Hadrian's Wall 2008

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‘Vita non est vivere sed valere vita est’
(....life is more than merely staying alive…)


In May 2008 I completed the West Highland Way in Scotland. I had so much fun and was blessed with such good weather, that when I got home I decided I’d go for another long stroll later in the year. So after a summer of good walks in the Lake District and Snowdonia in Wales, I decided on something a little less strenuous. I plumped for the Hadrian’s Wall path as it is not too long, and is easily accessible for me. An added bonus is all of the Roman history along the way, so much history that my days could be long and drawn out looking at all of the relics along the way. My schedule of work allowed me to choose early September to complete the path, and as always I was hoping for fair weather and good health for the journey.



I planned to drive up to Bowness-on-Solway the night before the walk, and use a baggage transfer service. I chose to use Walkers Baggage service as they can transport a single bag (http://www.walkersbags.co.uk/) and would cost around £40 for the six transfers required. Other baggage transfer companies will charge for a minimum of 2 bags – expensive if you are on your own. As with my previous LDP walks I will use the national trail guide produced by the Ordnance Survey. The only trouble was that all the guide books published start at Wallsend and I was starting at Bowness-on-Solway. I thought this would be the best option as I would be walking to Wallsend (an apt name), have the weather at my back if it’s inclement, and I won’t be squinting into the sunlight if I leave later in the day. Another consideration was the ease of transport back to Manchester via the train network.

I considered myself fit enough after all my rambles this summer, so I didn’t feel the need for any extra walks beyond my usual monthly romp in the hills. As I had already completed a LDP in the spring time, I had a good idea of what to take with me equipment wise. My main criteria was to include a good set of weatherproof gear, comfortable socks and well ‘dubbined’ boots. I also took with me enough snacks to last the six days of walking so I wouldn’t be reliant on passing any local shops that weren’t open along the way. I took my portable hard drive to download my pictures from the camera at any B&B that would let me use their computer. One last thing, I took my big golf umbrella to keep the worse of the rain off, or the worse of the sun if I’m lucky….and sometimes I am!

All I need now is to put one foot in front of the other and let my mind wander free




Day none: Travel up from Manchester and stay overnight at The Old Rectory in Bowness-on-Solway.

Day one: Walk from Bowness-on-Solway to Carlisle. 14 ¾ miles. Looking for a Roman inscription.

Day two: Stroll from Carlisle to Low Rigg near Walton. 11 ½ miles. Pele towers along the way.

Day three: Waltz from Walton to Burnhead. 14 miles. Passing the highest point on the wall.

Day four: Amble along from Burnhead to Chollerford. 14 miles. Look for the Sycamore.

Day five: Leg it from Chollerford to near Newburn. 16 miles

Day six: Finish the path at WallsEND and then catch the metro and train back to Manchester.

Will I find anything Roman on the way? I hope so….read on to see if I do, and enjoy the flora and fauna
page at the end of the story.

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