I awake to a beautiful morning at the Robin Hood Inn feeling better than I have in years. The last two days I’ve walked almost twenty five miles along the Hadrian’s Wall path by myself, self guided and without any distractions.
Only my thoughts keep me company. Everyone knows that exercise makes one feel better, and the constant movement over the last couple of days have certainly done me wonders, but it is becoming clear to me that what I am experiencing is so much more than just “feeling better”.
The amount of water I’ve been taking in has had profound effects. No television or music has given my mind greater clarity and focus. I feel stronger and more confident. I can’t wait to get back onto the trail.
Sitting down to a healthy vegetarian English breakfast, a couple from Minnesota asks me about my journey.
“Aren’t you nervous being by yourself?”
They simply can not grasp the concept of hiking alone in a foreign country, but wish me well. Just before 9 a.m., I leave the Robin Hood Inn and continue along the path.
The mis-steps over the previous two days are hopefully in my rear view, as I now feel that I truly understand how the path works. I don’t see myself getting lost going forward. A couple going the opposite direction as me warns about a pretty muddy section of the path just ahead.
I come to a field of sheep grazing in the early morning light, then look down and see the muddy section the couple was referring to. There is no way around it, and I’m quickly covered in mud and sheep poop.
Making my way through the sheep fields, I come to the first of many ladders to help hikers over the stone walls and farm fences. These ladders feel like the little obstacles we all encounter in life, and climbing over them I get the sense of conquering small challenges holding me back, whether they be mental or physical blocks stopping me from reaching my potential, dare I say my true purpose.
The countryside is more stunning the further I go. Sheep are closer to the path than ever, although they are extremely skittish as I approach. I hope that with time I become closer to the animals out here.
Lone trees dot the landscape in dramatic fashion. I wander off the path a little bit, and rest at the base of a tree to enjoy my lunch. I am making great time on this stretch of the journey, and take the time to read for a spell under the shade. The freedom that I have is unparallelled to anything I’ve felt before.
In the silence out here, a large flock of Starlings create a loud, deafening buzz in the air as the dark swooning birds seem to be tossed around in the sky by the wind. I watch them move across the skyline in total wonderment. When was the last time I stopped to watch the beauty of birds flying?
I come to Brunton Turret, another well preserved section of Hadrian’s Wall. The remains of what most likely was a place for Roman soldiers to rest and eat, I take my time to slowly move my hands over the ancient stones and wander in the fields.
Day Three covers nine miles, and brings me back to the river Tyne, which I haven’t seen since the morning of Day Two. I head down to the river’s edge where the remains of old Roman Bath’s are found.
I have about an hour before I can check into my guesthouse, so I break the book back out and read as the river Tyne flows toward the sea next to me, rainclouds start to gather and turn dark as the afternoon slowly makes it’s way into evening.
Eventually I leave the river and head back to the trail. I across the bridge that leads to the Village of Humshaugh, leaving the path and walking towards my guesthouse for the evening, the lovely Linden Holme.