Wall to Heddon-on-the-Wall
With the landscape now getting flatter and the path following the road for the most part, and the accommodation we wanted for Day 6 unavailable due to refurbishment, we hit the guide book and decided to take a day off from walking and take this opportunity to spend some time at the Chesters fort just up the road instead. We caught the AD122 bus which we thought followed the path from end to end (it turned out this was no longer true, please check before you go).
Chesters has a visitor’s centre selling souvenirs (Scouse Spouse got a nice T-shirt with a walking figure going the right way, West to East), a tea room, outside picnic area, the magnificent Clayton Collection of finds from the early excavations, and of course the visible remnants of the Chesters fort and Wall.
This is from the barracks area, with rooms either side and a gutter down the middle. The barracks had porches with columns no less.
We then tried to get the AD122 bus to Robin Hood Inn, to have lunch at this well known must-visit pub (where they had no accommodation due to refurb) and get our stamp, but found out that the £12 all day ticket the last bus driver sold us, was no good. This in spite of me telling him exactly which stops we intended to make through the day. Grrr. For another few pounds each we got a new ticket to take us to Hexham, where we had to change to a different bus to get to Heddon-on-the-Wall, where we would find our next accommodation, Ironsign Farm B&B.
We got there in the end, had lunch at one of the two pubs in Heddon, then got a taxi to the B&B. After getting unpacked and showered we got a lift back to the village to enjoy our Saturday evening and toast what was effectively the end of the walking holiday, as we had decided to go straight to Newcastle the next day.
However as we were sitting there thinking back on our time on the crags, two other Wall walkers, a father and son, came in and sat down at the next table. I couldn’t help myself and struck up a conversation which lasted for the best part of the evening. The two seemed eager but also slightly daunted, with too-heavy packs and leather boots. Since they were Conformists, walking from East to West, I rattled on about places to stay, places to eat, stretches with no services, possible bag transfer, sending stuff home, pack strap adjustments etc for an eternity, but they didn’t seem to mind. (Hi, if you are reading this, please let me know how your walk was!)
After a nice evening we then got a taxi back to Ironsign again and had a long and good night’s sleep.