Last week I went on one of the hardest walks that I have done, a backpacking trip along the length of Hadrian’s wall path which follows the path of Hadrian’s Wall. We took 4 days to walk the 84 miles which meant that the shortest day distance wise was 18 miles and the longest 25 and time wise the shortest time was 11 hours and the last day took us 15 hours of walking to finish. The total time from starting at 08:30 on Wednesday morning and finishing at 00:03 on Sunday morning was 87.55 hours which personally I don’t think is bad for a trip where all of your kit for 4 days is being carried!
We walked the wall from east to west which meant that we started in Newcastle on the first day for our longest day where we walked 25 miles. As we started in Newcastle the first 11 miles or so were on tarmac through the city centre to the outskirts before we left the tarmac and joined the much easier to walk on tracks in the hills alongside the road.
On the second day we walked 18 miles and saw our first section of the wall which was great after 30 miles! The end of the day provided us with the best preserved section of wall along Sewingshields Crags, past Housesteads Fort and along to the end of Peel Crags. This section was just stunning with the shear drops to the side with the amazingly preserved wall and fort mixed with the beautifully setting sun which we were walking into.
The third day was a 20 mile day in the hardest terrain that we had to walk along and was a very challenging day with two days of walking already done and our feet were really suffering by this point though the hardest terrain brought some amazing scenery and some more good sections of wall, and as we were walking down towards the flatlands towards Carlisle where we were camping we were greeted with fantastic view of the northern lake district. Over the first three days we had very good weather with only a few spots of rain over the whole 3 days and plenty of sun, but this ended on the last day where we spent the whole day walking in rain but by this point everything was so sore that it made little difference as we just wanted to cover the miles and finish.
The last day was a very long day with 15 hours of walking and covering 21 miles though when we finished at midnight it was such an amazing feeling knowing that we had just successfully covered the whole 84 miles in 4 days and we finished by having a take away pizza in the camping barn that we were treated ourselves to that night as it was midnight and raining so didn’t fancy pitching tents etc!
After having completed this I am glad that I did it but I have decided that I much prefer day walks in the mountains rather than long distance backpacking trips over much flatter terrain mainly due to pain caused by this trip in my feet and not by blisters, just by bruising due to the long distances we were covering. It was so bad that a lot of the time I was not even thinking about photography and just keeping walking so there are some bits of the trip that have very few or even no photos, to the extent that on the last day I only took one photo!