As we moved through the woods on the Pennine way Robert’s knee was still bad and Euan gave us a free lecture on the “agricultural revolution.” Contrary to my prior understanding this didn’t occur in the past 400 years, but refers to the time at which we became masters of the land, farming and taming animals instead of living with the land. Rather than seeing this as a massive achievement of human advancement Euan saw it as the pit-fall of humanity, his biblical “Fall.” I’m not going to disagree with Euan’s theories since they’re well backed up by some books he read, but at the time I couldn’t help playing Devil’s advocate; it helped the trek pass quickly.
Just as Euan was getting irritated by my “inherent naturalism of human advancement” speech we made it out of the woods. A large bog stretched out before us and the horizon was shaped into a low ridge. Hadrian’s Wall, I announced; another major landmark. We started to make our way over the bog, encountering what I can only describe as a surprise trampoline made of moss.
We made it through some more woods, over some fields and up to the crags. After a steep ascent we stopped to eat cereal bars and inspect some rocks. These rocks were not in a wall like configuration, and so we deduced that this was not the final climb. Beyond these crags we could see yet another layer to climb. Knowing this would surely be the wall we pushed on.
Climbing the steep embankment to the wall gave me a true appreciation for Roman defenses, but then again the Picts and other barbarians probably weren’t carrying massive packs for days on end. We made it up to the wall and passed through a field of sheep on the other side, striking out for the road. Following the road over hills and round bends we finally caught sight of a visitor centre. There we learned all about Twice-Brewed, and discovered that the hostel was incredibly expensive. We trod on until we reached the Winshields Farm, advertised as a good camping location. Twice-Brewed apparently got its name from a local brewery, who thought the beer wasn’t good enough after one brew.
We set up camp at 2pm for once, enjoying the Sun and a chance to rest our legs. Whilst checking in at the farmhouse we noticed there was a live video-feed from a Swallow’s nest; squawking chicks caught our attention in their ugly yet adorable way.
Not long after this Nat and Bryde arrived. Nat and Bryde are friends of mine from university, also studying philosophy. Nat has a strong connection with the land, coming from a farming background (of which he is quite proud). They are a couple of foragers who can identify plants by sight and smell, knowing which berries are edible and which leaves will give their cooking an edge.
We decided to check out a ruined building on some farmland, but on the way through we were witness to the result of a mole holocaust. A mole had been hung from every barb of a barbed wire fence for a good twenty plus meters. It was rather gruesome, and smelled even worse. I got a good set of photographs.
For dinner we went to a local pub, which is apparently well renowned for its food. I considered the £19 steak, but went with pork instead. The pub had a very English pub feel and traditional decor, plus a range of about 72 different rums and a “beers of the world” board. Euan got the Twice-Brewed bitter, which I think could have done with a third brewing. The talkative bar-maid, reminding me of Billy Piper, invited us to the quiz night, but we left in favour of a more relaxing game of cards.