Walking the Hadrian’s Wall Path

Hadrian’s wall is a feat of engineering like no other. It is world UNESCO site and features some of the most beautiful landscapes in the North of England. The path starts in Bowness-in-Solway and finishes in Wallsend in Newcastle covering 85 miles. The path itself follows the original Roman wall and covers beautiful hills, farmland, riverside trails, and plenty of the beautiful and staggering wall itself.

For my hike I opted to start in Carlisle and finish at Newcastle train station as it made sense logistically, however meant I only covered 66 miles of the 85. The sections I missed were mainly road walking and a bit of river walking but made no real difference to the overall trail and in my opinion, are worth missing out.

I completed the walk in November 2021 in a total time of 46 hours and 30 minutes.

Day 1

I started the trail in beautiful sunshine, taking a steady walk out of Carlisle and down the river following the signposted pathway. The scenery was beautiful from the onset but was a little tough on the feet fairly fast as it was just road walking. After about 5-10 miles the trail led into some farmland and it was plain to see by how straight the path was, it was following the wall at this point and the landscape had scars from its construction. The wall itself wasn’t really visible at this point and most of the stone was presumably stolen for farms and maybe the Priory not far from there.

As the day went on, the Autumn chill was present and with the speed, I was going I soon found myself running short on water. The water situation was quite a problem for the whole trail as the farmland just seemed to contaminate any water sources I could have used.

As I headed through Walton, I had some beautiful views south towards Cross fell and looked forward to heading into some hills and getting to see the wall proper.

Hadrian’s wall really comes into its own around the 30-mile mark and soon joins with the Pennine Way. It was beginning to get a little dark by the time I hit some of the main sections of the wall, but I scored some awesome photos and spoke to cool people along the way. I carried on cruising along into the night and soon found a place to pitch near Walltown Crags about 10m from the wall itself. Once pitched I sorted some food out and had a little wander around taking in the scale of the wall. In the dark, it was easy to see what type of challenges the Roman soldiers must have faced patrolling the wall.

I finally went to sleep around 10pm and slept really well until about 5am.

Day 2

I made myself a drink and headed into the fog, visibility was very poor, and I was left with the damp morning air surrounded by thick fog and my own thoughts. I plodded along keeping a straight path next to the wall and past sheep (at one point I thought a sheep lying down was some type of bear, luckily it wasn’t). I chose a spot for breakfast in one of the old roman towers which seemed like a good shelter from the wind. I quickly made my breakfast, brushed my teeth, and carried on my way. I reached Cawfields lake where I was able to fill my water bottles back up as they were getting desperately low. I spotted someone in the distance at this point ascending the hill towards Thorny Doors and was determined to catch up.

After ascending the hill I managed to catch up to the person I spotted earlier and spent my time chatting to him and we hiked along together. Turns out he was walking The Pennine Way solo which is quite a challenge in November I would imagine. We walked along, barely getting a glimpse of Sycamore Gap due to poor weather and visibility, but the company was great. Eventually, we parted ways and he went North into Kielder, I fantasized about joining him in his journey North but didn’t have the time.

As I headed East the weather began to clear and I saw some daunting-looking hills in the distance and knew I would have to ascend them at some point. I managed to get some good visibility at one of the old Roman Villas and spent a little bit of time exploring the ruins before carrying on my journey, I was still awe-struck at the scale of Hadrian’s Wall.

I was hitting around the 50-mile point of the journey now and nearing Chollerford where I hoped to score a pub meal or something of the like. Unfortunately, I was out of luck but a few miles further down the road in the fading light, I had spotted the Robin Hood Inn on the Hiiker app. I hoped this would be open and thinking of a nice cold pint and some good food spurred me on to crush the 5 miles or so to my destination.

I was in luck and scored an awesome burger, 3 pints of beer and 2 pints of coca-cola which quite honestly bloated me to no end and made me feel quite sick. Luckily, I would burn it off fairly soon.

I headed East and hoped to pitch up near Whittle burn reservoir so carried on with my journey in the cold. It was getting late, and I was walking next to a busy road. I eventually arrived at the reservoir and lucked out as there was a bird watching shelter that I took full advantage of or so I thought…

At around midnight I was woken a loud bang and a 4×4 revving its engine, I had a lookout of the window and spotted a guy breaking the gate to the reserve open and the driver of the 4×4 wheel spinning into the grounds. At this point, I was just thinking why do people behave like that. I hoped I would be sharing the shelter with some bird watchers. Turns out I was wrong!

3 guys got out of the vehicle and began having a loud chat about setting fireworks off whilst the 4th proceeded to fire rockets into the sky. I could hear the wildlife in the area and all of the birds screaming in a fit of panic as their tranquil night had been broken. The next part came fairly quickly with one of them saying they were going to fire loads of fireworks into the shelter so they could have a bonfire. At this point I was quite frankly scared out of my mind but decided to don my head torch and go to the door, luckily this worked as they must not have expected anyone to be there and they left without even a word. This experience was the worst I have ever had whilst out hiking!

