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Walking the Wall – Day 5

Day 5 – Gilsland to Brampton

A very gentle walk today to finish the week. The landscape became more and more gentle as I walked into Cumbria – farmland that has been cultivated for generations, rather than the barren moorland of the previous days.

I hadn’t planned on visiting the ruined Lanercost Priory, but I’m so glad I did. It is enchanting. It’s built from a mixture of masonry pilfered from the wall and the local sandstone – and I was lucky to see it in some beautiful light. The mortally ill Edward I stayed here for months on his way north to do battle with the Scots. I could see why he wanted to stay.

The final ramble through the woods to Brampton, and to the statue of the Emperor Hadrian, was magical. Dappled trees, little waterfalls and plenty of mud. It was a perfect final forty minutes of a wonderful week of walking.

I ended my DofE log, 33 years ago, with these words… “My feelings are that we have all been tested in various ways. The hike itself has had a good deal of varied terrain which tested our navigational and walking skills well. No problems really.

“The team. There is a stronger bond between us than there was before the hike and we are now real friends I think. So although we might have annoyed each other to distraction at times, I think we learnt a lot about ourselves and each other too. There’s no room for artificiality on such an expedition.

“I know we all trust each other, and know how far each of us can go on certain matters. I’m really glad to have gone on the trip. I’ve learned that I have more resilience and stick ability than I thought I had, but that I’m quick to get irritated when tired. I have learned that I find it hard to follow; that I cannot stop myself from trying to lead even if I try not to; that often people look to me for confirmation of opinions, even when I’m not confident that I’m right; that I can be insufferable when I start talking politics. And I’ve also learned that I love walking.”

I’m still insufferable in so many ways. I still love walking. And it’s been great to spend a week rediscovering the teenage me.


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