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Walking the Hadrian's Wall Path

Map overviewNational Trail website: Hadrian's Wall

I do not remember how we came to decide to walk the Hadrian's Wall. There were some holidays left that needed to be taken. We both knew the area, and we knew it to be nice. We knew the weather would probably be English-rainy, no matter what time of the year we went there.

We left the rain in Karlsruhe, actually. When we stepped out the door, it was raining so hard we had to put the rain covers over our rucksacks. And that at half six in the morning! At least we had a first-class train ticket to the airport. It felt quite satisfying to scatter one's wet belongings all over a first-class cabin and watch the rain pour against the window. I bet that we would not need the raincoats any more until two days later. Somehow we survived the endless wait for the departure of the plane at Frankfurt airport, and the flight to Manchester. Of all kinds of possible sandwich selections, they had only tuna-turkey on board. Poor Gehard! Meat with four feet only, please. And we found out just after I had eaten the last salami sandwich from our packed lunch.

Manchester! I flew into Manchester numerous times, and each time it feels like coming home. The endless glass tunnels leading to the train station. Picking up the pre-bought tickets at the ticket machine. The escalator down to the platform. The waiting hall, so much more welcoming than any I have seen in Germany, with benches and chairs and tables, and with the small kiosk that sells sandwiches. The polite public announcements telling people when to board, or not to board a train. The hour-long wait for the First Transpennine Express to Newcastle seems like a few minutes only.

The train journey! Through the city of Manchester with its interesting architecture. I have never actually been in the city, but it seems to be a great location for architectural photographs. Old and modern buildings next to each other. Through the Pennines: small canals, rivers, rolling hills, and little villages and towns, with these lovely little houses built from grey natural stone. The fabulous view of Durham Cathedral from the viaduct. And finally, Newcastle. Half an hour delay, but at least not because of mismanagement, but because someone left a backpack in the waiting hall in Leeds, and the train could not be moved until it had been made sure there was no bomb in it.

River Tyne in Newcastle.
River Tyne in Newcastle.
Enjoying the sun on Tyne Riverside. Photo (c) Gerhard Bocksch.
Enjoying the sun on Tyne Riverside. Photo (c) Gerhard Bocksch.

Sunny weather! And blue sky. Blue as in blue, not the pale light colour that we call 'blue' in Karlsruhe because we do not know better.

Ah, and people drive on the left, but thankfully, every crossing has "LOOK RIGHT" printed on the road. And traffic lights. We quickly reach the Tyne, which presents itself as its best – especially in contrast to the underpass we had to use to get here, which was so full of pidgeon poo you could make a lifetime deal selling guano. Daffodils everywhere. And here we encounter the first sign "Hadrian's Wall Path". The acorn will accompany us for the next 120 km.

Now it is about 10 km westwards along the river, with the bright sun shining us right into the eyes. But who would dare to complain? I have a bet to lose! Sometimes the path is really beautiful, made for recreational purposes, with a beautiful view of the Type and with flower beds for decoration. Then again it passes old, derelict buildings, with a lot of trash lying around. But daffodils grow everywhere.

Around seven we reach Keelman's Lodge and Big Lamp Brewery, where we have a room for the night. Alas, I have a migraine and cannot enjoy the food, which is reported to be excellent here.

The next morning starts with even better weather than yesterday, if that is at all possible. Lots of folks are outside on the path, on bicycles or on foot. An elderly man walking his dog greets us and asks whether we are "doing the Wall", a phrase we will hear many times in the following days. Yes, we are. Ah, then, he recommends we visit the old church in Heddon-on-the-Wall, a village we can already see on a hill in the distance. The church is likely not mentioned in our guidebook (indeed it is not), but definitely worth a visit.

St. Andrews Church in Heddon-on-the-Wall.
St. Andrews Church in Heddon-on-the-Wall.
Wonderful sunny weather and blue sky!
Wonderful sunny weather and blue sky!

