11 November 2022

Hadrian's Wall Path - day 3 [Upper Denton to Carlisle]

Last day of my short voyage along the Hadrian's Wall, the wall itself just like around Newcastle area wasn't very visible with one notable example of Hare Hill the tallest remaining part of it - it survived as apparently it has been incorporated into a farm building in the past, so it's been left alone and stands tall until today.

Despite the lack of the main component the walk was quite pleasant, running along many farmlands and wooded areas, it was definitely better than its counterpart in Newcastle, perhaps due to the fact that the area is less developed.

Night was windy and I had to ditch the plan to sleep inside the Roman turret 49b (they all have fun names like that) as the gusts were trying to rip my tent apart, annoying thing was that it was getting dark so I had to find a replacement spot quickly which wasn't easy as the overall flat area was a perfect corridor for the wind to rumble. After a mile or so I found a cows field with a stone fence around it and just enough protection so I could set up there, downside being a very uneven ground which forced me to sleep mainly on my left side to avoid bending my spine upwards all night. I still woke up aching but hey it's the ache of the adventure, haha.

I pushed the remaining 16 miles fairly quickly and arrived at Carlisle just before midday. I've spend an hour there walking around enjoying the cityscape, then took a local Cross Penine bus 685 at 1:15pm which took me straight back to Newcastle city centre (in over two hours but it was well worth £7.80)

Once back in Newcastle I took a little sightseeing trip around the city and really enjoyed it, especially St Thomas church and the University grounds. After that I went to Dat Pub and had an obligatory Newcastle Brown Ale - I tried to find a place that has it on the tap but it turns out no pub in Newcastle does it anymore, it's all bottles and cans sadly - I even went to the pub called Newcastle Tap and has been informed that such thing is nonexistent.

After that I went to the Everyman Cinema opposite National Theatre to watch what I though will be Wakanda Forever, but (luckily I guess) I have been sold tickets to see the movie "Living" with Bill Nigty, an adaptation of the movie "Ikiru" by Akira Kurosawa which was inspired by "The Death of Ivan Illych" by Leo Tolstoy and it turned out to be a pretty good flick about inspiration, loneliness and taking matters into your own hands. When the movie ended I took another stroll along the nighttime weekend streets of Newcastle with many half naked females and males buzzing with testosterone, it was quite amusing watching all this energy going to waste. Life is wasted on the living I guess :)

Now I'm sitting at the bus station waiting for the midnight National Express bus back to London, it was cheap though and will take me back home just in time for work. It was a great few days exploring the past and present, I'd recommend walking the middle part of the wall if you have time restrictions probably from mile 35 to mile 50 is the best chunk of it.

Here's few notable wall connected village names I  noted along the way, I'm sure there's more of them scattered around: Wallsend, Walbottle, Heddon on the Wall, East Wallhouses, Wall, Walwick, Oldwall.

On to the next one!

Hare Hill, tallest part of the wall:
Unfortunately I had to relocate my tent from here due to the wind <sad face>
Newcastle, St Thomas church:

Hadrian's Wall Path - day 2 [Wall to Upper Denton]

Today the weather was mainly windy with splashes of rain and an occasional shy appearance from the sun. The path itself was amazing, completely different from the first 30 miles from Newcastle, it was mainly hiking along the actual Hadrian Wall mostly restored (in 1970s) with many forts, gateways and turrets scattered and still visible along its path.

Think I must have walked a similar distance to yesterday, about 24 miles which leaves me with 16 for tomorrow to finish it off in Carlisle, from what I heard the path turns again into a walking next to the side of a road kind of experience for this final (for me) stretch but it's alright with what I have seen today. 

Relentless wind made me relocate the campsite at the last minute tonight, I planned to sleep in one of the turrets next to the wall but I just couldn't set up the tent without it being shred to pieces by the wind. Instead I'm staying in a corner of a good old cows field surrounded by a stone fence, it's just enough wind protection but it's uneven as hell, looks like I'll spend the whole night sleeping on my left side as that's the only fairly comfortable position. Goddamn you wind and my own stupidity of not trying to set up earlier.

The path was fairly busy today, I've met two ladies doing a four day trek and a Latvian guy walking the entirety of it, it was his day four and his backpack seemed still heavily overloaded, he complained about it but it looks like he took way too much (canned) food and heavy gear along with him, he's hoping to reach Newcastle by Saturday where he booked his return train to London.

Ruins if the 14th century Thirlwall Castle:
Cawfields Quarry:
The temple of Mithras:
Turret 49B where I almost spend the night:

10 November 2022

Hadrian's Wall Path - day 1 [Newcastle to Wall]

This isn't a particularly well planned trip, since I have few days off in a row at work I decided to come over and walk the wall, interaries are typically for 6 days from start to finish (it's just over 80 miles in total plus the detours to castles and various ruins) I got 3 days so any side trips are out of the question. I've booked the bus ticket to Sunderland with National Express as it was cheap (25£) and went overnight so I've arrived here at 6:30am. Getting to Wallsend (the official start/end of the Hadrian's Wall) would take too long from here so I'm just taking a train to Newcastle which is just few miles away from it - if you are a purist you can stop reading this blog now and curse my very existence as I won't be covering every single inch of the path, hike your own hike I guess!

Now, 10 hours later the work for the day is over and I'm simultaneously happy and a bit disappointed with how it went. I've managed to cover 24 miles which is more than I planned. Weather has held up very well so no complains in this department. The hike itself was a gentle stroll among grazing cattle next to a fairly busy country road which has been build pretty much alongside Hadrian's Wall. The wall itself made an appearance only once just before mile 30. I'm camping tonight at the village called.. Wall, where city council allowed hikers to pitch tents on the village green. Its 6pm now and it's completely dark outside, I have to take it into consideration for the next two days unless I want to do a bit of night hiking which wouldn't be a bad idea as the moon is big and bright.

Starlings gave a brilliant aerial show once I've reached the village of Wall, my stop for the night. A huge group of birds zigzagging in perfect harmony across the sky, it was one of the better starling performances I've seen so far, I got it on camera as well but it probably come out a bit blurry.

Depending on how much ground I'll manage to cover tomorrow I might have enough time to go back and walk those few miles from Wallsend I initially skipped and then get a coach back home from Newcastle perhaps I would have few hours to walk around the city as well. But it all depends on my pace and weather, there's no point to get hopes too high. I've been also recording myself talking crap to the camera so I will probably end up putting a video from the trip up on YouTube, something new which should help with overcoming walking routine and spice up the trip a little.

Genuine bit of the Hadrian's Wall, the only stretch I've seen so far:
St Oswald's church:
Picturesque village of Harlow Hill:
Poetry is booming in the area: