Our final calling pint today: The walls end, where sat nearby was a museum we'd planed to meet dad at then another friend of Catherine's had offered to drive us back home to County Durham.
We left Corbridge by bus on our way back to the point we'd left off the previous day. Simply walking back down the hill and rejoining the path, that for the most part continued besides the river. Crossed Newhum bridge.
Its hard to pin point as many memories of this day although it was generally quite enjoyable, it became a very sunny day by the time we'd reached the first suburbs of Newcastle but after just a few navigational obstacles it was overal encouraging as we gradually made our way in. It certainly makes more sense to do the walk this way around, not just for convenience of transport home afterwards, but the routes are relatively tamer, which could lure many a walker we past that day into a false sence of security as they headed west.
Crossing the A1 was a satisfying checkpoint, a view that's novelty may be lost on some people not in our circumstance, but as far as views of the A1 go, we stood on a bridge on-top of a hill overlooking a fair distance, observing the many people exploiting a more modern means of transportation.
By the time we hit the riverside again it was very sunny, everything become more and more built up with signs of industrial past and more activity on the horizon. We'd decided against taking a pack lunch that day, instead filling up on breakfast and taking a few practical snacks. We'd aimed to arrive at the end by about 4pm so I figured a nice strong coffee in the city centre would get me through the last few miles.
A few hours must have past, since.. I'm not sure actually, it must have been at least an hour since crossing the A1, traversing Newcastle via the Tyne reminded me a bit of cycling into Paris via the Seine, not really knowing either territory that well and anticipating a destination which I did not really know, the twists and turns around each corner evoked anticipation to see one thing or another. Sooner or later with Newcastle, the sights I did recognised emerged, Paris was admittedly the extreme, where there was no such pay off, where it turned a wet rainy night before clocking the glimpse of any satisfying landmark. Wether it was the set back of that last minute punctured tyre, or the swollen knee of this journey, both trips could be greatly improved by me in the future with more planing.
After we passed the millennium bridge we where on the loo out for a coffee stop, there where obviously lots around but because of the sunny weather there where all looking full, and a possibly little up market for dogs. We certainly weren't keen on sitting inside and the artisan type establishments weren't as abundant by the river, opting for a generic Starbucks we found a nice large path of shade the building beside it and observed some part of a wedding taking place. The toilet at Starbucks was just a cross over into the reception area of the Hotel it joined up with, all very much a culture shock walking though this pristine, state of the art luxury interior, by the look of me at that point it felt like I was an imposter breaking in. We sat in the shade with our coffees for our last stop off of the the whole walk. Mutchly appreciated by Morph.
As we continued walking with just a few miles or so ahead of us we where making reasonable time with a little added on as me left the centre behind us following the rivers edge through all manner of small estates, parks and industrial bits and bobs. We walked through Biker, which I assume based on the TV show Biker Grove is the place Ant and Dec once spontaneously materialised into existence as PJ and Duncan.
The rest was mostly flat though it got hilly towards the very end and the last few miles I enjoyed cross checking our position on google maps as rough countdown to the end. As we neared the very end we noticed a wild flower garden on our left and a building that had obviously been made to recreate some Roman settlement, and there was the Walls Ends. There'd been no other trace of Hadrains wall to observe for the past few days but it was good to be able to mark the end with that last piece.
We weren't quite finished I guess, we had another minutes walk to the museum where we some how entered through the back entrance and finally emerged from some elaborate interactive historical exhibit in-front of a surprised receptionist. We'd found dad who'd been waiting there quite a while, picked up the customary t shirts, medals etc from there shop and having been to late to use there cafe had to opt for something else nearby. (So you could infact add another 10-15 minutes walking on-top of that as we tried to find the nearest place for food and drink.)
The place we found in the end was so busy and disorganised we abandoned it after waiting way for long for food that did not arrive, so we got a lift back that was promised but I was at least fair tanked up after having two pints, and as you might imagine enjoyed a huge meal when we got home. I want to take one moment just to complain about a phone app: Just Eat is a great app generally for ordering food and in that situation was absolutely ideal for ordering something on the drive home so we wouldn't have to wait ages when we got home, if the bloody thing wanted to work properly. I know technology is what it is but of all the times it decided to totally not work, this aggravated me as I was drunk. Nothing more to add on that, I just thought I'd cover it because for some reason it still jumps out in my memory.
Regardless it was a good day and a good evening. Also a wonderful way to build up to my birthday which was the following day. An appropriately chilled and reflective one. I could have almost been tempted to go out or do something of that nature that following weekend but my knee sure as hell wasn't down for that. I got through a festival the week after that with crutches and then so using a few weeks into the start of term, as I write this it's now the first of October and I've been free of the knee strap/crotch set up for a couple of weeks and working on exercises that'll strengthen the surrounding areas now to build general strength and prevent those issues from happening again. So my lesson is learnt, and I'm absolutely down for doing something like this again. I'm very glad to be able to do something provocative and adventurous for Catherine's chosen charities, as with her funeral it's inspiring to see how someone can be remembered in such a broad spectrum of ways beyond what one might consider the obvious, necessitating activites that get people engaging with each each other or just in the sense of (charity based endeavours) working towards a common functional goal that demands focus and positive thinking. As well as a fair bit of minor problem solving.
The sheer fact I buggered up my knee with my own flawed planing is strong enough motivation for most people to do something again and do it one better. Not sure what that might be exactly but I'm open to suggestions, by all means get in touch if your interested.
If you want to know more about Catherine, and the charities she selected, you can find out here:
And if you'd still like to make a donation you can do so via this link: