HADRIAN’S WALL PATH: 84 MILES, 5.5 DAYS, ROMAN FORTS & A WHOLE LOT OF COUNTRYSIDEHadrian’s Wall lies in the border country between Scotland and England, built on the orders of Emperor Hadrian in AD122 it marked the northern limits of his empire. It is the first National Trail (in the UK) to follow the course of a UNESCO world heritage site. It is an impressive feat, even just imagining how the thousands of tonnes of stone got to the top of some of the hills throughout the trail is astounding. The trail has been officially open since May 2003, with its official season running between April and October. I was itching to head off into the distance and had been eyeing the Camino for a while, but thought I’d start with something small first. A casual 84 miles….as you do…
Day 1 / Wallsend to WylamArriving at the Segundum Roman Fort, the sun is out (23c, roasting by UK standards) and I’m full of (coffee) beans. This is my first solo, multi day hike and I can’t bloody wait to get started. I have however managed to lose my trail “passport” last night in the pub, so now having repurchased one lets begin…. A lot of miles ahead of me today – so I skip the fort and crack on. This section of the path is widely regarded to be boring and industrial, I thought otherwise. The path heading towards Newcastle is surrounded by woodland, birdsong drowns out the faint noise of factories that are hiding somewhere behind the trees. Shortly, the Tyne comes into view and this is my constant companion for the next 12 miles. Passing under the 7 bridges on the Tyne, I note to myself to come back to Newcastle again. On a warm day like this, the city pulls out all of the stops, and as much as I would like to stop at one of the riverside bars for a bite to eat in the sunshine, there are both miles and the city to put behind me. The day got hotter, usually I wouldn’t mind but with tarmac and the sun beating down, my pace slowed significantly. The Keelman appeared like an oasis in the desert. The Keelman is a pub and a brewery with a cracking shaded beer garden – it was definitely time for a break. There is nothing more restorative than a pint on a hot day….. Lunch and a pint had, it was time to push on to my accommodation for the evening – 2 miles off the path. Leaving Tyne Riverside Country Park (stopping first at an ice-cream truck for a 99 – treat yo self!) I hit the Wylam Waggonway. Leaving the river behind me, the Wylam Waggonway has a cathedral-like canopy of trees and much needed shade, it is a beautiful walk. At this point of the day however I am are knackered, and without dilly dallying make my way to my accom for the night.
Day 1 StatsDistance actually walked = 17.74 miles Blisters = 0 Sunburn Level = A wee flush Beers = 2
Day 2 / Wylam to ChollerfordThis morning did not start off well, leaving my phone at the inn I was staying at with no staff to arrive until 3pm. But hey ho – I had to get going this was to be one of the longest sections of the trails. Starting back down the Wylam Waggonway to rejoin the path, I was greeted with a delightful morning uphill schelp to Heddon-on-the-Wall. Upon reaching the village, Coffee and bacon was required and stopped by Dingle Dell tearoom to devour possibly one of the best bacon rolls I’ve had in the last decade! (this is not an exaggeration by the way) Making my way out of town, the path started through some fields – and this is where the second thing to go slightly wrong happened. Picture this: Casually sauntering through a field in the sun, I spy a herd of cows on the actual path in the distance – no big deal right? They’re just cows? Or so I thought as I approached them, getting closer, I realised they were in fact much taller than me…..shit. It was at same time, that the herd noticed me walking towards them. Most returned to eating grass, one however, I think in hindsight was probably a young bull took offence to my presence in his field, and with a noise that could only have come from the seventh circle of hell it went for me….. Insert several expletives here! I hightailed it through a patch of nettles and up the nearest tree (I tell you what, how I managed to get up the tree still surprises me) and there I perched, until this cow / bull lost interest. 25 mins later, I climbed down and set back the way I came at a quick trot, cursing all manner of things. At this time, two gentlemen in their 70’s (Steve and Dave) entered the field and I filled them in on the cow/ bull situation, we then decided to not try it again and detour along the road. On we went through fields and fields and fields – mostly filled with sheep (praise the lord!). Finally, mid morning we were treated to our first glimpse of wall and the second passport stamp stop at the Robin Hood Inn, The gents stopped here for lunch, but having heard of a pub further up the road (about 90mins) with an alleged impressive menu I decided to wait. Which bring us to the third thing going wrong today – The Pub, once I got to it was CLOSED! Ahhhhhhh! The next town was 10 miles away, bloody disaster. Onwards to Chollerford, fuelled on cigarettes and museli bars. Bright yellow fields of Rapeseed stretched as far as the eye could see, glimpses of wall here and there. I met people coming in the opposite direction of me on the path, it occurred to me how international this walk actually is (more of that in a later post). A highlight of the day was passing through the site of the Battle of Heavenfield – wildflowers completely covered the field, it was simply stunning. Eventually arriving at Chollerford, everything – shops, pubs, gas station etc were closed, it also dawned on me that my accommodation for the night was another 2.5 miles uphill (a common theme throughout this walk) past the third passport point, Chesters Fort. Mentally, I was done for the day, it had in many parts been completely shit, but it hadn’t rained so that was something. One foot in front of the other, up and down stiles, and singing at cows in a bid they wouldn’t come after me (this actually worked for a couple of days – The song of choice? The bonnie banks of Loch Lomond) I arrived at Greencarts farm, and settled in for some banter with fellow walkers – who had also run in with the cow/ bull earlier in the day!
Day 2 StatsDistance actually walked = 26 miles Blisters = Still zero (a miracle) Angry Cows (possibly a bull) = 1 Detours taken = 1 (see above) Random Thought: Do not enter fields with cows early in the morning.
