The rains have left, and outside my window at the Old Repeater Station I can sense the raw power of an electric day ahead of me. My body has morphed overnight into a new strength, shedding the exoskeleton of pain from the prior days of walking into a titanium frame of confidence. It’s the best way I can describe how I felt.
I thank Les for a lovely breakfast and his warm hospitality, and head out into the crisp morning. I see the small grove of trees around a farm on top of a hill, the gateway back onto the Hadrian’s Wall path.
The words of great writers and poets, musicians and philosophers flood my thoughts as I enter Whin Sill. The most intact section of the Wall has begun, with majestic crags and blue lochs filling the landscape before me.
I first read Jack London in 7th grade. Although I certainly didn’t fully appreciate White Fang or The Call of the Wild, I recognized his great literary style. “The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” – Jack Griffith London.
Nature and the cells in my bloodstream have meshed into one being, two inseparable lovers out here in Northumberland.
Roald Dahl was my go to as a child. Danny, the champion of the world was my favorite, a book about a young English boy who lived in a gypsy caravan with his father fixing cars and poaching pheasants. I spent many a Saturday afternoon dreaming of doing the same.
The word Sewingshields is inscribed on the next gate I come to, and another strong feeling of an unknown force entering my soul is felt as I continue onward. I’m given a lift in my spirit never felt before, as if one is teleported to another moment in time.
Jim Morrison and the Doors is where I started to love music. When I was eighteen a friend introduces me to his poetry, which changed my outlook on life. “Is everybody in? Is everybody in? The ceremony is about to begin. The entertainment for this evening is not new, you’ve seen this entertainment through and through you have seen your birth, your life, your death…you may recall all the rest. Did you have a good world when you died? enough to base a movie on?”.
Hunger strikes, and I venture off the trail down to the shores of a loch below. The wind gently moves the clouds across the sky, the images ripple through the clear water lapping at my feet. A black slug and a robin join me as I eat, the three of us take in the silence in symbiotic fashion.
J.R.R. Tolkien and The Hobbit was read cover to cover until the book fell apart, but I never got the allegory. Yet being here in England his stories have a much deeper and profound meaning to me now.
“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite something you were after.”
Climbing the highest crag yet, I see Sycamore Gap for the first time. It’s a powerful symbol of strength. The energy emanating from the tree here is almost visible, definitely palpable as my skin absorbs the goodness and vitality all around me. I feel awake, present, and filled with purpose.
I carry on.
Up and over each crag I slowly go, not so much due to it being strenuous, but each stone along the path has a vortex of energy that flows up from my feet through the rest of my body as I walk along.
Descending the final crag of this section of Hadrian’s Wall I see Steel Rigg. I look back in complete amazement not only of the landscape, but from the raw and divine power coming from this land.
I check my GPS and see that my guesthouse is off the pathway about three miles. I leave Steel Rigg and make my way to my destination.
My butterfly has returned, the one that was with me during my first three days of walking. So grateful was I to have it with me then, yet upon seeing the butterfly again, I speak to it, saying that it is time for us to part and go on our separate journeys.
I arrive at HunterCrook, my guesthouse for the next two days. I’ve walked forty four miles so far, and have made it to my rest day. I hop into the hot tub, letting the warm water sooth my muscles as my mind processes the abundance of Nature’s energy from today’s section of the Wall.