This is a diary of our walk across Hadrian’s wall, raising money for Breast Cancer Now.
We had such a great time (in the end) raising money for charity and slept at some amazing places! The views were breathtaking and the area is steeped in history. Cumbria and Northumberland are immense!
My brother in-law kindly offered to give us a lift from Northamptonshire all the way up to Carlisle.
That’s around 250 miles!
Luckily our walk wasn’t as long as that but still the nerves were kicking in at the thought of the job at hand.
When we finally arrived at lunchtime in Carlisle, we checked in to the Arkale lodge and decided to make a start straight away. I guess we would have a bit more confidence going into the first official day with some miles under the belt.
Michael offered to drop us at Bowess on Solway before leaving and to see us off (probably to have a laugh!).
The Starting Line - Bowess on Solway to Carlisle (14 miles)
It felt good to be on our way but also scary seeing the 84 mile sign. There is an archway in Bowess that gives homage to the wall and is definately worth visiting.
After only a mile or so we came across the first real character of the trip, Roger. A spirited, elderly fellow that has all the time in the world for you.
If you cross his palm with gold (£1 per person) he changes the sign outside his home to name your home town and how many miles it is. Brilliant.
After a gruelling 14 miles in hours we reached Carlisle for our first nights rest. Before we got to the Arkale lodge we had dinner in Carlisle, a great choice for everyone here.
1st Night) - Arkale lodge is located in the centre of Carlisle, opposite a supermarket. Has nice, clean, comfy rooms with excellent facilities. We enjoyed a perfect nights sleep which set us up for our first full day. Easily within walking distance from the city centre. The breakfast was delicious and served to you by helpful, kind staff.
Carlisle to Lanercost (16 miles)
We were driven back to the point at the wall that we stopped to a downpour! Horrible. We got back on the trail and carried on. After couple of miles we reached a tall pallisade fence and gate. ????
One of the fences galvanised pales had been knocked off so we decided to squeeze through and carry on.
After walking right around the recreational field we came to a building site. The bridge we needed to cross was fenced off! Nightmare! We tried to find a way over the river somewhere else but ended up back where we had started at the pallisade fence and gate!
“Where are you getting through?” He asked.
We showed him the fence and explained our situation.
“Come with me and I’ll let you through!” he said, obviously feeling sorry for us.
We soon came to another bridge and yet again found it was shut, a diversion was in place meaning more back tracking and more frustration. If you do the walk be careful.
After a long time we reached Lanercost and booked a taxi to Talkin.
2nd Night) - A very popular pub that offers quality pub food which is rare nowadays. Also Peroni is served on tap, I LOVE PERONI! Clean, spacious rooms, on site parking available and all of the staff were friendly and helpful. The breakfast offered a great mix of cereals, cooked breakfast just as you like it, toast and fruit juices and tea / coffee. Don, the owner even offered us a lift back to the wall as it was a charity event!
Can it get any worse? Yes! Lanercost to Once Brewed (18 miles)
This was the breaking point for Helen, after making it to the 13 mile point it started to get seriously tough. She struggled. Then we got lost and she got mad, then after a painful walk through marshy fields we finally arrived at the Sill. We were so glad to make it.
3rd Night) - The Sill is located on the Military road just a stones throw from the wall walk. It is a state of the art building that blends in perfectly with its surroundings. It is PERFECT for walkers and families visiting the area and looking to save a bit of money. Self catering facilities are excellent and the canteen serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Packed lunches can be ordered the night before. Large car park, stunning pub next door, bike sheds and a rooftop cafe make this a wonderful place to stop. There is also a visitor centre that unfortunately was closed when i visited as we arrived late and left early.
Solo Effort - Once Brewed to Wall (13 miles)
The first 2 1/2 miles were horrible. Up, down, up, down. I sweated absolute buckets but it did get easier. Helen had to sit the day out because of sore, bleeding blisters so I kept the charity challenge going.
I crossed the Tyne and arrived at Wall. I needed a ride to Hexham and asked for a taxi number in the garage there. A mechanic said that he could give me a lift as he was heading that way.
4th Night) - Best menu EVER! Very reasonable prices, located in the town centre opposite the abbey. Rooms are exceptional and the beds were....bliss. After walking for all these miles we just sunk into the bed and melted away. The staff were very helpful and Hexham itself was a lovely town.