On the march with the MFS

TWENTY-EIGHT members and guests from Morpeth Footpaths Society recently braved the sleet and hail to walk in the footsteps of Roman Centurions.

The group walked along a section of the wall, built by Emperor Hadrian in AD 122, which allowed his soldiers to control the movements of people coming into and out of Roman Britain. After the steep climb up to the top of Peel Crag, we walked along the wall before descending to Milecastle 39 and the much photographed Sycamore Gap.

We continued along to Highshield Crags, with views to the left of Greenlee Lough, which we would visit later in the day. We continued towards Housesteads and shortly before taking a left turn onto the Pennine Way stopped for a break, using the wall as shelter from the wintry showers.

We were rewarded with views across the Tyne Valley and during a brief sunny moment saw and heard a skylark soaring over the valley, reminding us that, despite the weather, it was spring.

We then continued along the Pennine Way – we had been warned that this section would be very wet and muddy and it took some time to negotiate this section of the path.

While crossing a submerged section of the path, one member missed a stepping stone and found herself in two feet of icy water (yes, dear reader, ’twas I who emerged looking like a participant in the bog snorkelling championships).

Undaunted, we continued to the bird hide at Greenlee Lough where we had our second break. Greenlee is used as a winter feeding site for several species of waterfowl and it was a peaceful spot to catch our breath after the exertions of mud-walking. Leaving the bird hide behind we again made our way through the wetlands, though this time the going was much easier as we walked along the excellent boardwalk, which has been installed to protect the fragile wet habitats on the edge of the Lough.

After leaving the boardwalk, we walked back towards the car park, passing fields of sheep and their bleating newborn lambs, before climbing up the road where we were rewarded with views of Whinshields Craggs, which are the highest point on Hadrian’s Wall.