Dorset Arms Hotel

Headed up the M6 today to Bowness-on-Solway (the end of our adventure) to park the car, then jumped in our prearranged taxi to transport us to our starting point in Wallsend.

We are beginning our walk along Hadrian’s Wall tomorrow. This walk will take us 5 days over 84 miles

the crew

Kate, Jhanet, Michelle, John

Hadrian's Wall (Latin: Vallum Aelium), also called the Roman Wall, Picts' Wall, or Vallum Hadriani in Latin, was a defensive fortification in the Roman province of Britannia, begun in AD 122 in the reign of the emperor Hadrian. It ran from the banks of the River Tyne near the North Sea to the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea, and was the northern limit of the Roman Empire, immediately north of which were the lands of the northern Ancient Britons, including the Picts.

It had a stone base and a stone wall. There were milecastles with two turrets in between. There was a fort about every five Roman miles. From north to south, the wall comprised a ditch, wall, military way and vallum, another ditch with adjoining mounds. It is thought the milecastles were staffed with static garrisons, whereas the forts had fighting garrisons of infantry and cavalry. In addition to the wall's defensive military role, its gates may have been customs posts.

A significant portion of the wall still stands and can be followed on foot along the adjoining Hadrian's Wall Path. The largest Roman archaeological feature anywhere, it runs a total of 73 miles (117.5 kilometres) in northern England. Regarded as a British cultural icon, Hadrian's Wall is one of Britain's major ancient tourist attractions. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. In comparison, the Antonine wall, thought by some to be based on Hadrian's wall (the Gillam hypothesis),[6] was not declared a World Heritage site until 2008.

It is a common misconception that Hadrian's Wall marks the boundary between England and Scotland. In fact Hadrian's Wall lies entirely within England and has never formed the Anglo-Scottish border. While it is less than 0.6 mi (1.0 km) south of the border with Scotland in the west at Bowness-on-Solway, in the east at Wallsend it is as much as 68 miles (109 km) away.

Our route😊

Segedunum was a Roman fort at modern-day Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, England, UK. The fort lay at the eastern end of Hadrian's Wall (in Wallsend) near the banks of the River Tyne, forming the easternmost portion of the wall. It was in use as a garrison for approximately 300 years, from around 122 AD, almost up to 400AD.

Our first view of a Roman fort

Tonight we are staying at the Dorset Arms in Wallsend.

Close House

Day #1 Wallsend to Heddon-on-the-Wall

So begins our Hadrian’s Wall walk. We started with an interesting breakfast at the Dorset Arms served by the most fantastic Newcastle accent I’ve ever heard. Bear-in-mind I’ve never before heard a Newcastle accent before yesterday😊

The Wall was built by the Romans east to west so that is the way we are going to walk. The morning dawned cool with some fog but with the promise of sun later. We started at about 9am from the beginning of the wall, Segedunum Fort where we visited yesterday.

We crossed over the actual wall at the very beginning (John had to pose as a centurion😉). This will be the last of Hadrian’s Wall we will see today.

Day one of our Hadrian's Wall National Trail adventure took us from the hustle and bustle of Newcastle Upon Tyne's \240riverside area to the outlying districts of the city before eventually seeing us leave the cities built up areas and into true countryside. Most of the stage was walked alongside the north bank of the River Tyne until we left it to arrive at our accommodation

We eventually came across an affected area along the bank of the River Tyne has been heavily used by industry for many years and that heritage has left a hazardous legacy.The tar works operated for about 60 years from the 1920s to 1984, when it was closed.

In the past, the site was used by ships, which emptied their ballast on the shoreline.

Then the area was covered over and the tar works was built..

Stephen Savage, Newcastle City Council’s director of regulatory services and public protection, explained how the contamination occurred.

He said: "During the years, the tar works operated, leakages from the plant have seeped into the earth.

"The ballast from the ships has acted like a sponge and soaked up the pollution.

"Instead of being able to run off into the river and be washed away, it is being held in the ground and slowly washed out as it rains.

"So the chemicals are slowly seeping on to the shore line. It only happens at low tide because when the tide is high the pressure of the water prevents the pollution from escaping."

The smell of the hydrocarbons was overwhelming as we past by. You can see below the current seepage

Tires are stacked in rows on the shore. These are used for crabbing!

Saint Peters Basin

The wreck of a wooden barge, also known as a keel. These were used to carry coal to the waiting collier ships.

Newcastle’s Seven Bridges

The seven bridges spanning over the wide Tyne create together the most characteristic view of the city of Newcastle.

The Gateshead millennium bridge, aka The blinking eye bridge. This bridge tilts to let ships pass through and it’s this manoeuvre that has earned it, it’s nickname.

Shelduck Duck

Teal Duck

An extremely cute and very friendly horse just before we ended for the day


Follow the Acorns-these are the trail markers for Hadrian’s Wall

Our accommodation Close House, a bit fancier then our usual.......

