Something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while was to walk the whole country widthways. The place to do it, apparently, is along the Hadrian’s Wall Path, which stretches a mere 84 miles across the country and which crucially, runs close to it being at its most narrow point.
Last week, taking a full 6 days, me and a friend walked from Wallsend on the East Coast, all the way to the West Coast of Bowness-On-Solway. Apart from the monsoon in Newcastle on the Monday, my car breaking down repeatedly, and the severe leg cramps that followed, great fun!
After packing my tent away in a record 10 minutes and then shoehorning the resulting bundle into an ever decreasing gap in my Tardis-like car boot, first I managed to lose my phone, then had problems with my ignition, which meant despite best intentions, arriving at our scheduled starting point, Banks Turret, just after 10 am, before walking the 10 miles back to Cawfields.
We keep seeing the same people who are also walking Hadrian’s Wall this week. Every approaching silhouette of another familiar walker on a hillside, suddenly appearing, or disappearing from view, usually draws a remark or look, expressing a certain renewed conviction for everyone involved-knowing that no one had yet given up.
For this week only, this was the club we’d chosen to be a part of. Every gate opened, blister dressed, and mile completed, has been entirely shared. Next week, it will be another disparate group.
Checked into the Howard’s Arms in Front Street, Brampton-a place where apparently Charles Dickens once slept. Every room was named after a Dickens character. My room was called Fagin’s. Read what you like into that!
During the night, I listened to the chimes from the town clock every hour into the early hours. Lovely town. 57 miles walked so far. 27 miles left and 2 days remaining. “
Drove to Winsheilds Farm camp site at Bardon Mill, Hexham to check in. Then drove to Cawfields and walked the 10 miles back to Brocolitia.
Magnificent scenery, shifting gear through an ever increasing set of vistas culminating in the highest point, Green Slack (345m). It seems this section was easily the most popular part of the entire walk judging by the amount of hikers we came across. At times there was literally a traffic jam of people bunched up together wanting to ascend or descend a particular path, especially when an American woman had a full-on vertigo attack and nobody could get past her.
In the evening, set up my slightly lop-sided Coleman Cobra tent-without realising fully the consequences of a camp site being entirely on a slope, resulting in me constantly sliding down to the bottom of the tent and then having to pull myself back up, throughout the night! Maybe, I should have attached some industrial strength velcro to the floor? On top of the continuous sliding, it was so windy, I didn’t dare interfere with the orientation of the tent in case it billowed out like a parachute and took off, leaving me pinned against the hill.
Anyway, due to the general discomfort, couldn’t sleep for more then a couple of hours. The daylight couldn’t come soon enough. 47 miles walked so far. 37 to go.