Another fabulous day today!
We have always loved seeing Hadrian's Wall in all its bleak glory in winter but I have to say it was unbelievably stunning today. Everywhere luscious green and a beautiful blue sky. Not too hot but sunny and gorgeous. Perfect!!
I didn't have high hopes of being able to park in the car park at Steel Rigg (because we didn't leave at dawn!!) and we decided to carry on to Housesteads and walk back to the Sycamore Gap. We've never done this before - and we're not a family who likes to deviate from the way we "normally" do things - so Miss E asked could we at least go and see if there was space to park in our normal car park. There wasn't and it was a bit chaotic but as luck would have it the man was just opening the overflow carpark (the field next door) and asked us to go right down to the far end and park parallel to the wall. Best parking spot ever! (See extras)
We've always been incredibly lucky with the weather in December but it was so different walking in t-shirts up the crags and along the wall.
And having a picnic in the shade of the sycamore at Sycamore Gap. With hordes of other people which you don't get in December!
We loved it!!
We carried on walking past the tree to our normal picnic spot - and bemoaned the fact we didn't have our usual chicken crisps and mince pies! - then it was onto new ground.
Well for me and Miss E anyway. We decided to carry on to Housesteads while Miss L and Mr K went back to Marshall to drive and meet us there.
It was lovely seeing a new stretch of the wall. Bloody hard work in places though. Miss E striding off like some sort of Eastern European fitness instructor didn't do much for my ego. And it was a little soul destroying that whenever I huffed and puffed my way up yet another hill to get to where she was waiting at the top she'd set off again immediately, apparently not noticing my need to lie down!!
We got to Housesteads and waited for Miss L and Mr K. They arrived not long after we got there and trudged their way up the hill to us. I had assumed we'd be able to go into the fort but the woman at the visitor centre said they were only accepting pre-booked tickets for today and we couldn't go in. One of the things I struggle with most about all the Covid shittiness is that it's taken away spontaneity. Everything has to be planned and booked down to the last detail. Sigh.
But it was still lovely to be there and take in the breathtaking views.
From Housesteads we went into Haltwhistle to get some supplies (biscuits, teacakes, chocolate cereal, wraps and Twirls. To keep us alive!) and to see if we could get a replacement gas cylinder for the Cadac. That was a big fat no!
It's very hard to describe the next hour. It was like an episode of 24 - ringing up a campsite to be told they had none but recommended their supplier; going there to be told no but try this garage five miles away. They had none but said ring this other caravan supply store; calling them and getting asked for all my details before they could tell me about the gas; me hanging up after they didn't believe me when I said my name was Smith (it isn't!!!). Getting calls from Falmouth - from the people I'd hung up on - saying they were in Haltwhistle in unintelligible Indian accents demanding I give all my details. Going to an industrial estate in the back end of nowhere to find the caravan repair shop who had no gas on site but said try this auto shop. Going to the autoshop to discover it was the same one we'd been to earlier but we hadn't known the name!!!
It was then we decided to give up and go and eat all the goodies we'd bought in Sainsbury's five hours before!!!
And Mr K cooked the BBQ stuff on the hob again. Delicious, who needs gas?!!!