Friday, 5 October 2018

Selected parts of The Hadrian Wall Path - Northumberland 10 Sept 2018

Selected parts of The Hadrian Wall Path
Distance 9km Climb 210m
Monday 10 September 2018

An unexpected opportunity came along to visit Hadrian's Wall. I have done this part of The Hadrian's Wall Path a few times, so with my guide book in hand off we went.

Today I was walking with my friends Kev and Les, we were introducing Mac and Pax, from the USA, to some areas of Hadrian's Wall. 

On our way to Greenhead I gave them a little bit of information I had on Hadrian's Wall. Leaving the car at Greenhead and after sorting through some food we set off. What had started as a promising day, weather wise, soon turned wet, unfortunately as you will see this affected some of my photos.

We left Greenhead walking northwards following The Pennine Way, crossing the footbridge to walk up by Tipal Burn, northerly towards Holmhead. I have stayed at the Holmhead camping barn before and I have pitched my tent in the garden. I would recommend it, I have always found it a nice place to stay.

We stopped for a photo next to Holmhead, you can see part of Thirlwell Castle rising above the trees.

We walked round Holmhead, where we joined The Hadrian Wall Path. For the next few km The Pennine Way and The Hadrian Wall Path are joined together. Turning right, east onto a track we follow the track as it starts to twist a little and starts the climb uphill. Through a gate and we continued walking up a grass path that followed a wide ridge uphill.

At the top the views are usually stunning. If the weather had been better we would have been able to see part of The Hadrian Wall Path stretching west and parts of The Pennine Way stretching south.

Crossing the style we continued west.

Dropping down to cross a road and enter the area of Cawfield and the disused quarry. I was here a few months ago on The Haltwhistle Rings. 

We continued along the gentle climb up to Cawfield Craggs, also known as Walltown. I think The Wall is quite impressive along here. Especially if you consider it is nearly 2000 years old.

You can see The Wall moving eastwards, as it rises and falls along the natural boundary of the whin sill. This is a very popular walk and despite the weather there were a few walkers about.

A cold wet wind was blowing blustery rain from the west onto our backs.

As I used to tell my children, and other people I have brought along here metal detectorists are not allowed in the area. However moles could bring up pieces of treasure that may be found in the mole hills. Everyone laughs but many try, Les confessed later that he had kicked over a few mole hills on our walk.

After a few kilometres we decided to stop for a short meal, and found a nice sheltered place on the leeward side of the hill to stop and chat.

After our meal we headed back towards our transport. I had a couple of little diversions on the way in the form of Geocaches.

On reaching Walltown, just after Cawfield Craggs, we turned right off The Wall Path onto another footpath that took us almost under the Craggs to find my first Geocache of the day. Returning to The Wall Path we continued west, crossing the road and over the style. Near the bottom of the hill, Kev helped find the second Geocache of the day, thanks to Kev.

Through the gate and walking to the north of Holmhead we reached Thirlwall Castle for Mac to help me find the third Geocache of the day.

Les was examining the area of the castle where the prison had been. What was left shows the ceiling would have been just passed Les's waist. Showing the prison would have been a very small cramped dark place.

We soon returned to Greenhead and the visit would not have been complete without a stop at the café.

In the car we drove back up the B6318 and took the turning left to stop at Steel Rigg carpark. The weather had become a lot worse. What had been blustery showers was now full on rain. Leaving the carpark heading east we followed the path as it turns across the field by The Wall, to the viewpoint. Mist and rain obscured most of the view across Steel Rigg towards Peel Crags and Crag Lough.

Another outstanding part of The Wall, in fact I think all of it is impressive. Following the path downhill we turned to climb the edge of Peel Crags. At the top we followed beside The Wall, on a clear day we would have been able to see it head off into the distance.

A little bit of up and down, just over the next hill Kev, before we reached the Milecastle overlooking Sycamore Gap. As shown in the Kevin Costner's version of Robin Hood "Prince of Thieves". I remember years ago bringing my children here and calling it Robin Hood's Tree and getting strange looks from people passing by, but now everyone calls it Robin Hoods Tree. I have just thought what will History make of that in the future?

Another Geocache called and so after an easy find it was time for a few photos and head back. Rain covered the lens.

Back up and down over to Peel Crags then the climb down the side of the ridge. Les and Kev with Mac and a few rain drops  photobombing.

Do you think Kev looks a little pensive about the last few steps?

It was not long before we were back up along the footpath and at the carpark, in the shelter of the car.

Although wet it had been a great day. Checking my map I calculated we had covered approx. 9km with approx. 210m climb. I had had a great time sharing some information on what I believe is a spectacular area. Mac and Pax from the USA seamed to enjoy the day as well as Kev and Les. I would have loved taking them on another walk. Thanks for the Day.