Day 3

I didn’t get much sleep but cooked some breakfast about 4 am and set on my way towards Harlow Hill which was only about a mile away. I carried on to Heddon on the Wall and scored some snacks from the garage there as well as a drink which boosted my morale for the last part of the journey.

I descended through a golf course and hiked along the beautiful River Tyne speaking to the dog walkers along the way and reflecting on my journey. The path became boring quite quickly as it was just a path walking near the road for the most part. Eventually, I reached Newcastle and found my way to the train station where I had decided before the walk to end my journey.

I found Hadrian’s wall walk worth doing but I think the middle 30 miles where there are hills are the only worthwhile sections as all the sights happen here and the parts before and after are simply paths across fields and next to roads which really take it out of your feet.

I hope you enjoyed the blog and wish you all the best out there.

Peace out.

Walking The Kintyre Way

The Kintyre way is a 100 mile thru hike starting from Tarbet on the Northern end of the Peninsula and zig zagging through beautiful scenery between the East and Western sides of the peninsula. It does this whilst ever heading in a southerly direction and finishing in Macrihanish in the South-West.

The Kintyre way has a very varied landscape with sections of road walking, huge pine plantations, open moors, and coastal paths. It offers remoteness for large sections of the walk but also has settlements every day or two (depending on distances covered).

I started the Kintyre way on the 17th August 2021 and finished it on my birthday the 20th August 2021. It took me around 3.5 days in total and I hiked from Macrihanish back up to Tarbet as it made more sense logistically for me.

Day 1

My first day started at around 1800 as it took me a while to travel down to my starting point and so I only covered about 3 miles into the open moorland on the South-West side of the peninsula.

Arriving in Macrihanish I was met with some strong wind which one would expect with the Atlantic Ocean directly in front. The next body of land if you look directly out from Macrihanish would most certainly be Greenland which is amazing when you think about it and daunting at the same time.

After a short walk down the beach and along the town’s main road, I headed up into the fog and my visibility became very limited. It’s a steady climb updawards along the road as you pass some of the working farms in the area and head into the untouched moorland of the Kintyre peninsula. There are signs along the way warning hikers not to underestimate these moors and once up there in bad weather I can tell you it is 100% savage up there.

Once you pass Ballygroggan the road finishes and it becomes pure moorland with the Kintyre way markers been very hard to spot in thick fog. The trail at this point appears to see very little use and is overgrown, boggy and the markers are mostly rotting adding to the isolation you feel up there.

After about 3 miles and just past ballygroggan I found a small wall on top of a hill that offered some shelter from the brutal onslaught of wind and rain, it was here that I decided to spend the night.

Day 2

My second day on the Kintyre way started very poorly in all honesty, the wind and rain had increased and it was practically gale force at this point. I managed to pack away my soaking gear and head out along the remains of the track.

My second day on the Kintyre way started very poorly in all honesty, the wind and rain had increased and it was practically gale force at this point. I managed to pack away my soaking gear and head out along the remains of the track.

After about 20m my feet were soaked through (I only really hike in trainers and shorts, so wet feet are part and parcel once its wet) and my legs were cold. Luckily my waterproof jacket is the bomb (Mountain Equipment Lhotse, for those who want a bombproof waterproof). The moorland was truly beautiful though and whilst I was miserable at the time due to the bad weather I look back with fondness and wish I was up there still. The weather really did hammer me throughout the next 4 miles of moorland, and I only covered a few miles in 4 hours. I hit a section where I was quite high up and could hear the Ocean hitting the cliffs that were close by, but I never once got a view of it due to low visibility.

After about 20m my feet were soaked through (I only really hike in trainers and shorts, so wet feet are part and parcel once its wet) and my legs were cold. Luckily my waterproof jacket is the bomb (Mountain Equipment Lhotse, for those who want a bombproof waterproof). The moorland was truly beautiful though and whilst I was miserable at the time due to the bad weather I look back with fondness and wish I was up there still. The weather really did hammer me throughout the next 4 miles of moorland, and I only covered a few miles in 4 hours. I hit a section where I was quite high up and could hear the Ocean hitting the cliffs that were close by, but I never once got a view of it due to low visibility.

Whilst on the moors the trail become barely visible at sections with no signage, and it was easily lost (which happened to me numerous times). I would recommend retracing your steps if you do the trail and lose the trail instead of trying to plough ahead like I did. The undergrowth is treacherous, and I nearly had some nasty accidents whilst making my way through the untouched wilderness.

