My mate Pete is a Master when it comes to organising our trips. Everything was booked and in place by October last year, but then, in January, not one, but two of our B&Bs cancelled (due to refurbishment of their bedrooms)! There are not many places to stay on or near the route but, of course, Pete was up to the challenge and he promptly rearranged for us to stay at two different places.
The first was to stay in Greenhead rather than Haltwhistle. This helped in a way, as we would have had to walk off the route to get to Haltwhistle, BUT it did mean that it would add another 2 or 3 miles to our, already long, third day, making it at least 20 miles long. A quick look at the contours on the map told me that this was going to be a very up and down day and, with a 7kg (15.5 lb) pack on your back, it would easily be equivalent to doing a marathon (for which I was certainly not prepared!)
The second change was that the owner of our expected accommodation in the village of Wall offered to pick us up from there and drive us to (and back from) one of his other pubs in Newbrough, which was 5 miles away. (Clearly we were not planning on walking that far off the route!) Again this turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the Red Lion was very comfortable, also had our, by now, favourite beer, called “Ale Caesar” and they served up the best food we tasted all week. 🙂 Not only that but, Liam was suffering from a chest infection, so after reaching Housesteads (about 10 miles or half way in) he made the strategic decision to take the ‘short cut’ directly to Newbrough. However, this still involved going to the top of what turned out to be the last hill at Sewingshields Crags and then walking 4 to 5 miles along the road to Newbrough.
Meanwhile, Pete and I soldiered on (I hope you got the pun there) a further 10 miles along what was thankfully a fairly flat path running alongside the B6318 to Walwick and Collerford, before the path turned south to Wall. The only thing that kept me going was Pete’s promise of a beer in the appropriately name Hadrian Hotel in Wall. Cheers Pete! 🍻 😀