Hadrian’s Wall Walk

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st. mary's lighthouse whitley bay

Last week we walked the first 21 miles of Hadrian’s Wall in the most glorious weather.  Part two of our walk is here.  Family holidays get a bit complicated when you have four kids aged 8, 14, 16 and 19.  It’s difficult to please everyone – well on a budget it is.  So, this year we decided to leave the two big ones at home – they both had stuff on.  The grand plan was to stay in a caravan on the coast at Whitley Bay just north of Newcastle – approx 1.5 hours drive away.  The idea being, if the weather is great we can do beach/outdoors stuff and if the weather is bad we can do city break stuff – shopping, museums, cinema etc.  Because we live in the country, our kids love city breaks but we love the seaside/outdoors too.

whitley bay

I have always wanted to walk Hadrian’s Wall which runs 86 miles coast-to-coast between Newcastle and Carlisle more-or-less.  My 14-year-old daughter was keen too, so we planned to start our challenge on this trip and do the rest over the next few weeks.  Well it was all wonderful.  We walked 21 miles of Hadrian’s Wall in two days.  My daughter’s friend came too since we had booked a caravan for six.  We started around ten in the morning and walked until early afternoon so we would have time to swim afterwards.   My husband dropped us off/picked us up and did special stuff with the wee man while we “girls” were hiking.  The lads visited the Discovery Museum and Beamish on the days we walked and they enjoyed both of them very much.  We all enjoyed our family meet-ups in the afternoon and having a swim together in the lovely camp site pool.

Hadrian’s Wall was built by the Roman’s in about 100 AD to mark the Northern limit of their Empire.  It runs just South of the Border between Scotland and England at the skinny bit of the country! Quite a lot of the Wall remains, especially in the centre where it is still very rural.  In the towns, the stone was long ago used for building new structures.  When I was small, I thought the Scots built the Wall to keep the Roman’s out but, of course, it was the other way round!  The Roman’s did, in fact, make it into Scotland briefly – before they were chased out by the scary Scots – they had a big settlement called Trimontium only a couple of miles from my house.

We started our walk in an area of Newcastle appropriately called Wallsend.  The first 15 miles then followed the River Tyne.  At five miles we hit the centre of Newcastle and the famous landmark bridges, Baltic Arts and the Sage Theatre.  We sat on the Millennium Bridge and ate our flapjack.  We bought an ice lolly each from an ice cream van and soldiered on in the heat.

baltic tyne newcastle sunny day

At mile 15, we took a sharp right and headed up a steep hill to a village called Heddon-on-the-Wall.  Here we we saw our fist big chunk of wall.  The next 6 miles of the path was in fields bordering the Military Road.  The road was actually built on top of the Wall using the stone as a foundation.  You can just see the Military Road next to the wall in the top left corner of this photo.

heddon-on-the-wall

We got two stamps in our official “Wall Trail” passports.

hadrian's wall passport stamps

hadrians wall trail path

hadrians wall trail path

hadrians wall trail path

Our caravan site at Whitley Bay was near a lovely lighthouse on an island which could only be reached at low tide. seaweed at whitley bay lighthouse

We visited the lighthouse and climbed the 137 steps to the top!

lighthouse steps whitley bay

We also visited the ruins of Tynemouth Priory and there was some amazing salty wind erosion on the gravestones.  We spent our last day together on the beach at Long sands beach at Tynemouth with chips and ice creams for lunch.  We then had a last swim in the camp pool, got dressed up and had a lovely dinner in an Italian restaurant before heading home. Happy Happy days.

tynemouth priory

eroded gravestone tynemouth priory

We had such a great time and I am feeling very smug indeed to have had such a great sunny holiday so close to home.  Our next leg is next week starting on my Birthday – we are going to walk all three days of our trip and stay two nights at Once Brewed Youth Hostel.

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3 responses »

  1. Wow! That sounds amazing. I once spent a holiday walking the coast of Cornwall — when I was about 19 and a lot more energetic! This sounds so interesting as well. I love Roman ruins. What was the deal with that fabulous gravestone you photographed? Was that pattern intentional or did it happen over time?

    • the gravestones were pretty much all like that, it’s erosion over time, i guess it’s the salt spray from the sea just eating into the stone, the land sticks out into the sea and would be very exposed to the elements, I have never seen anything like it before though. keep posted for the next installment there will be more impressive roman bits.

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