The wall: Walton to Carlisle – June 23

Today’s walk: 11.5 miles / 18.5 km in 5 hours

We had significantly better weather today than in the past couple of days. The sky was cloudy as we set out and we had a few drops of rain here and there, but for much of the day we enjoyed patchy sunshine and dry air. The past two days of rain lingered on, though, in lots of mud and soft ground on the trail.

A cow pasture we walked through. You can see some of the puddled rainwater on the lower grass.

Our previous night’s host gave us a ride to Walton where we picked up the trail once more and continued our walk. We have come into quite flat ground now and are seeing many more villages and houses. For much of the day we had a pleasant walk through countryside and farm fields, but towards the end of the day we arrived at the banks of the River Eden and started to approach the city of Carlisle.

The trail here runs right through someone's back yard. I'm glad this is Britain, because you'd have a hell of a time creating something like this trail in the States!

In that distinctly British way, the farms and fields and little villages continued almost up to the edge of the city itself, but we were clearly coming into more urban territory. We saw a good deal more traffic on the roads and started passing by industrial sites and through recently-built suburbs. Still, we saw a small herd of cattle quietly pasturing in a city park just before we crossed into the city proper.

Some curious chickens whose home we also passed

We diverged from the route of the wall for the latter half of the day’s walk, but there are few visible wall remains in this part of the country.  At its western end, the wall was mostly built in local sandstone which has not stood up well to the elements over the past 2,000 years.

The path here is right on top of the wall line, but there's hardly any remains to be seen.

Partway through the day’s walk we stopped at at little serve-yourself-and-leave-money-in-the-honesty-box snack stand set up on someone’s farm.  We got a couple of ice creams out of the freezer and enjoyed them along with some gorp from our bags.  There were a couple of Shetland ponies in the nearby field who entertained us as we ate.

The River Eden, approaching Carlisle

Our accommodations for the night are a more typical bed & breakfast with more than just a couple of rooms and inoffensively bland decor. It was comfortable enough for the night (although the room was rather damp), but there was nothing to encourage us to come back again. After the wonderful accommodations we have had for the past couple of days, it was a bit of a step down.

We walked out into Carlisle city to find a place for dinner. We haven’t really had a choice of dinner place since Whitley Bay, so it was a little odd to be walking around checking out menus. We were hungry and tired, though, so we didn’t dither over the choice for very long: we spotted a little Italian restaurant with evening specials and went for it. The food was very good and the atmosphere was pleasant.

We walked around town a little bit after dinner. We’ve been to Carlisle before several years ago as part of my dissertation research, but we weren’t here for long and neither of us remembers the city terribly well.



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