After Hitting the summit of Amod hill the path becomes easier with the area being used as a working farm so it is easily identifiable, and you begin to head down into farm-land. Once out of the moors the trail follows roads to the coast. Once at the coast its worth a visit to see Kiel cave and St Columbus footprint as well as the ancient well. Its practically on the path.

This area is beautiful and the views out to sea are phenomenal (the weather cleared up once I was off the moors too, typical isn’t it). It’s worth looking back towards the moors that have just been traversed too as they offer some amazing views. Hiking along the road towards Dunaverty and Southend you can spot seals on the rocks chilling in the Sun.

This area is beautiful and the views out to sea are phenomenal (the weather cleared up once I was off the moors too, typical isn’t it). It’s worth looking back towards the moors that have just been traversed too as they offer some amazing views. Hiking along the road towards Dunaverty and Southend you can spot seals on the rocks chilling in the Sun.

Southend is a small village but does have a shop to stock up on some essentials, after this you continue along roads towards kilmashenachan where you head cross country again and can hike next to the sea. This section of the walk was an absolute foot breaker as all the way to Cambelltown is road walking (I hate road walking). Luckily the views are fantastic and looking out to sea is amazing. There are a few steep ascents along the road with one next to a hill apty named ‘the Bastard’ and it really is.

There are a couple of good spots just above the tide line off the road to pitch up for the night, but I felt fresh at this point and planned to power on past Cambelltown. Once I hit Cambelltown I sourced some food and headed back up into the hills chasing my biggest mile day ever.

Unfortunately, I was for the most part more road walking before heading into a large forest plantation around Lussa Loch. It was dark for me at this point, and I had to keep hiking to find a place to pitch. I managed to find somewhere right next to the trail and what a pitch it was. Perfectly flat with a bench and table and a note (that for some reason I didn’t take a picture of) saying ‘Don’t give up’. It was here that I pitched my tent and spent the night.

Also, I had covered a whopping 43 miles that day! Which beats my PB by 5 miles and considering the strain on my body, I felt fine.

Day 3

I woke up nice and early feeling fresh and packed up my gear, headed down the forest road that wound its way through the plantation, I noticed a caravan probably 500m from where I pitched. I assume its used by the loggers as a break room, it was open too! Seriously wish I had slept in there the night before.

I hiked through the forest for quite a few miles and the views of trees, hills and sometimes the coast were amazing. I love the forest and it’s my favourite place to crush miles. Eventually I headed down into Bridgend and found a post office where I could score some food for the next day or so. There’s a cheeky little café too which I waited to open and had a nice sausage sandwich.

The next section was totally amazing as I spent a lot of the day in the forest hiking along the forest trails and from Bridgend, I made my way North-West through them towards the West side of the Peninsula. The forests were so cool, and the miles literally flew by. Before I knew it, I was on the West coast again. The weather was pretty poor, and the wind and rain hammered me all day but because of it been big forests I wasn’t too wet or bothered as I was in my element.

Once at the coast I hiked along the beach for a little while in the rain before I made the decision to skip miles of road walking down the A83. So, I hopped on a bus and jumped back on the trail at Clachan and heading back into the hills. I had a couple of hours rest near Loch Ciaran and then continued on through some more forest and moorland where I could make out the Isle of Arran if the clouds broke enough. This was largely good hiking trail with some forest tracks and moorland walking.

Eventually I came back to the East coast of Kintyre and decided to crack on to Skipness and find a spot along the beach. After hiking down the beach road for a while I was beginning to think there wouldn’t be any good spots as campervans were literally everywhere. Luckily, I happened upon a spot and chilled out watching the sun go down. It was an amazing night there and I could see across to Arran whilst listening to the waves lap the shore.

Day 4

It was an amazing day this day, not only had I crushed the miles and was 11 miles of finishing. It was also my birthday so double points. I packed my gear and scored some water from a river before heading back up into the moors towards the finish line of Tarbet.

The weather was kind to me, and it was nice and warm with sunshine throughout. The moors were beautiful with the purple heather everywhere before they turned into a huge plantation for most of the remaining trail. It was amazing and the trail was laid out well too, so I could just relax, slay miles and enjoy the scenery.

Once I started the descent to Tarbet I was treated with amazing views across to Portavadie (where I had come from after finishing the Loch Lomond and Cowal Way) and could see for miles.

Before hitting the finish line, I made sure to have a look around Tarbet castle as recommended by a guy called Chris (he is walking the entire coastline his Instagram is @christhecoastwalker and he has a website by the same name, so check him out) I met about 10 minutes before. It is well worth having a look around and offers some amazing views.

Once I hit Tarbet I knew I had finished so the emotions came thick and fast, with the regret that I had completed too fast and that I wished I was still out on the trail.

I hope you enjoyed the read and its inspired you to hit the Kintyre way. Peace out