Tuesday, 23 July 2013

A visit to Hadrian's Wall

I just love visiting Hadrian's Wall.  I've lost count of how many times I've been there now, but I never tire of the place.  Quite apart from the fact that it's teeming with Roman history and archaeology, it just feels so wild and wonderful.





My last visit was back in April (2013) when, for once, the weather was very kind to us.  Well, let's say it was kinder than usual in that we were up there for two days and the first day was fairly sunny.  It only rained a bit on the second day (just for the duration of our four hour walk).  Even when it rains though, it's still a truly magical place and there's something strangely satisfying about walking into the wind with your hood up and your head down.  It makes the tea room at the end all the more welcome.

On each of the two days this visit we (that is myself and my husband) walked circular routes of around 8 miles each, setting off on each walk from the visitor centre at the intriguingly named Once Brewed.  From there it's just a few hundred yards to get onto a very intact section of wall and then you can strike off in either direction, east or west.

Day one (Saturday 20th April) we headed east towards the fort of Vercovicium, better known today as Housesteads.  Walking the wall is a bit of a rollercoaster trek - great exercise and absolutely stunning scenery.


As well as the gloriously wild views there's something of interest at every point on this particular stretch of the wall.  Like Sycamore Gap, made famous by its appearance in the Kevin Costner movie, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.  Incidentally, for anyone who doesn't already know this, Hadrian's Wall is approximately 385 miles from the White Cliffs of Dover so the next time you watch the film bear this in mind....the journey on foot from one place to the other would take a lot longer than the few hours it seemed to take in the film!  Also, it would mean Robin had overshot his destination of Nottingham by approximately 195 miles.  Just saying.  I'm sure most people knew that anyway.

 
 

Back to my last visit....  The weather was great for photography on day one.  Not so on day two, when we walked from Once Brewed in the opposite direction.  All of the images I'm showing here were taken on day one.  The camera didn't leave its bag on day two.

Both our walks were taken from the excellent North of the Tyne website (Hadrian's Wall walks 1 and 2).

Finally for this post, I must make mention of the hotel we used on our last visit.  I enjoy reviewing hotels on Trip Advisor, especially when I get the opportunity to wax lyrical about how good (or occasionally bad) a place has been.  The Centre of Britain Hotel in Haltwhistle is, without a doubt, one of the best hotels I have ever visited.  Every room is a suite, but the prices are only a little above that of a guest house.  All this and it's only a five minute drive to The Wall.  The little town of Haltwhistle lays claim to being at the exact geographical centre of the British Isles (hence the hotel name) and to prove it the hotel provide free post cards with a map!  There's not much to do in Haltwhistle beyond having a coffee and visiting Sainsbury's supermarket, so staying in a hotel with its own sitting room is a real bonus. 

I'm sure I've rambled enough for this post.  I'm always happy to answer questions if anyone would like any recommendations for this area.  Feel free to contact me.


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