Just back from a wonderful time away walking Hadrian's Wall and catching up with friends. The scenery was spectacular, the weather superb (only rained for the last half hour) and my walking companion as long suffering as ever. Five days with an average of 18 miles a day is a good walk. Add backpacks and hills and it's a very good walk!!
As with all of these adventures parts were interesting and parts were "interesting" - like one of the places we stayed, a youth hostel mascerading as a B&B which served the smallest steak (one chunk) and ale (ale? what ale!) pie you ever did see. Still, it was a good talking point. The warden asked us what we did for a living - and the reply 'I'm a Baptist minister' had its usual conversation ending effects; after that we refered to ourselves as Rev and Irrev, though I think I'm more the latter than the former!
Best stay was definitely at Willowford Farm run by a young couple, Liam and Lauren, who combine a working sheep farm with organic/Fairtrade B&B. A three course evening meal was available and more than made up for the steak-less ale-less pie... delicious feta cheese salad; succulent happy pig with fresh veg, and (I'm fairly certain) John Tovey's recipe sticky toffee pudding with real vanilla icecream, then hand made chocs with the tea/coffee.... bliss! Good place for a country break even if you don't like walking. (Apologies here to Andy A for waffling about 'what I had for tea')
We liked Henry Stedman's Trailblazer Guide better than the national trails version - his sketch maps were helpful, his commentary the right balance of info and humour and his walking times right for us. (I now know what a shlep is, as well as where the pubs, cafes, drinks facilities and loos are located!)
Some stunning views along the way and this time the worst injury was a broken lid on a water bottle! Next year.... well maybe Offas' Dike in two weeks. But for now, a couple of days to finish unwinding before I get back to routine.
Oh, by the way, does my bum look big in this backpack?! (Thanks Jean for walking and taking photos)