Challenge the Hadrian’s Wall Path

Britain is home to some of the most spectacular hiking routes in the world and with the right climbing gear, you can enjoy them all no matter how extreme the weather gets.

For the ultimate British hiking experience you just have to take on the trails in the popular areas:  Enjoy the stunning Lake District in Cumbria, the-trampled mountain massifs in Wales, the Saddle via Forcan Ridge in the Northwest Highlands or even the national trail of Hadrian’s Wall Path. Completing a hike in any of these locations is an exhilarating experience – especially in extreme conditions.

My “Tour of Britain on foot” resolution for this year is already underway and after ticking the Lake District and The Saddle paths off the list, I decided to take it to another level…and a seven day hiking excursion seemed just about right.
When you decide to tackle something like the seven day hike along Hadrian’s Wall Path, you always go over the basics in your head: check the trail walkthrough, book your accommodation beforehand – bring the proper hiking gear.
Hadrian’s Wall Path is sometimes described by magazines as a relatively easy hiking route but until you take your first step on the trail, you realise that it isn’t going to be so easy. But it is well worth it.
The 84 mile trail stretches coast-to-coast from Wallsend to Bowness-on-Solway passing through the lively cities of Newcastle and Carlisle – with rugged moorland, rolling fields and breath-taking landscapes in between.
As you start your trip you can divide it into a six part walkthrough, just to make it easier:
1.    Wallsend to Heddon-on-the-Wall
2.    Heddon-on-the-Wall to Chollerford
3.    Chollerford to Steel Rigg
4.    Steel Rigg to Walton
5.    Walton to Carlisle
6.    Carlisle to Bowness-on-Solway
Along the path you might encounter a legionnaire (a costumed guide) between Northumberland and Cumbria to the West of Gilsland, who will share his wisdom and funny stories. His insightful information sure makes a rainy day seem brighter.
Further along the way, at Milecastle 48, you can catch your breath on the famous staircase and enjoy the sun…or in my case – a 12mph wind. This is why you have to be prepared. The thing that saved me from freezing on the side of Hadrian’s Wall was my all weather jacket, which I never travel without.  Arcteryx jackets are awesome hiking companions and well worth an investment if you want to start exploring the Great British outdoors.
Hiking in the wind might not be as fun as a sunny trip, but with a quality jacket at your disposal, you can forget about the elements and enjoy the beauty of the hike. Fleece jackets are perfect for chillier routes in the North and are lightweight enough to tie around your waist when the sun comes out.
The lengthy Willowford bridge section of the wall, followed by the crossing of the River Irthing over a bridge (constructed in the same steel as Anthony Gormley’s Angel of the North), makes the chill on your face and the aches in your legs worthwhile.
Arriving at Birdoswald visitor centre, a sit down with some tea and cake is the best way to recharge your batteries for the remaining part of the route.
From Walton to Carlisle the British weather remains unpredictable as it is nearer the sea-level but you can enjoy the occasional woodland as a diversion from the more open areas of Northumberland.
At the end of your trail, as you approach Bowness-on-Solway, revise the journey, collect your passport stamps (only available between May and October) and be proud to cross the finish line of a seven day journey, inspired by the Roman trail.

1 Comment

  1. You were talking about the Hadrian’s Wall Path, approximately how long is it? I think walking through the most beautiful landscapes of the country is a wonderful idea!!

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