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Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Titanium Dude’s Hadrian’s Wall Walk

its that picture again 
I’ve mentioned before, somewhere on this blog (you’ll have to look it up yourselves if you’re that interested) about  how involvement in the TGO Challenge improves the quality and quantity of  a chap’s walking companions.
And so it was with this little expedition. Titanium Dude aka Paddy Burrows, TGO Challenger and yet another Fight Club Hiker, once banned from Trail’s Live for the Outdoors forum – a status which many may well envy…) – announced his intention to walk the Hadrian’s Wall LDP on the Peaceful Hiker Forum and , me, having absolutely nothing better to do, asked to join him for a day or so.
houseteads fort
And Lo! it came to pass that I paid the £3 parking fee at Housesteads Roman Fort and wandered Eastwards along the wall in the calculated belief that at some point T Dude would be met coming the other way.
It was sometime after lunch that I arrived at Brocolitia, (site of the temple of Dave Mithras, bull killer and general all-round good-guy as far as Roman Gods is concerned) where there’s a chap selling coffee from the back of a small van in the well preserved Roman Pay and Display Car Park
fresh coffee cart brocolitia
There, I fuelled my addiction to tasty caffeine and, sure enough, a few minutes later T Dude turned up. We had another coffee and marched off towards Carlisle.
The weather wasn’t great it has to be said – very humid and spitty and the local black flies were, it would seem, on their holidays too.
wall walkers
After trespassing inside Houseteads Fort, and, by using the lie of the land and the walls of a granary, we managed to avoid two individuals in high vis jackets who looked as though they might want to inspect the tickets we hadn’t bought – so we nipped out of the North gate and traversed the outside of the wall to rejoin the path. I noticed that one of the main defences to Houseteads was a sign which said that admission charges applied. This was found to be ineffective, however due to the fact that it wasn’t written in proto-Welsh and the locals weren’t up to reading or obeying rules like that. In fact, we just nipped over the fence. Paddy claimed not to have seen the sign….
roman fort defences
A short distance later, i left Paddy to walk on to Winshields Farm whilst I retraced in heavy rain to retrieve the knipemobile from the car park.
We met later on the campsite and withdrew strategically to the Twice Brewed pub for our tea and some beer.
Later, there was snoring and a rude awakening from heavy early morning rain coming through the tent door that I seem to have forgotten to close.
dark skies
The farm provided breakfast and once more we headed off towards the Solway. More humid stuff – more showers – more blackflies and a few midges later and with lots of up and down work – we eventually arrived at Birdoswald where, after tea in ther cafe, Paddy continued towards Walton and I explored a deep gill to kill time till the bus came.
The AD122 whisked me back to Twice Brewed for the princely sum of £3.80. This is a great bus service by the way – the buses are new since last year and, in theory you could walk the wall by staying in, say, Hexham and just using public transport to return to bas eat the end of each day.
Anyway, I trust Paddy is yet still forging Westwards – he didn’t seem to be having any problems with the route or the walking, so , all things being equal (which they never are, actually…) – its a fair bet he’ll arrive at Bowness on time and with no significant damage.
I have just the one day off to dry my tent, then I’m off again on a little worrif resolution…..
For those intent on just sampling Hadrian’s Wall for a couple of days, the best bit is between Chesters and Birdoswald – in my ‘umble…..
Altogether, I walked 25 miles with 3100 feet up uphill.


Laura said...

If I could remember the Latin for 'hello' which is on the tip of my tongue I would use it......however in the meantime it sounded like a good trip.
I do remember getting the bus when I did the Wall Walk wayback in 2000and something (2000 AD that is) so I don't think it's that new.....still it's great to be able to get back to the car or even use the bus first and walk back to the car. If you follow me...
OK I'll go away now and do something else.
['hewed' sums it up really}

Mike Knipe said...

There's a wide choice of public transport on which to base walking on the wall - ie the AD122 bus, the 685 Carlisle to Newcastle hourly service and the train - as there's a number of handy stations.
I seem to remember using all three last year.
You have to walk as well, obviously.....

Greg said...

Banned from Trail. I stopped getting it a few years ago as it was too irritating. They had route with gradings like : 10 % cliffs , 5 % the apple pie etc. Then they had a best buy rucsac weighing 2.5 kg. I seem to think they are jumping on the lightweight band wagon now. Presumably cos main stream manufacturers are making lighter stuff and they wont upset them any more.

Mike Knipe said...

Yes Greg, banned from LFTO - they are very very naughty boys and girls.
I won't comment about Trail, except to say that if you missed the last series of routes up Helvellyn or Snowdon, not to worry as there'll be more along shortly.
And they give instruction on how to wild camp. I could do a blog post about this.....

ukmase said...

Enjoyed reading that Mike, glad to see you didnt drop the camera this time.

You certainly picked the best part to walk. I will go back to this section again with my son in due course.

T-dude is a serial National Trail bagger but he wont admit it to himself, ive heard he has a sash with all his completion badges on hanginf above his fireplace !!

Mike Knipe said...

I think it's the best bit of the walk too, Masey.
It would be even better without all that Roman stuff, though.....

Paddy said...

Hi Mike. Enjoyed the trail and particularly your company on this section. Hope we can meet again soon.


Maz said...

I really enjoyed Hadrian's Wall LDP but we started from Carlisle and walked to Newcastle (for logistical reasons). It was October last year we did it and it was special for both of us as we have more than a passing interest in Roman and military history to stopped to read all the very useful info boards as well as discussing our own interest in the military and comparing it to the Romans. It's not a hard walk - it's undulating which means the ascent and descent is more than it first seems, but it's lovely rolling countryside, especially at Windshields Crag. Well worth 4-5 days and some nice pubs en route too.

Mike Knipe said...

I think the lumpy bit in the middle is the best part Maz, although I enjoyed the Solway bit too.
Some of it is a bit too close to the noisy road. But its just the right length for a week's walk.