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.

The Dales High Way

With an Alternate End

The Dales High Way is an 89-mile thru-hike running from Saltaire near Leeds and heading North up to Appleby-in-Westmorland covering over 12,200 feet of ascent. The trail covers beautiful moorland that has beautiful stone age rock art, leading into the Yorkshire Dales proper and covering the beautiful limestone landscape around Malham. The trail then heads up the awe-inspiring Ingleborough mountain before dropping down and heading across a beautiful ridge along the back of Whernside before descending into a beautiful valley and back up again into the Howgill Fells. The trail then heads across farm and moorland towards Appleby via the Eden valley.

I chose an alternate route where the trail meets the Coast to Coast near Newbiggin on Lune and headed East through the Eden valley and into Kirkby Stephen.

Day 1

I started my journey in Saltaire with the sun shining for about 3 minutes. The skies decided to open before I left the beautiful canal path, so I spent much of the day wrapped up in my gore-tex to keep dry. The trail really came into its own within a couple of miles and I ascended into the Ilkley moors where there is beautiful stone age artwork dotted about. The trail drops down from the moors and skirts Ilkley following a beautiful ridgeline that gives stunning views across valleys.

The next section drops down towards Addingham before ascending into some fantastically remote moorlands and heading down into Skipton where I scored a little bit of warm food and a drink. The rain was still lashing it down at this point and I decided to change my socks, rub some Vaseline in and head out back into the moors. I ascended Sharp Haw and skirted the edge of Rough Haw before heading back down into the more populated area of Hetton (I say populated, it’s just a few houses). The next section took me past Winterburn reservoir which I noticed had a very low water level before starting the long walk up to Weets Top (414m). Once I had finished my ascent, I headed back down into the beautiful limestone valleys that surround Malham and Gordale. I decided to spend the night at the campsite at the foot of Gordale scar, which was so beautiful when I woke up.

Day 2

I woke up aching quite badly and noticed a few niggles in my right foot, which I hoped would ease up once I got going. I took a little wander down to Gordale scar and snapped a few shots, before packing up my gear having a quick wash in the river, and heading up to the top of the mighty Malham Cove. A bit of trivia for Gordale and Malham here: They were formed during the last glacial period when the ice sheets were melting. This happened as small rivers created channels through the limestone that lead into huge bodies of water cutting their way through the rocks until finally what was left was the likes of Gordale scar and Malham cove.

I sat atop the cove and had some breakfast whilst looking out into the beautiful day ahead. A truly magical place that should be on the bucket list to visit.

I cracked on and followed the trail across the beautifully scarred limestone hills and noticed my first glimpse of Ingleborough looming in the distance and still a good 20 miles away. I remember thinking to myself I’ll be hitting that at some point in the early evening when I’m tired out.

Next was the descent into Settle where I met a lovely lady who shared a cup of tea with me and chatted about hiking and our mutual obsession with hoarding gear.

I soon left Settle and found myself following the River Ribble before ascending the hills once more and heading over to Feizor where I scored some water, a couple of drinks, and a few snacks.

I then began the slow ascent of Ingleborough which I noted as being about 11 miles from this point and was a never-ending upwards slog. I had beautiful views of the mountain and spent a few minutes chatting to people on the Yorkshire 3 peaks as I was going up.

Once at the top I admired the views for miles around and thought about pitching at the top. Alas, it was a little too busy, so I dropped down towards Chapel Le Dale and spent the night at the campsite near the foot of Whernside. Even managed a hot shower!

Day 3

I had crushed around 50 miles by this point and the constant up and down of the dales had taken its toll on my right foot. I set off nice and early and scored some beautiful photos of Ribblehead viaduct, which is another must-see especially in the early morning due and mist. It was so beautiful.

I then headed up over the Back of Whernside and skirted a ridge for a few miles before dropping down towards Dent, the hills never rest in the Dales though and I soon found myself heading back up into the beautiful Moorland over Sedbergh.

I dropped down into Sedbergh where I decided my foot was in a bad way and I needed to rest it for a week or two before pushing on. I managed a lift home at this point and promised to head back out and complete it as soon as I was able.

End of Part 1!


It turns out I had done a little bit of damage to my ligaments at the section of my foot where it meets your shin and controls flexibility. I soon found that part of my foot really inflamed and bruised. It took a couple of weeks before I could fully walk on it again and a friend gave me some advice on exercises to strengthen the area.

Part 2 – Day 4

I traveled back out to Ribblehead via car and left it at the viaduct before retracing my steps towards Sedbergh, it was around half 6 I set off and soon found myself exhausted by around 11 pm when I managed to get back to Sedbergh. I had covered around 15 miles by this point in such a short time.

I began my ascent of the Howgill fells in total darkness and soon found myself exhausted as they are a tough old climb up. I decided to pitch upon a relatively flat spot about 500m up and spent the night there.

Day 5

I woke up to some amazing views across the fells and could feel how remote they were, I packed up and headed North following the beautiful hills. I summited the Calf early in the morning and spent some time admiring the beauty of the landscape before carrying on towards Hazelgill Knot and West Fell.

I dropped down towards Newbiggin on Lune where I had some lunch and made the choice to switch up the route and follow the Coast-to-Coast route instead of heading to Appleby-in-Westomorland.

I followed the C2C route East and through the beautiful Eden valley area summiting a few hills along the way. Eventually, I arrived at my alternate finishing point of Kirkby Stephen where I scored some food and made my journey to the train station where the skies opened once more.

I hope you enjoyed the read and hope it has inspired people to do this amazing trail that has quickly become one of my favorites to date.

Peace out!