wall and natural defences

I meet up and chat for some time with a couple from the Netherlands who take annual walking holiday in Britain. They were exploring sections of the Hadrian Wall path and today it was part of a circular. I warn that my route continues on the Pennine Way and not to let our chat distract them from their own navigation. We part with a hand shake, a friendship made but sadly, unlikely to be renewed.

Hitting another Forest knocks my spirits but a walker ahead spurs me on and getting into conversation over the next four miles helps me along until he continues on his way to John O’Groats via the Pennine Way and I take the invisible GEW path east to Wark. I slowed my pace to match this long distance walker which I soon realised may be causing me some fatigue. My companion’s mobile rings in the most unlikely of remote locations and he discusses tonight’s overnight stop with his back up crew, Twenty seven pounds for a camping pitch was far more than I was paying for a proper bed. I wished him well and offered thanks for getting me through a low point in my trek.

Black Bull and Grey Bull Inns at Wark

Black Bull and Grey Bull Inns at Wark

The approach to Wark follows the Wark Burn and soon the land changes from moorland to walled fields first with sheep and cattle then crops and I realise how I might be cursing a headland path had it not been mown. The appearance of a dog walker indicates the closeness of today’s journeys end where my car awaits for a direct drive to the digs without the need to retrace the route by road to collect the bike. Using the bus is certainly a vast improvement but in this sparsely populated area proved very difficult to achieve for each section and tomorrow the bike would be out again.

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Great English Walk map of section 37

Great English Walk map of section 37

 

Great English Walk hills and dales of section 37

Great English Walk hills and dales of section 37


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