It is really warm today, especially when walking uphill. In Heddon-on-the-Wall, it is more by chance than by planning that we encounter the sign directing us to the church, situated in the back between other houses. While we are still debating whether to enter, people start to leave the building — it looks like the service just finished — and several of them ask us to go in. We are welcomed by a woman clad in purple (the colour of the Durham Prince Bishops?) who invites us to have a look around and have a cup of coffee which is right now being served in the back of the church. A gentleman from the congregation appears and barges in, urging us to take his "five minute only" tour of the church before having coffee. It is difficult to decline anything here, so we put down our backpacks and follow the man. He explains that St. Andrew's Church was built by the Saxons, and that the remains of the two original doors, now closed with masonry, have been dated back to 650 AD. He also shows other interesting items like a preaching stone used by Lindisfarne monks, and a knight's tombstone engraved with a sword. Then he hands us over to the women and men serving coffee and tea, who also urge us to try the cookies. A leaflet describing the church history is pressed into my hands, and I write a greeting into the church's guest book. My attempt to leave a donation is met with indignation until I declare it to be for the Easter decoration (and not for the tea). With many good wishes for our journey we are finally bidden farewell.

This is one reason why I love the U.K. In the German churches I have visited so far, I felt like an unwelcome intruder who does not belong, or, in the best case, a tourist that needs to be tolerated because she paid an entrance fee. An experience like this is just not possible in Germany. Thank you very much, Heddon-on-the-Wall!

The military road. To the left of the road is the path.
The military road. To the left of the road is the path.

The path continues parallel to the A69 and the military road. Here, we see the first signs of this emourmous construction: the vallum (I added a sketch of the wall's cross-section to the Hadrian's Wall Wikipedia page). The vallum is a large ditch of unknown function, running to the south and parallel to the wall. The path is lined with yellow gorse. One can see rolling hills on both sides. I like to think that the landscape is more rugged north of the wall, where the barbarians lived, and mellower to the south, where Roman civilisation ruled, but my companion assures me this is not the case.

Cross-section of Hadrian&rsquot;s Wall.
Cross-section of Hadrian's Wall (redrawn from Burton, Anthony: Hadrian's Wall Path. Aurum Press Ltd, London, 2012, page 23). Published under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0.
Sheep near Halton Red House.
Sheep near Halton Red House.
Whittle Dene is an artificial reservoir and features a shelter for wildlife watching. This is welcome for our lunch break because it is quite chilly in the wind (however, after we leave the hut later, we think it might have been warmer outside in the sun). We saw neither any spectacular birds nor the otters praised on an information board inside the shelter. But some hot tea, muesli bars and chocolate are sufficient to restore our good spirits nonetheless. Not long after that, we arrive at Halton Red House, the place of our next overnight stay. The lovely landlady welcomes us, asks us to leave our dirty shoes by the door, and shows us to our room. Halton Red House is a sheep farm which is still worked. It reminds me of my grandaunt who also has a farm. The carpet is fluffy, the room is well-heated. And, best of all (another thing you do not get in Germany), the room features kettle, tea, and selection of biscuits. The landlady offers to drive us to Corbridge for our dinner, since there is no pub nearby, which we thankfully accept. She recommends the Black Bull, which turned out to serve great meals, in terms of quality as well as size. Only after I ordered do I realise that the menu lists the calorie content per meal, and that my choice, the Sunday Roast (half a chicken with a lot of everything) has more than 700 calories. I do not think I have walked that much today... sadly, no space left for desert. The night is cold, but the sky magnificently clear and full of sparkling stars.

The <i>vallum</i>.
The vallum.
Breakfast is served in a room that has this wonderful aura of an old farm's great room, used only on Sundays to receive special guests. The food is delicious, with a wide selection of cereals, yoghurt, and even fresh berries. Because of yesterday's large dinner, we decline the offer of a full English breakfast. The landlady presents us with two small bags, but large for their purpose: our packed lunches. Her husband, taking a break from looking after his 200 sheep, sees us off.

Gorse in full flower.
Gorse in full flower.
Camouflage for the barbarians? Photo (c) Gerhard Bocksch.
Camouflage for the barbarians? Photo (c) Gerhard Bocksch.

Today, the path follows the military road closely. Shortly before we reach Chollerford and the famous Chester Roman Fort, the path takes a 2 km detour around Brunton, only to avoid walking along the road for 500 more metres. But on the farm track, we are surprised to see a grey sitting less than a metre away from the road, motionless, while we walk right past it. Only after we stop and turn around to take a closer look does it flee. We skip another short detour and the visit Brunton Turret, as it does not look much different from the other parts of wall we have seen so far. In Chollerford, we cross the River North Tyne on the old (but not Roman) bridge and continue along the military road. It looks like Chester Roman Fort is still closed because it is so early in the season, but as we have both seen it already, it does not really matter. Up the hill towards Walwick and then off through the fields. Our stomachs tell us it is time to investigate the contents of our packed lunches. Some cowpat on the grass, but no cattle in sight - surely the path will not pass right through a pasture with cows on it! So we unpack our stuff, pour some tea – and watch in amazement as a whole herd of cattle appears from a trough just a few metres away! The first one is black, nervous and stares right at us. Thankfully my orange jacket does not seem to have as provocative an effect as the toreros' red blankets have. So, the tea goes back into the thermos, and we go off through the next gate until we come to a stretch of more peaceful meadow, with no cowpat, and the vallum right in the middle. This looks better.