The Hadrian Hotel

Day #2 Heddon-on-the-Wall to Hexham

(was supposed to be 16 miles ended up being 18.21)

Oil of Rapeseed fields, Heddon-on-the-Wall

Definitely worth a detour to see Hadrian’s Wall (not on the national trail)

I decided before the walk to purchase the trail passport. This is for walkers who collected a full set of stamps along the way, are then are entitled to the exclusive achievers' badge and certificate

The first day we got our stamp at Sagedunum and today the National Trail Passport second stop was at the Robin Hood pub.

Jhanet had the honor of the second stamping 😊

The Vallum is a huge earthwork associated with Hadrian's Wall in England. Unique on any Roman frontier, it runs practically from coast to coast to the south of the wall.

The earliest surviving mention of the earthwork is by Bede (Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, I.12), who refers to a vallum, or earthen rampart, as distinct from the wall, or murus; the term is still used despite the fact that the essential element is a ditch, or fossa. It was long thought that the Vallum predated the stone wall, whose most elaborate phasing was presented in 1801 by William Hutton,who thought, wrongly, that the south vallum mound and the marginal mound, with a ditch between, were the work of Agricola, that the vallum ditch and north mound were added by Hadrian, and that the stone wall was the work of Severus. In fact all these elements date to Hadrian's reign, with the stone wall having been built first.

Although there is no definitive historical evidence as to why the Roman army built this unusual barrier, modern archaeological opinion is that the Vallum established the southern boundary of a military zone bounded on the north by the wall itself.The zone would have been "out-of-bounds" to civilians and those with no valid reason to be there.

Lambs (there are so many everywhere)

Needing a quick sit down

Planetrees section of Hadrian’s Wall

Closeup of the wall

Tonight we are staying at Hadrian’s Hotel, where we were served an amazing meal in the pub topped off with sticky toffee pudding😋. We will sleep well gearing up for the longest day tomorrow.

Quotes of the day;

J - if we are going to stop every 5mins to whip it out

K - your going to learn to whip it out faster

J - funny how things get buried

K - what have I done with my nuts?

M - where is your duck

J, J, M - yes you did order apple juice!

Gilsland Hall Hotel

Day #3 Hexham to Gilsland

(Was supposed to be 21 miles ended up being 24.31)

Today is the longest and most scenic part of Hadrian’s Wall

A turret was a small watch tower, incorporated into the curtain wall of Hadrian's Wall. The turrets were normally spaced at intervals of one third of a Roman mile(equivalent to 495 metres (541 yd)) between Milecastles, giving two Turrets between each Milecastle.

North Tyne River

Chesters is one of a series of permanent forts built during the construction of Hadrian’s Wall. The cavalry fort, known to the Romans as Cilurnum, was built in about AD 124. It housed some 500 cavalrymen and was occupied until the Romans left Britain in the 5th century. Pioneering excavations in the 19th century exposed the structures visible today. These excavations yielded one of the best collections of inscriptions and sculpture on Hadrian’s Wall.

In the original plan for Hadrian’s Wall (begun in AD 122) there were no forts on the Wall itself. Within two years, however, the decision was taken to add 15 forts to the line, to be manned by units of auxiliary troops (those who were not citizens of Rome). The earliest of the new forts straddled the Wall, lying half to its north and half to its south. This was the case at Chesters, where the ditch that fronted the Wall was filled in and a recently built Wall turret demolished to make way for the fort.


Bath house

Third passport stamp at Chester’s Fort

The remains of a third-century Roman temple


The remains of a third-century Roman temple to the Sun God Mithras, a cult which first started in Persia.

The Roman name of Brocolitia was probably based on the original Celtic name for the area meaning ‘Badger Holes’.

The Wall was placed slightly north of the existing line of military installations between the River Tyne and the Solway Firth. Its line was carefully chosen to make best use of the topography, and it was surveyed from each end towards the middle, or rather towards the crags, in sections. Building in the east started at the point where the road from the south, Dere Street, met the Wall and where later a gate, the Portgate, was erected.

As first planned, most of the Wall was to be built in stone, but the eastern 30-mile section was in turf. In front of both was a substantial ditch, except where crags or rivers made this unnecessary. .

Lying midway along Hadrian’s Wall, Housesteads is the most complete example of a Roman fort in Britain, and one of the best-known from the entire Roman Empire. It was built within a decade of AD 122, when work on the Wall began, and was garrisoned by an 800-strong infantry regiment until the end of the 4th century. Excavations have revealed major buildings, defences and the civilian settlement outside its walls.

Sycamore Gap

The Sycamore Gap Tree or Robin Hood Tree is a sycamore tree standing next to Hadrian's Wall near Crag Lough in Northumberland, England. It is located in a dramatic dip in the landscape and is a popular photographic subject, described as one of the most photographed trees in the country. It derives its alternative name from featuring in a prominent scene in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. The tree won the 2016 England Tree of the Year award.