“Just when you think you are at the world’s end, you see a smoke from East to West as far as the eye can turn, and then under it as far as the eye can stretch, houses and temples, shops and theatres, barracks and granaries, trickling along like dice behind – always behind – one long, low, rising, and falling, and hiding and showing line of towers. And that is the Wall!”
Rudyard Kipling, Puck of Pook’s HillPART TWO of my Hadrian’s Wall Path Adventure can be found here
52 thoughts on “Walking Hadrian’s Wall Path Solo (Part One)”
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First of all I need to tell you how much I adore your writing style. It’s a real pleasure to read your stories. Secondly, I honestly admire you for going on this hike all by yourself! Way to go! You are so inspiring!!
Maria, you’ve just made me BLUSH! A rare thing. Thank you so much for your kind words 😘
Wow- what an interesting hike! I had no idea this path even existed. I can’t wait to read part 2!
Beautifully written travelogue. Hadrians wall will be on my list when i visit uk
Hiking is like meditation. It doesn’t matter if you walk with a group or on your own, you are anyways on your own. Very mental.
It looks really nice. Congrats!
Sorry for off topic, but you really remind me my old friend from school!:)
I haven’t tried hiking by myself, I need someone to distract me, so I won’t feel how tiring it is. And it that Roman Bath? We should have visited this, if we know it’s just that close to it.
Hadrian’s Wall sounds great! You make the trail sound very whimsical and quaint. Love it! Definitely on my UK bucket list now 🙂
Hahaha, thanks for sharing – loved your day stats 🙂 It’s not a place I have been to before, but if I’ll ever come to this part of the world, will definitely check it out!
What an amazing hike!! the place is gorgeous!!! I didn’t know about it. thanks for sharing . Has been a pleasure to read your experience.
I am not a hiking person by myself but I truly enjoy reading stories like yours from hikers.
Never heard of Hadrian’s wall. Is there an actual wall? We also spotted the Roman Bath signpost in your picture. Now, that’s worth checking out 😉
There still quite a wall left- the wall was originally built to keep the Scottish out 😂 and was inspiration for “The Wall” in game of thrones
Really inspiring post and lovely pics! I’d love to do parts of this hike someday, not brave enough to attempt the whole thing!
I love your writing style. Warn you now, multi day walks become very addictive. Haven’t done this hike yet but from what you’ve written so far, sounds a lot of fun!
Thanks Sarah, you’re totally right, I’ve become a little obsessed with them, huge plans for next summer ☺️
Wow it looks gorgeous! I have never heard of the walk and I lived in North England for a while! Will have to check it out next time I’m visiting the UK
It’s pretty amazing definitely worth adding to the list
I love making adventures on my own and you’re such an inspiration for me!
This looks so beautiful and definitely a hike that I want to do!
Thanks for you really kind words ☺️
I didn’t even realize this hike existed! So awesome of you to do it on your own! I’ll have to keep this in mind for my next trip.
I’ve hiked many places in India. It just refresh my memories. Waiting for part 2.
Wylom Waggonway made me giggle! Great post x
I know! Me too, the joys of British names for things 🙂
That’s really great and impressive that you decided to hike alone, very proud of you!
Thanks Inna, it was a very liberating experience- highly recommend it
Wow – this brings back memories! I went to Hadrian’s Wall on a school trip when I was ten years old. I remember that the walk passes a tree that’s famous for being in the film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. I had never thought to go back as an adult and experience it as a hike. It sounds like a lot of distance to cover, and a really beautiful part of British countryside.
Thanks Alex, it’s a pretty amazing walk – got to the tree on day 3 – certainly worth the effort. distance isn’t bad just a casual 80 miles or so 😂
Being a solo hiker myself I know there could be challenges at times. Love your solo hike Hadrians Wall Path adventure.
I would love to see part two. Thanks for sharing, I’ve never heard about that.
I love hiking and it’s a crucial part of my life. That’s why I enjoy reading articles like this. Lovely write-up- keep up the great work
Looks like an interesting place to have a weekend walk. Not sure that it is something on top of my list though. I live too far away.
Hahaha I love your stats! But seriously what an amazing hiking experience!
Loved reading this post. Me and my girlfriend both like to hike so will put it on our list!
I never heard of walking around Hadrian’s Wall between Scotland and England. But this looks very beautiful and worth visiting and I am adding this during my visit to UK.
This sounds amazing, I’d like to do this one day as well, but I’m sure I would have collected more blisters by this time. No beer on day 2??
I’m sad to say no beer on day 2- I was staying on a farm that night that 3 miles (!) from the nearest pub, caught up on days 3 and 4 though 😉
I like your writing style, it’s like talking to a friend. The hike sounds great and glad you had a good time.
What a wonderful hike and adventure! I chuckled out loud each time I read “no blisters”, have no idea how you managed that one!
The secret was good socks 😂
This is definitely a different take on exploring the areas around hadrian’s wall. I love hiking especially in historical places knowing that so many people have walked their before that helped shape history.
I’ve never heard of Hadrian’s Wall Path, but in your post, it sounds just amazing – so serene! I have the impression it’s the perfect hike if you want to get away from it all. A great idea for my next GB-trip.
It’s really good getaway – highly
What a schlepp indeed, but well worth it. Hadrian’s Wall is definitely a place to be discovered and hiked as it has been there for so long and should be appreciated. I thinkI would have inserted a bit of whining on my hike.
I still haven’t been to Hadrian’s Wall but really have to! How brave of you to do the hike on your own!
THIS IS A GREAT POST. WOULD LIKE TO VISIT THESE BEAUTIFUL PLACES
You went o the hike alone!! Kuddos to you girl for doing the hike on your own- I am not sure if i’d be able to do it by myself but it seems like a really great adventure.
I highly recommend a solo hike, it’s really fantastic!
Great post you have here. Thank you for inspiring us on hiking. This reminds me to do it also while capturing the scenic spots in my own city.
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