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Sunday, 21 August 2016

Footsteps in Sound Volume 2 (Stage 5 & 6)

Hadrian's Wall Path: Stage 5&6
To Walton-Carlisle-Bowness on Solway
August 2016
 A Confession. 

First things first. I honestly thought I could walk from Walton to Bowness. I told an Italian couple who looked at me like I was mad. I then learned that Walton to Bowness is a little over 26 MILES! So I gave up in Carlisle and decided to finish the walk tomorrow (more of that later). What a kn*b. 

Anyway, back to today's 'events'. 

Carlisle Castle
I started at Walton and quickly fell in step with a lovely Dutch couple who were walking the Wall. These guys were armed to the teeth with GPS units, maps and guidebooks. I, however, had nothing. The route is so easy to follow that I'd long since given up on my OS maps. However, about an hour in to our walk a Labrador came bursting out of the woods, barking aggresively. We nervously kept walking but missed our turning in all the excitement. Thankfully, the GPS was fired up and we managed to find the path without having to backtrack. 

There are worse places to get lost!
There are always occasions on long distance walks when you need a little help from strangers. Well, today was the day karma smiled on me.  

Having said goodbye to the Dutch couple, I was making my way along the banks of the River Eden when a couple out walking their dog told me I was going the wrong way (you gain nothing from being suspicious in situations like this). Apparently, a sign had been damaged or lost in the christmas floods. I was soon back on the path and within an hour I was in Carlisle. I decided that walking a further 16 miles today was all types of crazy. So I found a stunning book shop, ordered a coffee and started typing. 

Hadrian's Wall Stage: Day 6

6 Hours: 16 miles to go! The Sun is shining, the sky is blue and my feet aren't aching. Let's hike!

Civic art near Carlisle Castle
5 Hours 24 minutes: The path is closed due to severe flood damage near the start of today's stage. Damn. I'm going to have to retrace my steps and find another crossing over the River Eden.  That's an hour lost for sure.  

5 Hours 10 Minutes: I've just walked past the Joiners Pub in Carlisle. A plaque, about 5 feet above the pavement, marks the high water mark of Hurricane Desmond. Jesus, that's scary. 

4 Hours 55 Minutes: Back on the path-get in!

4 Hours: Lunch. I was't expecting much from today's walk, but it's been a beauty so far. The path follows the River Eden through Oak studded fields, riverside woods and idyllic villages. This really is a stunning part of the country. There's still the odd diversion in place 8 months after Hurricane Desmond, but who cares about the extra miles when the walking is this good.
The end was in sight

1 Hour 22 Minutes: Thank God, the pub is open! I've just arrived at the Highland Laddie Inn at Glasson and it's absolutely cracking the flags. It's been a bit of a slog from Beaumont along the (seemingly endless) road to Burgh by Sands and Drumburgh but the views over the Solway have more than made up for it. My legs are knackered but I'm having an amazing day. I'm just refuelling on coffee and Diet Coke and then I'm off to Bowness-on-Solway. 

Finished:  I say goodbye to the friends I've made over a beer in the local pub. Like I said earlier, this walk is amazing because each day the environment changes; Newcastle to the suburbs, farm land to the moors, idyllic countryside to the Solway. The Wall goes from being an intermittent presence to a constant companion before fading away until only a ghost remains. I have loved walking Hadrian's Wall. 

Thank you to my support team: Kathy, Neve, Naomi and the 4-4. You guys ROCK!

See you on the path


  1. Cracking read dude and love the soundtrack, looking forward to the next walk ;0)

  2. Cheers, Pete, thanks for reading!