Saturday, July 12th – 9 miles to Gilsland
Today I wore the boots again and took some Aleve to reduce the inflammation. The Aleve helped a lot until it started to wear off…
Former blogging buddy August Caesar had suggested we visit Vindolanda, a Roman fort just south of Once Brewed by about a mile. Joan and Tetsu weren’t all that interested in Vindolanda, so they set out on their own for Gilsland.
Kathie, Hisako, and I took the Hadrian’s Wall bus, the AD122 (get it?), to Vindolanda, which is a pretty cool place.
This was a public bath in the fort.
The ruins are being excavated and there’s a museum that displays some of what has been found so far – correspondence, etc. We only had a short while before we had to hop back on the bus, though, or we’d be late getting to Gilsland. On the bus there was a gentleman (guide?) who had a plebe helmet – a very heavy, steel plebe helmet. With the mohawk and everything! He let us try it on. I thought to myself, “Joan is going to be disappointed that she missed the plebe helmet!”
Yes, that's Craig the snickerer. We picked him up (again!) in Vindolanda.
I think that's a milemarker we're standing next to.
Back on the trail, the walk was very strenuous at the beginning, but there were stunning views from the top of Winshield Crags, and there was a lot of the wall still in place. These made up for the up and down and up and down on the muddy, rocky crags.
At one point, we passed Thirlwall Castle just beyond a nice little brook. Then we parted ways with Craig, not to see him again. I think he was tired of us old ladies, especially after Kathie fired him as our mapreader.
I was thrilled when we walked into Gilsland and ecstatic when we finally found our B&B, Hill on the Wall. When we walked into the yard, I noticed white sheets hanging on the clothes line. A late 16th century manor with three foot thick walls, it was so wonderful and beautifully decorated on the inside. Kathie and I had “Hadrian’s Retreat”, a second floor bedroom that faces out over sheep pastureland (in the morning we watched a sheepherding dog at work – too cool!) with a huge bathroom across the hall. Ah, towel racks that warm your towels! But I digress…
After we lugged our bags upstairs, I threw myself down on the bed. Joan and Tetsu had gotten in much earlier and were showered and ready to go back down to Gilsland for dinner. “No way!” Fortunately, the owner of the B&B was driving into the village and offered us a ride, so we shoehorned ourselves into her little car and went down to the Samson Pub for dinner. There we noticed some young girls all dressed in pink with 80s-ish punked hair and wearing stiletto heels.
We asked the barlady if this is how the kids dressed usually, and she told us that they were celebrating the 18th birthday of one of the girls. They looked so grown up and punky, but were very sweet.
Also at dinner, Tetsu told us that he had kept up with Joan all day. No small achievement, I tell you.