Sunday, 23 September 2018

Hadrian's Wall Path

Wallsend → Heddon-on-the-Wall

sentius-tectonicus.jpg Distance: 16.50 miles
Ascent: 255 metres
Duration: 5 hours 18 minutes

Walls end
« Not walked | Not walked »

As hinted at ten days ago, it's time to start walking the last National Trail: the Wall. Today though, there's not been much Wall to see.

tyne-bridges.jpgHadrian's Wall extended from Wallsend on the Tyne to Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbria, but since its construction in the second century different parts have endured different fates. Here at the eastern end there's little evidence left on the ground. While the outline of a Roman fort can be made out at Wallsend, there's nothing to be seen of the Wall that passed through what is now modern Newcastle. The Path then takes to the riverbank, following the Tyne through the town (and under its famous bridges; we stopped to enjoy roast pork stotties from a stall in the busy market).

montagu-view-memorial.jpgOn the edge of the town a touching monument commemorates the Montagu View pit disaster of 1925. Thirty eight men and boys were killed by a surge of flood water and methane, caused by a routine blast penetrating into the abandoned workings of the adjacent Paradise Pit. The men who laid the blasting charges were covering for others who had overslept on the day; the pit plans - which would have shown the surrounding workings - weren't available. This avoidable accident took the lives of 22 people from the small village of Scotswood, a devastating loss.

heddons-wall.jpgHadrian's Wall Path crosses the A1 and finally heads north and uphill to the village of Heddon-on-the-Wall where at last the remains of the actual wall are visible (though not directly on the route of the Path). The wall's an impressive structure. We've seen it before on our Pennine Way traverse, but found it hard to imagine the extent of the structure. Walking its entire length this week, even though evidence of the physical wall will be missing in many places, will enable us to appreciate first hand the sheer enormity of this coast-to-coast construction.

Notes for future walkers:

  • At Segedunum, take a moment to walk to the north west corner of the fort where a reconstruction of the wall shows its estimated height.
  • The actual starting point of the National Trail isn't entirely clear, but seems to be the sculpture of a Roman soldier in the Segedunum car park.
  • The Path has been rerouted away from the river bank at NZ 151 652, running north until it joins the Waggonway running west.
  • The existing stretch of wall in Heddon-on-the-Wall is on the south side of the B6528 just east of the village.

Posted by pab at 20:06 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!