Monday, June 10, 2013

Heddon-on-the-Wall - Wall

Distance: 23,5km.

England is offering cloudy weather in the morning on the second day of our walk along the wall of Hadrian. As usual it's also offered full English breakfast. We eat the breakfast inside the winter garden of the guesthouse we're staying at, through the windows we can look down towards the valley below.

Heddon-on-the-Wall, the first remains of the wall you get to see after leaving Wallsend.

In Wallsend, we started the walk by the remains of a Roman fort; it is then fitting to continue the walk by the first parts of Hadrian's Wall you get to see after Wallsend. The wall is then left quiet alone while the horses on the nearby farm watch us vigilantly when we leave Heddon-on-the-Wall. We're now walking alongside the wall, but where the wall was going there is now a road. Which is something of a recurring theme throughout this stage.

At Vindobala, nothing much to see of the old Roman fort.

Even so, it is rural surroundings we're walking in, a green countryside around us. Though we're getting reminders of that the city isn't far away by the low-flying airplane. The trail goes mostly on tracks and not on the tarmac. There are no remaining visible parts left at Vindobala, another Roman fort, they are well hidden beneath the grass. So little does the place give away that it has been a Roman outpost here that you would've gone unnoticed by it if it weren't for a sign marking the location. Things change with the time, which is also apparent by Harlow Hill. Here the church has been converted into a barn; a closer look at the backside of the church reveals a big barn door carved out of the nave.

Grey weather over green meadows.

Alessandra smiling behind one of the countless gates and stiles we had to go through on the walk.

After having climbed over yet another stile (we got lost counting all the gates and stiles we had to go through during the day) a view opens to reveal Whittle Dene reservoir. Down towards the water a meadow of yellow unfolds. Out on the reservoir a heron stand guarding towards the North instead of the Romans. Some swans are swimming around in the water. A little bird observatory has been put up by the lake, I note the following observations in the observatory book: 1 heron, 2 swans, 1 Alessandra, 1 Tarjei.

Whittle Dene reservoir.

I've already talked about the yellow arrows, but somebody have also came up with the idea of making a Hadrian's Wall Passport, yet another thing that makes me think about the Camino. The first stamp was of course at Segedunum (you got to stamp seven times to earn the certificate of achievement). The second one are we however coming to now, the Robin Hood Inn. I don't think the wall was built to keep Robin Hood out. We meet the two boys that were camping outside The Swan. But there is a little bit embarrassing that it takes a while before we finds out that they actually are from Norway, and it is my Italian friend that is finding it out. I put myself in the gauntlet outside the inn as a punishment (and a beer).

The path continues its walk alongside the wall in rural scenery, but never far from a road. The green and undulating meadows make for a hobbit-landscape. At Down Hill there are some large stones that are ideal for a break, with a great overview over the countryside. The clouds have been on the run for a while now and sun and blue sky are accompanying us from above.

In the gauntlet outside Robin Hood Inn.

Halton Castle lies a short walk from the route. We're drowned by a choir of sheep on the way down to see what can be seen of the castle. This is also the path down towards Corbridge and the Roman fort located there. But it's a long addition to today's walk so we only go as far as Halton Castle and what little we can see of it.

Newer walls are lying over where Hadrian's Wall was going, the trail follows the road over lush meadows.

Wandering alongside the ditch of the Hadrian's Wall.

After turret 24a the landscape is opening up to a nice vista, here is the ditch quite visible alongside the road. By Planetrees we catch up again with the two Norwegian boys, Kristian and Truls. We can also again see a visible part of the wall. A mansion is looking down towards us.

The visible remains of the wall at Planetrees.

We arrive at Wall, a quite modest English village, no trace of any wall here despite the name. We have reserved a room at The Hadrian Hotel - Inn. This is something I've been looking forward to, to spend the night at an English inn. So, mince and leek for dinner, supplemented by an English ale. A nice evening at the inn ended the second day on the journey through nice and rural surroundings, but never far from a road (or a wall).

From The Hadrian Hotel - Inn.

<- Heddon-on-the-WallOnce Brewed ->


  1. Thanks for your detail descriptions on the Hadrian's Wall route - it is helping me plan a 'highlights' holiday and your pictures are helping me select locations.

    1. Hi Kitty, thanks for your comment. That you find my blog useful and is helping you out is good to hear. Happy trails.