One of the many styles.
One of the many styles.
Raisins?
Raisins?

The lunch packets are luxurious indeed, typically English, with handmade ham-and-cheese sandwiches in hand-packed triangular plastic containers, a bag of crisps, a muesli and a chocolate bar, an apple, raisins and a bottle of water (Amazing! England does not just have all kinds and sizes of plastic ziplock bags, but also disposable sandwich containers. I have never seen those before). The sun is shining, but the wind is chilly, so we do not linger too long.

One of the many turrets, and the northern gate of Milecastle 37. One of the many turrets, and the northern gate of Milecastle 37.
One of the many turrets, and the northern gate of Milecastle 37.
View from our window in the Old Repeater station, which is in the middle of nowhere.
View from our window in the Old Repeater station, which is in the middle of nowhere.

On our way on, we pass turret 29A and Broccolita fort, of which there is only an overgrown rectangular shape left. At Milecastle 34 we leave the Hadrian's Wall Path and continue on the military road instead, towards the Old Repeater Station where we will spend the night. The Old Repeater Station is a house in the middle of nowhere, or more exactly, at the junction of the military road and the road to Haydon Bridge. It is run by a man who apparently does not do Bed and Breakfast for the money, since there was a sign saying "no vacancies", but we were the only guests and had room number 5. The room was right under the roof, had two single-sheet roof-lights and an electric heater that tried it's best, but without much success. But the shower was hot, and the landlord invited us to use his living room, the lounge, which featured a fireplace. He offered beer from his wide selection of local brews, and made steak pie for dinner. We even got a glass of complimentary whiskey.

During the night, the weather changed, but as I had predicted, we had not had to use our raincoats before today. But now just after we left the Old Repeater Station, we stopped to put them on. It was drizzling and foggy. We reached the path again at Sewing Shields, shortly before Milecastle 35. Today's section is supposedly the most beautiful and impressive of the whole Wall, and it was a shame we were not quite able to indulge in all the impressive views. We passed Housesteads Roman Fort and it's visitor centre, museum and tea house (it was a bit early for lunch), and trudged on along the ridge of the Whin Sill cliffs which the Romans must have found very useful as an additional defense line for their wall. The path followed what we called "a cheerful up-and-down", up onto the cliffs and down into the gap between two cliffs. Here, the most famous places along the wall can be found: one of the most well-preserved milecastles: Milecastle 39, the famous Robin Hood Tree in Sycamore Gap, Steel Rigg, and Cragh Lough. The Romans built their milecastles exactly every Roman mile (1.8 km), no matter how the land looked like. Since the milecastles were the only places where the wall could be crossed, it meant sometimes that the folks wanting to cross had to go up a hill between two gaps, through the milecastle, and down again on the other side, just because the Romans had not wanted to deviate from their rule and built the castle a few metres away into the gap between the hills.

The weasel. Photo (c) Gerhard Bocksch.
The weasel. Photo (c) Gerhard Bocksch.

In the afternoon, we saw a small animal hopping through the grass. We stopped to see what it was (and besides, it was time for tea anyway, and were were still quite early for our arrival at the next BnB). After a long wait, it came out again and we got quite a good view of it. Apparently it was a weasel. It seemed to be carrying its young from its burrow to another place, one by one, always watching out for potential dangers (us). Eventually we were frozen stiff and the weasel had disappeared.

Walltown Crags.
Walltown Crags.

