Day 4 – Caw Gap to Black Carts
~14miles / 9 hours
The start of day 4 brought a lot of pain for James’s legs and a lot of pain for our poor sunburnt skin. We didn’t have enough supplies for pain relief, so the managers of our campsite were kind enough to drive us into Haltwhistle after breakfast to stock up. We managed to get what we needed: sunscreen, after-sun, bandaids, paracetamol, sore-muscle cream, freeze spray and some snacks.
We were staying at the same campsite for another night, so we were able to leave one bag and everything we didn’t need for the day behind. We crammed the necessities, including our new stash of supplies, into the other bag and grabbed the camera before getting a lift back to our starting point for the day.
To our excitement (not), the first challenge of the day towered immediately in front of us. A vertical climb right off the bat. Excellent.
And the terrain didn’t really change from there. It was another day full of steep inclines and steep declines. But the silver lining was that it made for some amazing views once again!
One of the best views from the whole hike was when we reached Winshields Crags. This is the highest point of the entire walk, stretching up to a height of 1100 feet (don’t forget that the walk starts at sea level!). This is definitely one of those points where you need to stop and take in the views.
We continued on and soon we reached the most well-known part of the walk: the Sycamore Gap. Basically, it’s a lone sycamore tree right at the bottom of a dip in the Wall. This is most famous for being used in the film ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ with Kevin Costner and Alan Rickman (in which Rickman is superb!).
We recommend taking another break here. Although we will warn you that it’s by far the busiest section of the wall, as it’s quite popular for an afternoon walk or for a day trip out. You might have to wait a few minutes for the area to clear to get a good photo, but it is worth it.
After snacking, sipping some water and waiting for our perfect photo opportunity, we pushed onward.
Next, we reached Housesteads Fort, where we were in the same situation as we were at Birdoswald – we would’ve loved to stop and explore but we didn’t want to lose walking-time. But we did use it as a quick break in order for James to reapply creams and sprays to his lower limbs, as he was still massively suffering.
After a bit more walking, we reached last remains that we would pass for the day: Brocolitia Fort and the Temple of Mithras at Carrawburgh. The temple was a little flooded when we visited – funny considering we were sunburnt and dealing with nothing but heat – but it was still an interesting place to spend a few minutes looking around.
We were getting quite tired at around 7pm and were ready to stop for the day as we approached Black Carts. Our campsite managers had previously mentioned that, as a last resort, we could call them for a lift back to the site if needed. Yes, there is a bus that runs up and down the route of the wall and will stop at any point if it’s called over (in Europe this is done by sticking your hand out), but we had missed the last bus by this point. So we called them and they were kind enough to drive along and pick us up.
On the way back, they told us that they were heading back into Haltwhisle to pick up some fish and chips for their dinner, and asked if we wanted to go along with them.
We answered with a resounding, “Yes, please!”
It was the meal that we would have loved to have eaten the day before, but better late than never, we guess!
Our night ended with our routine of stretching, meds, massages, and bed.
Have you been anywhere that’s been used as a movie set? Let us know in the comments!