9.6 miles 4h 55m 98m ascent
We had been to Edward I’s statue in Burgh-by-Sands at the end of our previous section, so we began this one by visiting the memorial which marks where he died. This was a short walk along a farm track then over a stile and across a field of mud and water then another stile onto the Burgh marshland which was drier than the field had been. The monument was larger than I had expected. One wonders why he chose to camp here on the marshes rather than the higher ground of Burgh itself.
There are two inscriptions, both in Latin.
Edvard I regis Angliae longe
Clarissimi: qui in belli apparatu
Contra Scotos occupants hic
in Castros obiit 7 Julii
Which translates as: The Eternal Memory of Edward I famed King of England: who while preparing for war against the Scots died in this camp on July 7 1307 AD
Omni Veneratione prosequens
Inclytam Edvard I Primi Famam
Optimi Angliae regis
Humi Fusam. Dirutamque
Hic reponendam curavit
Gulielmus Vice comes de Lowther
Anno Salutis MDCCCIII
Meaning: We have the honour of protecting the splendour of Edward the First the best king of England laid to rest by William Viscount of Lowther the Year of Salvation 1803
Then it was back to rejoin the Hadrian’s Wall Trail just past Burgh. We had a brief walk along the road and then through an HW acorn=marked gate along a grassy path and across a small footbridge. From here we were walking along the route of The Wall itself, though we wouldn’t have known if it hadn’t been marked as such on the map. A line of trees stand along the route now. Another gate led us onto another grassy path all the way to Beaumont, which I am told is another shibboleth, pronounced locally as Beemont.
Beaumont is a small village with a triangular village green. A tree with a surrounding seat stands on the green and would have done nicely for lunch if our timing had been different. St Mary’s church stands on a small hillock and an information board show how it had once been part of a fortified village that would have included the green.
And it was here in Beaumont that we first heard of various closures of the trail, and suggested detours. A sign informed us that the HWW’s riverside path beyond here was closed due to a landslip. We took the detour along the minor road parallel to and about 60m from the actual path.
The church in Kirkandrews-on-Eden had an impressive gravestone that caught our attention and drew us towards it. It stood much taller than the old stones about it and I was expecting the name of some local dignitary, but it marks the grave of Olivia Mary Margaret wife of the perpetual curate of Grinsdale.
A little delving reveals that Olivia Mary Margaret Ostell was born in 1833, in Calcutta where her father ran a bookshop. Her mother died in 1836 after which she returned to England with her father must have been brought up by her relatives at Moorhouse. On May 22nd, 1856 she married the Rev. John Burton Norman, the perpetual curate of St. Kentigern’s, Grinsdale in Burgh-by-Sands parish church. The couple had only a year together, Olivia died in 1857. The impressive memorial erected by her husband would later inspire a local author, Ann Robinson, to write the book “Olivia Mary Margaret: a rectory Childhood”.
We rejoined the HW in Kirkandrews where we found a little owl on a gatepost. I wonder if this was the original inspiration for Tripadvisor’s logo. Someone had stretched a rope across the path, and tied a handy bit of orange string in its centre, presumably to increase its visibility. (Feedback to whoever put it there: you might want to try harder). We lifted the rope and stepped through a gate from path to mud.
We made our way along a natural rise which had us back on the route of the actual Wall. Unfortunately it was both muddy and slippery. I trod into some deep sinking mud but managed to get through with just a muddy leg. But my attention was soon drawn away from the muddy leg as I heard a brief squeal combined with a wet splat from just behind me. Audrey’s footing had proved unsure and she was both able to twist her knee and get a closer look at the mud. After a period of reflection on the ills of muddy trails we pressed on and got to firmer ground, then up some wooden steps onto higher ground.
The grassy ground up here was less muddy, at first. But between there and Grinsdale we had more mud to cross and boggy grass to skirt about.
Grinsdale was the next village and we were then expecting a riverside walk for the rest of the day. We walked on in sunshine, admiring the views, with me keeping track of our position on the map. Then we walked beneath a major road, which wasn’t on my map (The Harveys Hadrian’s Wall Route Map). This had me worried that we had strayed somehow but we soon realised that the map must have not been updated since the Carlisle By-pass was built. The By-pass was opened in 2012 and I bought my map in 2017.
Unfortunately, not long after passing beneath electricity pylons, and by some steps down to the riverside we came to a sign informing us that the next couple of miles of path were closed due to ‘severe flood damage’. The alternative route suggested was along main roads, so was not particularly appealing to us. We decided to press on along the HWW and if we found the route to be dangerous we would find an alternative way. There did seem to be some other footpaths on the map.
The closed section of path was undamaged, and we passed several other walkers/runners and dog-walkers who must be locals, using the paths. The route was absolutely fine all the way, much of it on cycleway type paths. We stopped at a picnic bench for our lunch.
The problem was that a construction site blocked our way onto the bridge across the River Caldew. It would have been easy to leave a way for walkers but quite a bit of effort had gone in to preventing access. We tried making our way around the fences but found ourselves within a tall fence around the athletics track. So we retraced our steps and tried a wider route around and were then able to walk across the bridge.
The path took us into Bitts Park, adjacent to Carlisle Castle. There are a group of four rocks on stone plinths in the park. These looked like remnants of some larger Ozymandias type statue, and I wondered if they were all that remained of some great Roman monument. They are actually an art installation, ‘Toward the Sea’ by Hideo Furuta. The Eden Benchmarks website describes it thus: “The four components of this sculpture are manifestations of the sculptor’s intense and mathematical explorations of the stone itself and, almost incidentally, describe a sequence of water eroded stone running parallel with the flow of the river nearby“.
We went to investigate a statue within the park, expecting it to be the eponymous Bitts, but found it was Queen Victoria, standing on a plinth with four reliefs depicting Empire, Education, Science and Art, and Commerce. The inscription reads:
Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Empress of India,
Born May 24th 1819, Died January 22nd 1901.
In Memory of
A great Queen, A good Woman, A friend alike to rich and poor
who for Sixty Three Years Reigned over a prosperous and world wide
Empire. This statue is erected by the citizens of Carlisle in admiration
of her noble life and character.
The park when opened in 1893 had been called the Peoples Park but was later extended and renamed The Bitts. The ‘Bitts‘ in the name are small parcels of land used for grazing.
In the park we found a sign about the third path closure but this was not too taxing. Rather than walking along the southern bank of the Eden were to cross on the road bridge and walk along the northern bank and into Rickerby Park.
We walked in a ginnel beneath the A7 where we noticed a sign on bridge showing the level the water had reached in the flood of 2005. I turned to look back and realised how much land had been underwater.
We crossed the road bridge to Eden Bridge Gardens and walked along a footpath through Rickerby Park. A sign of the watery nature of these fields was the grey heron that stood watching us. Within the park is an impressive War Memorial and the Standing Stones pictured at the top of this entry. This stone circle is a collection of the different rock types found in Cumbria.