Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Day One: Arriving at Bowness on Solway/Port Carlisle

I left Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill on a night flight on American Airlines the night of Thursday, May 16, arriving in London, May 17th, tired but in good spirits.  On the flight over I sat by a wonderful Dutchman who loved to walk and had walked the Western Highland in Scotland previously. We regaled each other stories of walking trip stories and pilgrimages near and far.  We also gave each other the space to sleep for a few hours before we hit the tarmac in London.

London was a blur: Tim (one of the graduated seniors from UNC) and I waited for John and Trina Rogers to appear.  Originally the plan was that they would meet us at the airport since their flight came first. Alas, their flight was delayed and delayed, and then lost. So Tim and I waited for them.  Upon seeing them, John splurged and bought me a round trip ticket on the Heathrow Express between the airport and central London. 15 min rather than an hour! We arrived at Paddington, and then took the tube to Euston station where we met the other students waiting for us. Grabbing lunches quickly in the train station, we boarded the train for a 3 1/2 trip to Carlisle!  We slept and talked all the way north.

Arriving at the train station, we found the rest of the students (save for Kevin who was already at the camp site). John and Trina bought some clothes to tide them over until their luggage arrived.  Next was a local bus to the camp for the night.  We were delighted when we saw the camp site!  And there was Tracey and Gary with the site up, welcoming us.  They own the Hadrian's Wall Expedition/Trail Trekkers. The sky was sunny with some clouds, not revealing how much it would rain that night and the next day. Dinner that night was pub grub at Hope and Anchor at Port Carlisle.  Some of the students walked the extra mile to Bowness on Solway, the true jumping off point for Hadrian's Wall.  The sky that night was red!  Red sky at night, sailors delight!  Or not!

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