John serenading us at Sycamore gap😊

At each mile a gate was protected by a small guard post called a milecastle.

Between each pair of milecastles lay two towers (turrets), creating a pattern of observation points every third of a mile. The stone wall, with a maximum height of about 15 feet (4.6 metres), was 10 Roman feet (3 metres) wide, wide enough for there to have been a walkway along the top, and perhaps also a parapet wall. The turf sector was 20 Roman feet (6 metres) wide

Crawfields Quarry

Raced the last five miles to make the pub 8:30pm last food order cutoff. Made it to Sampson Inn pub, foot tired and hungry, we collapsed for a well earned meal.

Unfortunately we still had a mile to walk to our hotel UPHILL (we did inquire about a taxi but server only laughed) at least it was a beautiful night.

Our accommodation we walked to last night up on the hill. Gilsland Hall Hotel


Day #4 Gilsland to Carlisle

(Supposed to be 19 miles - except the extra detour we took this morning due to a bridge being out 20.74 miles)

The walls width and height dependent on the construction materials which were available nearby: east of the river Irthing the wall was made from brick shaped stone and measured 10 Roman feet (9.7  ft or 3 m) wide and 5 to 6 metres (16–20 ft) tall; west of the river the wall was made from turf and measured 6 metres (20 ft) wide and 3.5 metres (11.5 ft) high. This does not include the wall's ditches, berms, and forts. The central section measured 8 Roman feet wide (7.8 ft or 2.4 m) on a 10 foot base.

River Irthing

Banna, now known as Birdoswald Roman Fort, was a fort, towards the western end of Hadrian's Wall, in the Roman province of Britannia.

The fort was occupied by Roman auxiliaries from approximately AD 112 to AD 400. In this western part of Hadrian's Wall, the wall itself was originally built from turf, later replaced with stone. The stone fort was built some time after the wall, in the usual playing card shape, with gates to the east, west and south. Inside were built the usual stone buildings, a central headquarters building (principia), granaries (horrea), and barracks. Unusually for an auxiliary fort, it also included an exercise building (basilica exercitatoria), perhaps reflecting the difficulties of training soldiers in the exposed site in the north of England.

The fifth passport stamp at Birdoswald Fort.

Can not ignore these cuties

Hermena made it to the wall😊😊😊

She was so excited getting out and stretch her gourd legs on the largest Roman archaeological feature in the world

Jhanet found a plum on the trail a few days ago and decided she wanted to give it to a horse along the way. Here was our winner ! He picked it up chewed on it a bit then spat it out. 🤭

Ring-necked Pheasant

We came across several “honesty” boxes full of all sorts of goodies you can buy along the wall. Need chocolate or crisps your in luck.


We are all very very foot sore and hobbled into Carlisle to the Angus Hotel for the evening. We have seen all of the wall we are going to (I believe) and tomorrow is the last push back to our car in Bowness-on-Solway.

Quote of the day

K - if I ever hike on my own, I’d be in a ditch sleeping and I’d never get anywhere

According to K & J distance is measured in pages other than miles.

“Just need to finish this page!”

total miles so far 80.26


Day #5 Carlisle to Bowness-on-Solway

(Supposed to be 14.34 miles, actually 15.75 miles)

Amazingly we are all on our feet and ready for the last day of our walk........ was not sure last night that this would be the case🦶🏻🦶🏻🦶🏻🦶🏻ouch!

The walk this morning began at the Sands Centre. Which was the location of our sixth passport stamp.

The River Eden heading west out of Carlisle

Wild garlic..... I really wanted to pick some but then I would be smelling (more than I already am) all day😉

My special acorn post😊 I took this for Kate

Kate and John

My Lady Bug (Bird) for the day.

So John taught J and I about sticky wickets. This great plant that sticks🤭🤭

Galium aparine- goose grass

Saint Mary’s

Saint Michael's Church is in the village of Burgh by Sands, Cumbria, England. It is an active Anglican parish church in the deanery of Carlisle, the archdeaconry of Carlisle, and the diocese of Carlisle. Its benefice is united with those of St Andrew, Aikton, St Mary, Kirkandrews-on-Eden with Beaumont, and St Peter, Kirkbampton. The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building. It is a fortified church standing on the line of Hadrian's Wall, and is unique in having had two fortified towers (one of which has been converted into a vestry).

In the east wall of the chancel to the left of the altar is a carved Roman corbel stone.

A pagan symbol in a Christian Church 😉

Our final lunch pub stop. Some good soup and sandwiches would see us the rest of the way to the trails end

The final stretch down Solway Marshes (high risk flood area)

So with one mile to go in Port Carlisle a gentleman jump out of nowhere and offered to put up the sign for us ? Apparently he took it down earlier due to wind.

After is was secured the photo op was ready. Well worth the few coins for this memory

Oyster catcher

We finally made it! The end of Hadrian’s Wall walk

the seventh and final stamping station

Complete Hadrian’s Wall Passport

Wall’s End