Hadrian’s Wall Walk: Homewards and Conclusions

Sam had to get up prompt-ish at 7.30 as he was to go with Dave, Gary and Ian to collect the cars from the hotel in Newcastle. The original idea was for us all to go back there, but Sam said there was no point hauling our stuff all the way over there. So after a sleepy breakfast, I washed, packed my bag up, and went back to bed to watch the Saturday morning food programs.

They all made good time though, and at midday with Drew, Gary, Ant, Dave, Jane, Iain we said our goodbyes and went off on our separate ways home. Sam and I popped into town to get some lunch first before heading off for the very long drive back to Hemel Hempstead down the M6.

I’d forgotten that part of the M6 goes through the Lake District and is beautiful to watch even from inside a car. We passed places where I knew friends would be: Kendel, Preston, and thought of visiting people but honestly we were just to weary and had the prospect of a load of washing as well as a bunch of unpacking! I did get to drive part of the way which almost never happens on long journeys, but then Sam was that sleepy and had done the round trip between Carlisle and Newcastle too!

Once home, there was takeaway and lounging and the sad realisation that our duvet and pillows had gotten damp 🙁 We made do with sofa cushions and blankets and decided to buy new bedding the next day as we needed it anyway and now we had a set we didn’t mind dragging out camping when we did it again!

It didn’t take long for me to start missing people. I’d been kindly provided with a voice recording of Ewes phrases and there were photos/videos to see but it wasn’t quite the same. Now that the aches have gone and my feet are back to normal, I am thinking about the next one and how I would probably do it all over again, but differently next time (see below).

This last week we each received a lovely cloth badge from The Crimson Moon and a lovely thank you card from Gary. The only thanks I really needed was the wonderful time I had on the walk.

So I started writing these entries to try and capture some of the things I remembered before they completely leaked out of my brain but also to share some wisdom or lessons learned with anyone who might want to do National Trail’s Hadrian’s Wall walk:

  • Stop at Harrow On The Wall on day 1: 20 miles on the first day was just too much! The misunderstanding here I think was from guidebooks and map measurements but it was an innocent mistake.
  • The length between Chollerford and Wall Town quarry needs to be done over two days really because of the ascending and descending nature of it.
  • Gators: they don’t cost a lot and really are essential when walking across fields in a part of the country known for it’s rain!
  • Decent cameras may be heavy, but the views are worth it.

And the general stuff I came to realise:

  • Snacks are essential and don’t forget to buy any and if you do be grateful to the people who brought plenty and shared 🙂
  • Even if I didn’t need the volume of the bigger rucksack, the better support around the middle would have been helpful.
  • I actually enjoy this walking/outdoors malarkey. I hate being wet, but the right equipment, next time, will help with that.
  • Don’t forget to tip the Tiky Taxi driver.

Am now wondering what to do for my next challenge. An adapted version of the three peaks, where the driving/sleeping between them isn’t counted in the time frame? But this will have to wait till 2014. I have a wedding to plan!