A year on Hadrian's Wall Path National Trail - November 2012, part 12
Another walking season has finished, and we move closer to the end of 2012. November has started bright and cold, the temperature dropping enough for some hard white frosts. My first walk in November was on the 5th and it was after an overnight frost.
Over the last few weeks the Trail has been very muddy and with large areas of waterlogged ground. Today some of these areas were iced over and areas out of the sun saw the frost remaining until mid-morning.
The frost had made the ever increasing amount of molehills in Heavenfield easy to lift and remove from the Trail. My section had very little litter to pick up and my only maintenance task was to clean the mud and leaves from the steps of the stiles along the route.
Some garden rubbish had been dumped beside the gate into Stanley Plantation, I moved it out of sight and flattened it down and spread it out to rot down. I wonder how far the person who left it, had driven to get here?
It was to be another walk on my section when I met no other walkers. At Errington Hill Head a local hunt were preparing and getting ready to give the hounds a run out. It was an excellent day for this and for me to take some photographs. The bright sun and Autumn's rich colours made for some wonderful images.
On the way to Heavenfield, for my second visit of the month, there was a message flashing on my dashboard. It read 'risk of ice!' It had never been cold enough though overnight to see any frost. It was another early morning start beginning by parking up the car in the layby at Heavenfield. The leaves are disappearing from the trees and the rich colours of the last few weeks have gone.
I was taking a chance by not putting on my waterproofs, as the weather forecast was for rain heading in from the west. I managed to get to the halfway point of my morning's walk at The Errington Arms, before I felt the first spots of rain. Up to this point I had carried out my usual tasks of picking up litter and raking out the molehills.
In one field the sheep moved closer thinking I was going to give them some feed. I managed to get close and take the following photograph:
The sky got darker and darker and the rain started to fall steadily. It was a quick walk back to my car and yet again I was the only person out on this section of Hadrian's Wall Path National Trail. The Trail is still very wet and muddy, as usual all of my gear went straight into the washing machine.
Another visit and my mission was to try and complete my round trip before the rain was forecast to come from the west by mid-morning. The temperature never really reached double figures, it was fairly mild, but very windy. I squelched along the Trail. The ground still very wet and waterlogged. At times, the sun came out as I walked and completed the maintenance tasks.
Windy weather fetches another set of problems for me! The wind blows various types of litter into the bottom of the Wall ditch. At various points along the route, I had to get down into the bottom of the ditch to retrieve newspaper, plastic and food wrappers. At Heavenfield layby, even before I got onto my section, I had to pick up aluminium cans and McDonald's containers.
Trees along the Trail have lost all of their leaves, there are no splashes of colour as we get closer to winter. I was lucky to complete the walk of my section without getting wet. I will complete one more walk in November. What sort of weather will we get in December?
I saw no one again today. The Military Road also seems to be quieter than normal.
With no end to the rain, my last visit in November was planned to be a quick walk to monitor the condition and pick up any litter. Normally I carry a lot of gear, to carry out any maintenance tasks, today I decided to travel 'light' and leave them in the car.
Even before setting off to Heavenfield, the rain was getting heavy and I donned all of the waterproofs to get a quick start when getting to my section. The already waterlogged ground will not be able to take the amount of rain suggested by the local weather forecasters.
It was certainly a quick walk today. The rain made it a miserable time and it was hard work trying to find less waterlogged and muddy patches to walk through. Even out on the open grassland, areas of the Trail have been churned up by walkers and livestock.
During the whole of November, whilst out on the Trail I have not met anybody out walking. It has been strange to have the countryside all to myself. I manged to pick up some litter today, some had to be left, as the water and mud made it difficult to retrieve.
Although today's rain made for a rather soggy and muddy person, the wind did not get up as I thought it may have done. There are not many more walks of 2012 to be completed, to finish this account of a year on Hadrian's Wall Path National Trail. I hope December's weather will not give us as much rain as we have experienced so far.
We'd like to hear from you. Send your stories, pics and videos to firstname.lastname@example.org