Published: July 5th 2009April 13th 2009
It was Easter long weekend, and Scott, Kara, Jonson and I had been planning to cycle Hadrian’s Wall (World Heritage Site) for quite some time. However, when booking the train up to Carlisle and back from Newcastle I didn’t book bike slots for the bikes. Thus our biking holiday turned into a hiking holiday. What is Hadrian’s Wall I hear you asking, well back in the Roman times, they built a wall from one side of the UK to the other to protect themselves from the Scottish. It was 174miles from the coast near Newcastle to Solway on the Irish Sea. The structure in its day was huge and had turrets all the way along where soldiers guarded the wall.
The train ride up was a scramble, completely overbooked there were people in the isles all the way up, so lucky we didn’t try to sneak our bikes on. Our hotel was right next to the train station, the next morning we were off, through the town square past the Carlisle castle, past the council estates and then were in the country. We hiked through some pretty country side, past cows and sheep and pretty houses, it was however overcast and drizzling a little. Then we hit the estuary, and it got a bit cold and dull, but we walked on looking at Scotland on the other side. Out B&B was great, in a the little town of Solway and we had a lovely pub meal at the local. Other people finished in Solway after walking all the way from Newcastle, 174 miles… many people through we had finished as well, he-he, nope we had only come from Carlisle, which was only about 13miles away.
The following morning we took the Hadrian’s Wall bus back away the way we had come through Carlisle and then back out, the bus driver was excellent as he pointed out where the wall use to be. They have now kept the area free from development, which is good. Scott and I got off at Lanercost Priory to start the days walk, Kara and Jonson went on to where we were staying and went on a bike ride. We first caught site of the part of the Wall, it was a huge structure, I am still amazed it stretched all the way across the country. The walk was really pretty and along the best part of the wall, over a number of Cragg’s, which are like cliffs in the middle of the land. We managed to do about 18miles, and were exhausted as we came down off the wall into Haltwhistle, the centre of Briton. We very much enjoyed a well deserved Cider in the local before walking to our Farm Stay, the farm was great and it was lambing season so we got to see all the new born. The Farmer was very kind and drove us to a wonderful pub, gourmet food in the middle of no where, but it did have a darts board… Kara and I proved to be a little useless.
The following morning we were back on the Hadrian’s bus to Vindolanda which was an old Roman Fort, the ruins were in very good condition and we got a guided tour by and man dressed in full Roman commander dress - very interesting place. It was a gorgeous day so we enjoyed the sunshine as we waited for the next B&B people to pick us up. Their Farm was right into the middle on the Northumberland National park just below the Steel Rigg (another Cragg). That afternoon we headed off to do a loop of a section of the Wall. It was beautiful scenery; all was going well until we left the Wall to circle back around to get back to the Farm. We got a little lost, and had to scramble/fall down a steep slope to the lakes edge and then walk around the edge, run across some swamp before finally finding a path again. It was Jonson’s birthday so we had a few extra drinks with the home cooked meal that evening.
We were up early the next morning and caught a train into Newcastle, it was another lovely day so we strolled along the river edge and visited the Baltic - modern art museum. We followed that up by a quick bite on the river before jumping on the train back to London.