My research into this walk on two previous occasions splits the walk into five sections and while most people seem to walk from Wallsend to Bowness on Solway my view was that with prevailing winds in the UK tending to blow in from “The West”, thus the wind will be at your back if walking from west to east. Another factor influencing this decision was a Friday night out in the City of Newcastle to sample Newcastle Brown Ale!!
84miles/135kms say 35/45kms per day
• Bowness on Solway – Carlisle 14.5miles
• Carlisle – Gilsland 19miles
• Gilsland – Chollerford 19.5miles (hardest section)
• Chollerford – Heddon On The Wall 16miles
• Heddon On The Wall – Wallsend 15miles.
Hadrian’s Wall Path is an unbroken 135km (84 mile) signposted footpath stretching from coast-to-coast across England. The 2003 opening of the National Trail made the full length of the Wall accessible to the public for possibly the first time since the end of the Roman occupation of Britain in the early fifth century.
The Passport scheme
The Passport scheme operates May-October. Prove that you have walked the Trail by collecting seven stamps in the Trail's own Passport. Stamping Stations:
• Segedunum Roman Fort (Wallsend)
• Robin Hood Inn, (B6318 Military Road)
• Chesters Roman Fort (Chollerford)
• Housesteads Fort * NEW in 2010 *
• Birdoswald Roman Fort (Gilsland)
• Sands Centre (Carlisle)
• The Banks Promenade or The Kings Arms Inn or Tide Boards at entrance to village (Bowness on Solway)
There's an exclusive Completion Badge & Certificate (£3.95) when you've collected all seven stamps. (Order your Passport on the internet.)
The Solway Coast - how to predict the tide times The sections of Trail between Dykesfield, west of Burgh-by-Sands, and Drumburgh, and between Port Carlisle and Bowness on Solway, are at sea level. For several days of the year it is prone to tidal flooding so it is vitally important that you understand, before you set out, whether or not you will need to allow for extra time while the route is impassable. Tide prediction notice boards These are sited at Bowness on Solway (at the eastern end of the village) and Dykesfield (cattle grid). The present and following month's tide times and heights are posted on the boards.
Using the Easytide website
This is an Admiralty website and gives a free seven-day prediction for a series of ports around the UK coastline.
1. Go to the Easytide website (Related Links)
2. Click on 'free predictions'
3. Click on the 'Search' tab on the 'Predict Select Port' page, then type in 'Silloth'; then click 'Predict'.
4. On the next page click 'Predict' which brings up a seven-day prediction for the net seven days only. You are interested in the high tides of nine metres and above because this is when the affected parts of the Trail may flood.
Now for the tricky bit The predicted tide times and heights are for the port of Silloth, so you need to convert them to the Solway section of the Trail.
If you are walking during British Summer Time (BST) add on TWO HOURS. If you are walking during Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) add on ONE HOUR.
Finally, allow for an hour either side of the adjusted high tide when the sections affected should be avoided. Do remember that the tide tables are predictions only and that many conditions, for example wind speed and atmospheric pressure, can influence the likelihood of the Solway marshes flooding. The estuary can look an entirely benign place, but the water can rise very quickly.
On the day - 12th July - my calculations reveal we should be okay but we need to be away early – say start walking by 9am or 9.30am at the latest.
In April 2010 Martin kindly provided an Itinerary to all of us received from Kath Henderson from Macs Adventure Ltd. The accommodation booked for Stuart and Martin mirrors the sections of the walk I previously detailed.
In having booked campsites, camp barns and bunkhouses (trying as best as I could to gain accommodation in the same locations) I have finally succeeded with a lot of difficulty:
• Monday 12th July – Bluebell Camping Barn £12 pppn. (Owner – Mark Harper) This is located in the village of Crosby on Eden, a couple of miles past Carlisle and is a new facility. There is a good pub in the village called the Stag Inn which does breakfasts and evening meals. There is a bus stop outside the pub so Steve and I can get the bus into Carlisle or Stuart and Martin can get the bus out! I wanted to get through Carlisle rather than do this the following morning.
• Tuesday 13th July – Holmhead Camping Barn. This is at Thirwall Castle Farm, Greenhead. £12.50pppn and I paid a £5 deposit. The owner Judy Clark was ever so helpful and can provide a carry out lunch with prior notice. The Greenhead Hotel (10 minutes walk) provides evening meals and breakfasts. There was no camping facilies in Gilsland but Greenhead is only 2 miles further on and like Bluebell is on the wall – essential for those carrying all their gear.
• Wednesday 14th July – Greencarts Campsite, Camp barn (£8pppn) and Bunkhouse (£10pppn), Humshaugh. Here we are booked in with a choice of camping (£5pppn), camp barn or bunkhouse. If the weather is good the lady owner was happy that we camped. The village of Humshaugh is beside Chollerford.
• Thursday 15th July – Belvedere Campsite, Harlow Hill, Heddon On The Wall. £4.50pppn camping. Pub two miles away for evening meal/breakfast but many local take-away operators deliver food to the site. Pat Carr the owner - ever so helpful.
• Friday 16th & Saturday 17th July – The Jesmond Hotel, Jesmond, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.
• Sunday 18th July – 1.35pm National Express Coach leaves Newcastle for Chester (direct £10.80).
Hadrian’s Wall Bus
Bus AD122 runs along the length of the wall. Running through the summer between Newcastle and Carlisle and stopping at visitor attractions, towns and villages along the way, the Hadrian's Wall Bus is the best way to explore the wonders of Hadrian's Wall Country.
This is an adventure we are all looking forward to as Hadrian’s Wall Country is a walker’s paradise with stunning scenery and which is immensely varied. We will be following the footsteps of the Roman patrols that guarded this wall against attacks from the North. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (1987) and this famous wall is the best preserved frontier of the entire Roman Empire. It is unique and is one of the wonders of the world and among the most important archaeological monuments of the last 2,000 years. The Wall was constructed over a period of six years by the order of the Emperor Hadrian who came to Britain in122AD. It was built “to separate the Romans from the Barbarians” – a feat it achieved for over 250 years.
Next week we too are “invaders” but with peaceful intentions to walk and take in a fistful of knowledge and scenery as we walk the length of this monumental structure.
I do hope you all enjoy yourselves.
Fraser Mackay 10th July 2010.