I was very worried about day 3, because of the hills that I knew were coming, and the fact that my legs hurt like buggery when I went to bed on day 2.
Because we had arrived so late on day 2, N and I decided to set off earlier to get a bit of a head start on people. This put us in a really good mood from the start, as even if we were going slowly, we were still ahead of other people. After about a mile or two, the first group overtook us, but this was the group made up of insane people who walk faster than is humanly possible, so we didn’t worry about them too much.
The scenery on this day was marvellous, the day started with immediate big sections of Wall, and then a Roman temple. This was later followed by more wall, which we could then see for a lot of the rest of the walk. The milecastles that we started passing also provided us with a way to keep track of the distances that we were passing.
At about lunchtime, and just as we made it to Halsteads fort, another group of walkers caught up with us and we could enjoy a nice break, sat in the sunshine. And a cup of coffee, which despite being out of a paper cup and with whitener rather than real milk, was one of the best coffees I’ve ever had. After the break we were heartened to realise that we were already over half way there, and took off with a bit of a spring in our steps. And following a bit of Prince of Thieves re-enactment at a certain tree (video evidence of which will almost certainly appear at some point) we made it to the pub we had earmarked for dinner very quickly, and most people seemed to be coming in saying what a marvellous day they had had.
Following group photos the next morning, we set off again on day 4. Again, N and I tried to set out ahead of the main pack, as we had a deadline for arrival. Because of where appropriate accommodation for 35 people can be found, we had to overshoot our bunkhouse, and then get a coach back to it later. It was therefore essential that we made the coach pick up point by the agreed time of 4:30.
The first half of the day was quite hilly again, and the down hill sections were difficult to keep your footing on.
Halfway through the day, my ankle started to feel quite suspect, so we bandaged it up and tried to plough on again.
The day felt quite difficult, but began to get a bit easier as we met up with other groups and had the opportunity for a bit of a chat and a laugh.
We walked past huge pieces of Hadrian’s Wall and the foundations of what was once a bridge, before having to walk up a really steep bugger of a hill, at which point we lost the group we had been with as it took me longer to get to the top. Fortunately, at the top was Birdoswald fort, and as I has pretty much resigned myself to not making the coach, we took advantage of the opportunity for a coffee and a sit down.
At that point the last group came up behind us, and after a quick stop to purchase mead, we all set of again, and with the encouragement of these new walkers, I managed to considerably up the pace for the last few miles so that we made it to the coach pick up point with 15 minutes to spare!