Around 5 p.m., we reached Holmhead Guest House, which is conveniently located directly next to the path. We were warmly welcomed by the landlady, who invited us to try her home-made lemon cake. Our room offered a fine view onto the sheep pasture right in front of the house, with lots of little lambs jumping around. In addition, we had the luxurious living room all to ourselves, since we were the only guests. Of course, the room offered the usual tee- and coffee-making facilities and a supply of chocolate powder for the preparation of hot chocolate, too. Holmhead is the first outpost of the village of Greenhead, so we went there to have dinner in the village pub, unsurprisingly named the Greenhead Hotel. They had a fire going in the dining room, and we got the place right in front of it. Heart-warming! And they had haggis on the menu, so I got a serving of that. What was supposed to be a starter only turned out to be a huge plate including salad and fries. Delicious!

Our room in Holmhead guest house, and the view from the lounge: Thirlwall castle and sheep. Our room in Holmhead guest house, and the view from the lounge: Thirlwall castle and sheep.
Our room in Holmhead guest house, and the view from the lounge: Thirlwall castle and sheep.

Breakfast was served in the living room, on a table with a perfect view of the (now again) blue sky, the ruins of nearby Thirlwall Castle, and another sheep pasture. The landlady provided promising-looking packed lunches for our onward journey. First we went through the village, and then again over fields and meadows along the Wall. Yesterday's more rugged landscape had now changed to more cultivated land, with lots of fences and stone walls and styles or wooden frame doors for crossing. We saw some impressive stretches of well-preserved wall and milecastles, as well as the foundations of one of the few bridges the Romans had built along the wall. The bridge itself was long gone and had been replaced by a modern foot bridge that had apparently won a prize for its design. When we left the valley of the River Irthing, we reached some kind of elevated plain or long, broad ridge. Unfortunately it offered no protection from the chilly breeze, so the sight of Birdoswald Roman Fort was very welcome. But sadly, during the early months of the year it is not open to the public, and only a group of schoolchildren were allowed inside. So we continued along the road, sometimes through fields or groves, until we found a place behind some trees which made a bit of a shelter. Lunch, as rich as the one two days ago, was consumed quickly in favour of moving on and becoming warm again.

Snow-covered Helvellyn and Scafell Pike in the distance.
Snow-covered Helvellyn and Scafell Pike in the distance.

Looking south, I was very surprised to see the snow-covered peaks of the Lake District in the distance! The GPS told me Helvellyn was more than 50 km away, and Scafell Pike nearly 70 km, and yet we could clearly see their silhouettes. Ah, nostalgia! How many hikes have I enjoyed in those hills, over those fells, a few years ago.

Follow the molehills!
Follow the molehills!
Wildlife. Wildlife.
Wildlife.

None of the hamlets or small collections of houses that we passed had a tea room. Instead, we enjoyed a rich display of wild and not so wild life: pheasants, sheep, lambs, cattle, crows, gulls, and military helicopters. When we came across a sign pointing to Lancerost priory, which is supposedly worth a visit, we started to walk in that direction, but then decided that we had enough walking to do without this detour, and besides, it might have been closed anyway. When we finally reached a village with a tea room (Walton), it was 10 minutes before closing time. We passed some of the places we had called in the morning in search of a room. Surprisingly, many had been booked or had been unwilling to take on guests for other reasons. So we had to leave the Hadrian's Wall Path again in Newtown and walk another 1.5 km to Irthington, where we had a room in the Vallum Barn farmhouse. I cannot stop to marvel over the beauty and cosiness of the English Bed an Breakfasts. Our room was warm and welcoming, and there was a lounge or dining room for us to sit and enjoy the tea and cookies that the landlady prepared for us. Then she phoned the pub to make sure we would get a table for our dinner. The house was part of a larger complex of farm buildings that were built around a central courtyard. Our room had windows in three directions and allowed us to survey the courtyard as well as a small garden full of daffodils and two horses.

Our room at the Vallum Barn.
Our room at the Vallum Barn.

The pub was quite busy, but not as much as we had feared. We ordered only two starters each to leave some space for desert (I do not remember why we thought two starters would be less than a normal main course). Especially the fried cheese was very good. And then we ordered sticky toffee pudding that made us stick to our seats... jummy! Only the thought of the full English Breakfast we had ordered for the next morning made us a little nervous.

Low Crosby church.
Low Crosby church.

Breakfast was served in the lounge. Again, there was a wide selection of components for a continental breakfast including fresh strawberries and real porridge! And the traditional English breakfast with toast, hash browns, tomatoes, beans, bacon and eggs. And two bags of packed lunches, of course. Stuffed like geese we waddled over to our room to pack our stuff.

Stag.
Stag.

