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Roaming with the Romans on Hadrian's Wall Path

Having been fortunate enough to experience the West Highland Way in 2014, it was my turn again to research another walk - this time the Hadrian’s Wall Path. The trail officially opened in 2003 and has been increasingly popular ever since.

The adventure begins

My trip began by taking the train from Edinburgh to Newcastle, then the Metro to Wallsend to observe the start of the trail. It is worth spending a bit of time at the observation tower and museum at Segedunum Roman Fort which is the starting point. A very interesting bird’s-eye view of the Fort from the tower is a great way to start this historical journey.

I didn’t walk the first stage so made my way to Heddon-on-the-Wall, where I spent the night at the lovely Ironsign Farm B&B - set in the most beautiful location surrounded by fields of space, and some interesting residents (Highland cows!).

First steps

The walking began today for me, as I set off from Heddon-on-the-Wall to Chollerford. The trail was pleasant and consisted of mostly field walking with lots of greenery and nature. However, a hail storm awaited me so I was glad to reach St Oswalds Tea Room to dry off.

Just before reaching Chollerford I detoured slightly off the path to have a look at Brunton Turret - one the best preserved along the Wall. Approaching Chollerford I crossed the most beautiful bridge with lovely views either side.

My accommodation for the night was The Dovecote, a lovely homely place located in the quaint Humshaugh, and situated near Chesters Roman Fort & Museum.

A wonderful day

The next day was definitely the highlight as far as the Wall goes - an adventurous day not to be forgotten! Some sections of the Wall near Housesteads Fort were incredible, and not forgetting the famous Sycamore Gap where part of 'Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves' was filmed. This day was full of a variety of sights and terrain with rolling hills throughout the day. 

This evening I spent the night at Saughy Rigg Farm, Once Brewed. A lovely little farm in a valley.

Onwards to Walton

Today began with a continuation of gentle climbing up towards the highest point of the path (345m) which offered fantastic views, wide open spaces and the feeling of freedom and plenty fresh air! This day felt particularly long but I wouldn’t be disappointed with my destination where I received a warm welcome from my hosts at Oakwood Park Hotel in Brampton.

Today, I passed various points of interest including Birdoswald Roman Fort, Thirlwall Castle and Gilsland (which is a potential stop for breaking up this stage of the walk).

 

Marching to Carlisle

My final day consisted of a leisurely, peaceful walk along the River Eden towards Carlisle. I went through many fields and had the pleasure of meeting lots of sheep and cows! The approach into Carlisle was pleasant - having the River Eden on my right and Carlisle Castle in front of me as I approached the centre of town.

The end of my Journey!

This is where my experience ended as I headed home on the train from Carlisle to Edinburgh. The Hadrian's Wall Path was an unforgettable experience which I would recommend to one and all - not just Roman history enthusiasts. It really is quite incredible that we are able to see and experience such a fascinating part of history while getting some healthy exercise at the same time!

The path is well way-marked and generally easy to follow. In my opinion, the Hadrian’s Wall Path is an experience not to be missed!

Amanda MacDonald

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