Just by chance I was passing along the B6318 a few days later when the weather was a lot better, it was warm and sunny and I could see there must have been a couple of hundred walkers scattered all along The Wall.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow link to another walk along here Cawfield to Housesteads with better weather.
Follow link to when I walked here on The Pennine Way.
Follow link to when I walked her on The Hadrian Wall Path.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Marsaskala to Marsaxlokk Bay - Malta 3 Sept 2018

Marsaskala to Marsaxlokk Bay
Distance 16.3k Climb 225m
Monday 3 September 2018

Today we were doing Walk 3 from the booklet Malta 10 Great Walks. A walk we did not get the chance to do last year. If you would like a copy of the booklet then please follow the link.  The booklet gives a good description of routes and points out loads of interesting information. I am writing the basic details of our walk, as it would be wrong of me to copy all of the information from the booklet. I would recommend this booklet to anyone interested in doing this walk.

From our hotel we took the first bus we could into Valletta. At the bus concourse we changed for a bus that would take us to Marsaskala.

Arriving at Marsaskala we overshot our stop and so walked back along the promenade to the start of the walk at the parish church of St Anne's and the impressive bell tower.

After a few photos we walked back along the promenade, south, and followed it as it turned east around Marsakala Bay. It was very quiet and there were not a lot of people about.

Near the entrance to the bay as the promenade turns south east we saw a number of saltpans dug into the limestone.

As the promenade curves south passing the peninsula we passed St Thomas Tower.

There is a Geocache nearby. So we had a walk around the Tower, on checking out the details I saw that it had not been found for some time so we gave it a miss.

Returning to the promenade the booklet advises pass the old Jerma Palace Hotel and head down to the shore rather than walk the road.

So this is what we did. We passed a pillbox and walked across the rocks above more saltpans. Which took us south west into St Thomas Bay.

This turns into a flat area with saltpans then into a small beach area, families were gathering to enjoy the sun. We could see that part of the beach was closed and so we took a path up the side of the cliff and around, avoiding the closed area.

We returned to the beach further along dropping down from the cliff near a small café. A little further on there was a lifeguard station and another café where we stopped for a short rest and some refreshments.

After our rest we continued around St Thomas Bay.

At the top of the track we passed a closed gate and continued around the Bay.

Our route turns up the path to our right, east across the peninsula but before going up here I continued, north east further along the Bay and took some photos of the arches in the rocks. Birds were nesting in shady hollows in the rock face.

And I took photos of the tower.

Returning back to the route, I turned east crossing the peninsula.

We followed the path along the top of the cliffs, south and as it turns inland, south west.

Passed a fortified farmhouse with its own chapel, the booklet advises turn left, east for a 100m to get a view of caves and cliffs.

After taking a few photos I returned back to the path we were following towards Marsaxlokk. On reaching the Tas-Silg Fort we turned left, south east, we could hear the dogs.

At the end of the path we followed the signs towards St Peter's Pool, south. This gave us our first view of Marsaxlokk Bay and took us onto the road, where at the junction we turned left, east then south east, walking above the power station.

A little further on we started turning left and right and left as the signs led us, north then north east and east, down to St Peter's Pool from the main road. It was very warm here and a lot of people were enjoying the sun and clear water.

We crossed to the other side and found some shade, Anne decided to stay here and rest. I walked a little further around the coast.

There was hardly anyone around here as I walked around the corner.

Headingsouth east towards the Lighthouse at Delimara Point. It was along here I came across some loud snapping dogs, fortunately they were tied up.

Moving southwards I reached the road that led me to the lighthouse.

Walking passed the lighthouse, I could see more saltpans at the end of Delimara Point.

On returning back along the road I stopped to take a look at the outside of Fort Delimara and the deep defences.

On returning back to the road I continued along it for awhile and took a path down to my right, north east back to the coast. Hoping to avoid the dogs, unfortunately the path I took led me straight to them. Never mind once passed them I continued along the coast.

Until I reached Anne sitting under her tree in the shade.

Together we walked back up to the main road in reverse to our walk down to St Peter's Pool, and turned right. Walking back above the power station returning to the junction where we had turned to follow the signs to the Pool. Now we continued straight on for a few hundred meters before taking a track down to our left, south west.

This led us down hill onto another main road, where we turned right, north. At the next junction we turned left, west. We had been to Marsaxlokk Bay before on another trip to the Sunday market. So we knew where we were heading.

The quayside looked so different without all the stalls and hustle and bustle of all the people at the Sunday market in Marsaxlokk Bay.

After buying a drink and taking a few photos we walked passed the parish church.

Up to the road where we turned left and walked a few meters to the bus stop. We had timed it just right the bus was waiting and so we were soon on our way back to Valletta.

Arriving in Valletta at the bus concourse we ran to catch our bus back to our hotel. It had been an excellent day walking. We had covered 16.3km with 225m climb. We had now completed all the walks from the booklet Malta 10 Great WalksI would recommend checking out this link to anyone interested in doing any walking in Malta.

This was our last full day in Malta and we had had a great time, tomorrow we would be on our way home.

More to follow

Boz North
Details correct at time of writing.
Follow link to our previous walk in Malta Dingli Cliffs and Buskett 31 August 2018.