The weather was nice, quite windy but sunny. The path was no longer as idyllic as on the days before, more often leading along roads, paved farm tracks and through villages. Also, we saw more cattle here than sheep, and they are just not as ... cuddly. Once, we saw a small stag or roebuck. Again, none of the hamlets and villages we passed had a tea room, but Low Crosby had a beautiful old church and churchyard and a bridge dedicated to someone from the local flood defense group, and Linstock, at last, had a picnic place with benches and a table. As long as the sun was shining, it was warm enough to sit, but when some clouds appeared, we were quick to be on our way again. Now it was obvious that we were approaching Carlisle, with all the traffic (we crossed a bridge over the M6) and more villages and houses everywhere. The last part of the path before we reached Carlisle city led us along the River Eden and then through Rickerby Park. In the Sands Centre, whose purpose we did not really understand, there were toilets and a small café where we got ourselves some hot chocolate.

River Eden at Carlisle.
River Eden at Carlisle.
Carlisle Castle.
Carlisle Castle.

It was surprisingly early, not even two o'clock yet. What to do with the remaining day? We had not booked a room for tonight yet, so we were free to decide. But we soon discovered that there were not too many choices, because accommodation between Carlisle and Bowness-on-Solway, the official end of the Hadrian's Wall Path, was scarce. So we decided to walk as far as we could today, and then take the bus to Bowness, and tomorrow walk backwards from Bowness to wherever we got to today. We found (thanks to the Tesco Mobile data tariff) a BnB in Bowness and reserved a room. But more of that later. First, we had to walk along a narrow path under a tree people were about to cut down. Then we had to get across a puddle of mud larger than all the others we had encountered together. The weather had been exceptionally dry so far. Lastly, the whole Hadrian's Wall Path was blocked by a landslide and we had to take a detour (sadly, no photos — we were in a hurry to catch the bus, which only runs every three hours in these remote areas). But finally we reached Beaumont, on a little hill with a nice view. And had to wait almost half a hour in the cold wind for the bus. Which then took us to Bowness, for a fare of £4.50 per person.

Willow catkin.
Willow catkin.

In Bowness, the Shore Gate House was the first house along the road, but the bus dropped us off in the centre of the village, so we walked back. The landlady was a lovely lady with a lovely Scottish accent. She was very sorry for the cold wind and weather, and even more so when she noticed that the radiator in our room had not really done it's job. She quickly brought an additional, electrical one, and urged us to stand in front of it while she explained to us the room, the house, and the pub in the village.

The End of Hadrian’s Wall Path in Bowness-on-Solway.
The End of Hadrian’s Wall Path in Bowness-on-Solway.

The important information about the pub, The Kings Arms, was that "they like the people to be there by seven" for dinner. It was quite busy for such a small village, but most people seemed to have come for a quick drink only. Or they like the people to leave shortly after seven, too. The food was okay, good quality, and cheap, and they had pickled eggs. The innkeeper looked strangely at me when I ordered one — maybe tourists are not supposed to eat pickled eggs. We also went for a quick tour of Bowness and found the "The official end of the Hadrian's Wall Path" sign, but it was too cold and windy to linger.

The Solway marshes. The Solway marshes.
The Solway marshes.

The next morning was grey, and things did not look much better after we had wiped the condensation from the windows. But breakfast was rich and the landlady lively and caring, and she made sure we felt as good as possible when we left her. When she handed us a five-pound-note as change, she explained, in her lovely Scottish accent, that it was a Scottish note, but still valid in England.

During the whole week, the wind had blown from the East, which was quite all right since we had had it in our backs for most of the time. But not now, when we were walking backwards, we had the wind coming from the front, which did not help things. The Solway marshes are tidal land, and every now and then during a spring tide, the road can be under up to two feet (60 cm) of water. The intertidal mudflats did not look very inviting, but the areas that are only rarely flooded are overgrown with grass and had sheep on them. Unfortunately, the path was parallel to the road for most of the time. A car stopeed next to us and we recognised the other guests from last night's BnB, they offered us a ride (another thing that does not happen regularly in Germany). We politely declined.

The Church of St. Michael in Burgh-by-Sands.
The Church of St. Michael in Burgh-by-Sands.

