We wake well-rested and, with a long day's walking ahead of us, keen to get cracking.
With some parting advice about the cows and some gentle breakfast-time banter at the expense of our gluten intolerant companion, we make our way back to Heddon-on-the-Wall to pick up some provisions, before picking up the westbound path that will take us past the Vindobala Roman Fort, Harlow Hill, Halton Shields, Chollerford, Chesters and, eventually, Green Carts farm, our objective for the day.
We are hoping, as well, to finally catch a glimpse of the elusive wall. In particular, we have high hopes for Vindobala, which is just a few kilometres along the path.
I'm not sure what exactly we were expecting, but we are somewhat underwhelmed by what we see at Vindobala.
I'm sure if Jude had been with us he'd have been able to point out the basic outline of the fort, the headquarters building in the centre, the bath house and the wall itself. He would have explained that a Mithraic temple had been discovered here, where live bulls would once have been sacrificed. He would have shared the story of the famous Vindolanda tablets, the oldest surviving handwritten documents in Britain, which were discovered here. He may also have known that in 2010, the remains of what is thought to be a young girl with her hands tied were discovered in a shallow pit in what was the barrack room. She is believed to have been murdered about 1,800 years ago.
But, of course Jude isn't with us and in his absence we philistines see only a field and a couple of curious sheep.
Unimpressed we march on, as the storm clouds darken overhead.
A few miles on, of more immediate interest to us is the Robin Hood Inn at East Wallhouses, another chance to enjoy a quick refreshment and to shelter from the gathering storm.
On the road again, we are by now passing through gently undulating farmland, but the wall itself remains largely hidden from view. With three miles to go to Chollerford, after a gentle climb, another pub near Portgate proves too tempting to pass by.
Although the weather has by now taken a turn for the worse, the low heavy cloud and wintery showers seem appropriate for the remote rural landscape.
With tiring limbs, a further refreshment stop at Chollerford is vetoed in favour of pushing on the remaining 3.5 kms to our lodgings at Green Carts farm.
Again, whilst our accommodation is basic, the hospitality is generous. After showering and changing, our landlady offers to drive us a couple of miles to the local pub (the Crown Inn at Humshaugh) and her husband (the farmer) comes to collect us later. The food is good and, despite our tired limbs, we pass an entertaining evening together in good company and high spirits.
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