Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Hadrians Wall Path – Day 5 + Postscript – Walton to Carlisle – (Northumbria) – 14/05/08 – 12 miles approx – Helen

Day 5 and the Romans had left us. Thus unlike the previous three days there were no wall, turrets, milecastles or museums. As such we rounded the holiday off with a pleasant country walk in the morning, mostly through farmland, passing in the process Carlisle airport (post Roman), before having a light pub lunch at Crosby on-Eden. In the afternoon we crossed the M6 heading through Rickerby Park alongside the River Eden, until we reached Carlisle Football Ground (thankfully at home to Leeds the following night) and the end of our trail along Hadrians Wall Path.

Having reached the end of our line however there followed some minor confusion as to whether we were where we thought we were, followed by a hunt for our final (but full distance walkers penultimate) passport stamping point at the Sandy sports centre. That concluded we located our B&B, the most spacious room all week, before heading off to the local golf club for dinner, and back again for a final game of chess, and to watch Rangers in the UEFA Cup Final. A low key last day on a very enjoyable and interesting week.


There will always be a nagging feeling with me that we should have gone for the full 84 miles. You know it is just one of those irritating things, that when you explain to someone you have walked Hadrians Wall, you then have to start qualifying it by saying “well no I didn’t do the full distance and the reason is …..”

Certainly given the pace that we proved we were able to cross ground on day 5 (when there was nothing to look at), I know we could have done the full distance with ease, over the five days we had allocated to it. That however is the crux of the matter, as in the mid section between Chollerford and Walton there is just so much to look at, and look is exactly what we did. Yet even then we still didn’t have time to see two major highlights en-route, which were Housesteads and Vindolando.

What day 1 and day 5 of our intinerary showed however, was that outside of that mid-section there really isn’t anything there, and you are following a path where you literally have to take the trail makers word for it. So as such those two days justified for me not tacking on the Wallsend or Bowness-on-Solway endings just in order to claim one has walked a mythical wall and distance.

So if any of you are reading this and fancy doing the same thing yourself, you can use the holiday company Contours which we used, and who proved to be efficient at doing what they said they would. You can also make up your own tour intinerary with them allocating as many days you want to it. For my money however 5 days is probably the right time to spend. Unlike us however I believe you should either do the full walk of 84 miles, looking neither left nor right and just go for the distance. Or alternatively allocate your full 5 days to the section between Chollerford and Walton (which we did in 3), and really soak up that Roman history.

Finally to put Hadrians wall in its full historical context a good starting point is this Wikipedia link Roman Britain (the week has certainly stimulated my interest).

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