Day 5 – Black Carts to Harlow Hill
~14 miles / 9 hours
Day 5 began with a hearty breakfast. About halfway through gobbling it down we were told that, if we were ready to leave in 10 minutes, we could get a lift back to Black Carts. We shoveled our food down, stuffed everything into our bags and ran to the car, not wanting to make them wait!
This meant we had to do our morning ritual on the side of the windy road, which isn’t the ideal place to apply band-aids and creams. But we weren’t complaining considering that the alternative was waiting for the bus or walking!
Off we went.
The trail eventually led us through the towns of Walwick and Chollerford, and mainly consisted of large stretches of pavement, like way back in Bowness, rather than the grass and rock terrain we had grown used to over the past few days. We passed through the Heavenfield Battle site, stopping to read the memorial and enjoy a quick rest (James’s lower legs and feet were massively swollen at this point, so frequent stops were needed).
All in all, this was our least favourite day of the walk. The terrain had flattened out, meaning that the epic views were gone. The path was a never-ending straight line (even more so than before). There wasn’t too much to look forward to, and it felt like work rather than enjoyment to get through it.
Don’t get us wrong, there were still pretty views and we still had the thrill of the adventure. But James was in so much pain today that he actually almost dropped out of the walk. We were tired, we were achy, and we bickered on and off throughout the day.
We’d had enough. We were ready to be finished.
We pushed ourselves along, through Portgate, through Chesters Fort, through Halton Shields, and through Wall Houses. We checked each place off on our map as we walked on and on.
We had a bit of much needed comic relief when we stopped for a break. We sat on a huge rock in the middle of a field when a massive gust of wind picked up. It was so strong that it made us lose our balance, and it was almost impossible to have a drink of water without spilling it on ourselves. Our snacks threatened to blow away, and our jackets were flapping in the wind.
Annoyed that we couldn’t enjoy our rest, we packed up and moved on. Literally ten steps away from where we were sitting, the wind stopped. Completely. Somehow we managed to find the one rest stop that was caught in a wind tunnel! It showed us how vast and open this walk really is: any type of weather can hit, and at any point. Even if it’s only a few steps away. It was both frustrating and funny that if we’d just gone a few more steps we could have eaten our food without disturbance!
We passed the Whittle Dene Reservoir and this is where James seriously thought about stopping. He was in so much pain and was limping really badly. He really did need to see a doctor.
Krysta was literally pulling him along for different parts of the day, trying to encourage him to finish, but obviously not realising how much pain he was actually in.
Our pace was slow but we continued onwards.
One foot in front of the other.
It was a hard day.
Our aim was to reach Heddon-on-the-Wall, but only made it as far as Harlow Hill. We lived in nearby Gateshead, so we rang a taxi and headed back home for the night.
It was so nice to sleep in our own beds and be in our own space again.
But we still had a day to go.
Have you ever had a tough day while on a hike? What happened? Let us know in the comments!