Walking The Walk: Walltown Quarry to Laversdale

Me: being silly in a ski pose
Some early morning pretend Ski-ing
Photo by Iain Sewell

It’s about here my memory for start/stop points becomes fuzzy. I’m grateful, now, that people had been liberal with their photo taking as it’s really helped jog my memory for landmark names. I wish I’d done more of it!

We started in two different groups today. Ant and Drew decided to start back at Cawfield’s Quarry, but most of us skipped 3 miles ahead to Walltown quarry: roughly were Kel had stopped the previous day. That might have been a bit of a cheat, but one I was grateful for given how horrible my feet had felt the previous day. I’d limped around the campsite and decided to risk wearing the new ones today. I’m glad I did! It’s obvious now that not only had my old boots had bad splits in the toe leather, but ankle and foot support was also badly worn out. It was also worth starting there as we were starting to lag in pace a little. Everyone was having their problems with feet/knees/legs.

It was yet another clear, sunny day, though icy in the morning. The guidebooks had said the hard part for heights was over and we were hopeful for no more climbs. The climbs felt easier on my feet then descents had the previous day, for some unknown reason, so didn’t much mind.

Thirlwell Castle
Thirlwell Castle
Photo by Sara Wingham

We started fairly flat, wondering past the ruin of Thirlwell Castle and across a train track, stopping for photos, and through a bit of a hamlet. It wasn’t long before we came upon a steep-ish ascent into some ruins. We stopped here for more photos and breath catching before heading on over a shiny new bridge that looked out of place for the ruins.

We followed more of the wall, eventually, though the visible bits were starting to lessen once again as we headed out. Soon we found Birdoswald Roman Fort/museum, another one of the stamping points for our National Trail passports. We also stopped for tea and, in my case, a lemonade!

We reckon we’d given Drew and Ant plenty of time to catchup, and continued along what was mostly dirt path that got narrower and narrower. The ground was less muddy underfoot, thankfully, but the path followed a road and there wasn’t much to see. At one point we had to dive into the bushes at the side to let a coachful of experienced walkers meander passed, some making witty comments about age as they went past. Did make me chuckle.

Our wonderful support crew
Photo by Iain Sewell

The lunch stop wasn’t far away, and Ant and Drew caught us up just before we reached it, ahead of schedule. There were more ruins here, ‘Banks East Turret’, and quite a nice view of the countryside, so we sat and awaited the Crimson Moon in the sunshine.

I’ll be honest – the landmarks came few and far between in the afternoon. In fact with that ‘facilities’ came few and far between to, much to the discomfort of some. We’d made excellent progress and were ahead of schedule so when we go to the initial stopping point, Brampton I think, we decided to head on. Most of the afternoon were a combination of road and bridleways, blissfully flat but not much to see.

Eventually, we were to start hearing the low hums of aeroplanes from Carlisle airport, which housed smaller planes as opposed to airliners so when one landed nearby, we weren’t completely deafened! It wasn’t far from here that we reached our stopping point at a Laversdale busstop and since some clever person had contacted Crimson Moon Tiki Taxi, it wasn’t long before pick up.

I’m not sure how this came about, but Gary, who’d been helping Iain and Susie hold the fort, was out waiter for the evening. He even draped a clean tea towel over his arm. We each had our dinners brought to us. I definitely wasn’t complaining!

The cloud coverage in the afternoon meant a milder night and evening for us. There was more singing tonight, with some members of the party being introduced to the cat song for the first time, much to their amusement.

Mileage for the day: approx 15 miles for me, 18 miles for Ant and Drew.