Day 15 & 16 - Carlisle

You’ve got to play with the dominos you pick up. I’d planned to spend the three days of the Bank Holiday weekend walking from Garrigill to Hadrian’s Wall and beyond. Instead I spent the rest of Saturday limping round the city centre, drinking some very palatable Yates’s bitter, chatting with anyone who’d listen, and watching excellent street entertainers. I also gained a brief insight into Carlisle’s night scene, in which police and paramedics were kept busy protecting the young from inadvertently damaging themselves after excess doses of whatever it is that makes them as daft as they appear.

‘Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command.’
Bob Dylan

On Sunday I rode a train to Haltwhistle and caught the bus to Vindolanda, where an active archaeological dig continues to reveal relics from the Roman occupation. A previous intention to educate myself here when walking the Pennine Way had been thwarted by vile weather, but this time conditions could not have been better. Sadly, my leg was still painful, and I couldn’t imagine walking on it for days to come.

When I returned to Abberley House, Geoff asked me if I’d be hitting the trail next day. I said I doubted it, but maybe he knew more than me. I spent the evening considering my options. The analysis went something like this:

Return to Nenthead and carry on? – No, because I’ll probably break down on a rarely trodden moor.

Go home? – No, because I should give myself a chance to walk further before giving in.

Write off the two days I’ve missed and go to Haltwhistle by train? – Yes, because I’ll be in a busy area and near public transport if I can’t continue.

From Haltwhistle walk the Alternative Pennine Way to Falstone and Byrness? – No, because it’s unknown ground and there might be nobody using those tracks.

From Haltwhistle walk the Pennine Way to Bellingham and Byrness? – Yes, because although I didn’t plan to go that way there might be other walkers who could help me, and I think I can remember most of it.

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