Then it started to rain. What a shame, on the last day! We found a bus stop with a hut where we cowered and ate lunch. In Burgh-by-Sands, we visited the old church, which was a fortified church and had been used as a defense against the Scots. It still had the old, strong tower, with a spiral staircase turning left, so a right-handed intruder would have difficulties wielding his sword. I have known about this architectural trick since my childhood, when my brother was a big fan of castles and knights, but until now, I think I have never actually seen a sign describing this. And here it is, in the church of St. Michael in Burgh-by-Sands in the middle of nowhere on the English coast.

Soon after, we reached Beaumont. There was still a lot of time before the bus departed. But Beaumont also has a church, St. Mary's Church, which we visited. And it had a vestibule where we could sit and have our second lunch before taking the bus to Carlisle.

Suddenly we were back in the civilisation, in the middle of a big city, with no idea where to go and what to do. In Victoria Place there were some BnBs, that was what we remembered, but where the hell was Victoria Place? The only thing we knew was that it was cold and windy outside. Finally, we got there, and there were three BnBs right next to each other. We rang the bell on the first one, but nobody opened, so we tried the next one and found ourselves in a luxuriously decorated and furnished entrance hall with fluffy carpet. The room was unheated and small, but also much cheaper than at the other places we had stayed so far. And the landlord switched on the heating on request.

Carlisle Cathedral.
Carlisle Cathedral.

As it was still quite early, we put on all our spare clothes and went out again to visit the city. Quite early is relative, of course; it was half past five, and the shops were closing. We walked around town, took a look at the castle (from the outside) and at the cathedral (from the inside). The cathedral is really small compared to those in Durham and York, and looks rougher with less decoration, but has it's own charm nonetheless.

Hadrian’s Wall Path embedded in the pavement in Carlisle.
Hadrian’s Wall Path embedded in the pavement in Carlisle.

For dinner, our landlord had recommended we go to the Apple Tree, but that turned out to be a very commercial place and they didn't have any local ale. So we only had a glass of red berry cider and went on to search for something else. We found the Thin White Duke, which had a more familiar atmosphere and German beer and local ale on the menu. The food was also excellent, I had grilled Halloumi (which, admittedly, was not local). We returned home in time for the last episode of "Lambing Live", a five-part BBC special about the lambing season. We had seen so many lambs jump around on the pastures that it was only fitting that we get all the background information, too. And what a difference to German TV! In Germany, they would show a really fat, really old farmer with a really terrible local accent. BBC, in contrast, shows a young family with two kids and two ferrets, and two young reporters, one of whom was a sheep farmer himself! (Note to self: buy a season of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." for Gerhard; an episode was aired on Channel 4 at the same time as "Lambing Live", and he still let me watch the lambs).

The forbidding entrance of Carlisle Castle.
The forbidding entrance of Carlisle Castle.

Our final day in the U.K. started with sunny weather and a full English breakfast. First, we visited the tourist information and shop to get a "Hadrian's Wall" t-shirt. Then we went to visit Carlisle castle. We arrived a little before the official opening time and went right in; five minutes later, an employee showed up and asked us if we had bought a ticket — no, we had not, because the door of the ticket shop had still been closed when we passed it, and there had not even been a sign saying that there was a ticket shop at all. So we paid an incredible amount of money for two tickets, and were allowed to deposit our backpacks in the shop for later retrieval. There was not much to see in the castle, the military museum was closed for renovation. There was the old great hall, including two or three levels above and a cellar below it, with an exhibition about the history of the region. And there was the Wall Walk, which referred to the castle wall, from where one had an acceptable view of the city. It was really cold inside and I was glad to get back outside into the sun. We picked up our backpacks (and another Hadrian's Wall t-shirt) in the shop and went into town, to the Cathedral again. It features a café, the Prior's kitchen which prides itself in offering home-made cakes and soup. I expected some kind of medieval food, since there are still four monks living in the cloister, which I think is quite medieval. But though the location was a fantastic vaulted cellar, the tea and cake we got was more mundane (but not bad). After we got bored of staring at the ceiling, we went back into town to the next café for a hot chocolate with marshmallows.

Finally it was time to make our way to the station. Our train to Manchester departed around half past one. I enjoyed the journey through the Lakes, the familiar view of the barren fells, covered with white dots (Herdwick sheep), the little villages, canals, and rivers. Too soon we reached the airport. We spent our remaining English money on crisps and drinks and got a free sandwich with a meal deal. The flight was not only punctual, but actually too early, so we had an extra-long wait for our connecting train in Frankfurt. At least it was not raining when we walked home from the station.

When are we going back?