Written March 27, 2023, at Carlisle, England.

Today was a day of good fortune. It was the first dry and sunny day we have had since arriving in England.

My transport to the coastal village of Bowen on Solway, at the west end of the Hadrian’s Wall site, was ably executed by driver Eddie on behalf of Carlisle Taxi and Hire.

The shelter marks the starting point of the west to east trek along Hadrian’s Wall.

And… The tide was out!

I learned from Eddie that at high tide the roadways I would be walking on are often covered with 2 or more feet of water. Hikers are then forced to pause the journey for the 1-2 hours it takes for the tide waters to recede.

Had I stayed strictly on the route the distance today would have been 15 miles. I did a bit of wandering which added at least another mile. In any case, I totaled nearly 45,000 steps and my feet feel every one of them.

I have walked farther in a day, but there have usually been some break-in days. Today was a “cold start“, both literally and figuratively. It was the longest one day distance on this trek across England, and the temperature at start hovered at freezing.

Hadrian’s Wall can be hiked year-round, however this is discouraged because of the mud and rain sodden condition of the trail in late winter. The “unofficial“ start is recognized as being after the spring change of the clocks. By that measure I was hiking on “opening day“.

Most of the day I had the trail to myself. Until I neared the city of Carlyle I had seen fewer than six walkers, only three of which were actually “hiking the wall“.

This included a delightful couple of my generation who were enjoying a shorter segment today before returning home tomorrow.

About two-thirds of today’s walk was on paved roads and seldom used farm lanes. Neither of those were optimal. The pavement was hard and jarring. The farm lanes were a mess of muck and puddles.

The other third of the journey was across pastureland. These occasionally became grassy swamps that sucked at the soles of my boots.

The public paths cross private land. These wooden turnstiles allow hikers to cross from one field to the next without risking the escape of livestock

Nevertheless, it was a surreal experience. Me, solo, striding west to east across England, along the site of fortifications populated by thousands of Roman soldiers nearly 2000 years ago. Wow!

But where was the wall? The answer: preserved in the local houses, churches, and roads.

Saint Michael’s Church dates to the 12th century. It was built upon one of the Roman fortresses. This fortress was garrisoned by African troops, believed to be the first Africans in Britain.

For nearly 2,000 years Hadrian’s Wall was a convenient “stone quarry” that was 16 feet high, 8 feet wide and miles long. Understandably, the locals couldn’t resist using the readily available construction materials.

I was on the trail at 8:30 AM and made it back to Christine in Carlisle at 3:30 PM. There were some brief stops for water and to enjoy the leftover pizza that I packed in a Ziplock bag from the night before.

Here are more images from the day, some of which include captions. I am also presenting photographs of some of the sign boards on the hike for those yearning for greater detail.

We are staying in Carlisle tomorrow. The second day on the trail will be this coming Wednesday. Unfortunately, the weather is predicted to resume the overcast and showers that marked our first days in England.

Peace Everyone. Pete

An inviting pub along the route. It was not open as I passed by.
This statue of King Edward I is erected near where he died in 1307 during his campaign against Scotland’s Robert the Bruce.
Carlisle and its Roman predecessor were built along the shores of the river Eden. This river was incorporated by the Romans into their planing for Hadrian’s Wall as a natural defense barrier.
An abandoned railway bridge crossing the river Eden.

16 thoughts on “Hiking Along Hadrian’s Wall, Day One

  1. Great photos, but I think you are on an adventure that I am pleased I am not walking with you. It feels like I am getting the benefit without the slog. 😉

  2. Hal Gilchrist says:

    Wonderful!!! Don’t pick off any rocks from the wall!!!😜. Robert the Bruce’s sister was married to one my ancestors!

  3. Thanks for the pictures, Pete. Good going. Boy, it looks like a very different type of walk from your previous treks. Those farm lanes look brutal, I expect it was hard to get a rhythm going.

  4. Ah – the boot sucking mud!! Reminiscent of spots on the dear Camino. Your walk today looks beautiful! We all know though – 15 miles is quite a bit on the first day. I hope you can massage those tootsies.

  5. If the locals appreciated the quarry of the wall, I can imagine the toil to put it there originally! 15 miles is a pretty fair hike! We’re fighting some of that boot sucking mud up here too as the drifts melt!

  6. Hallo Pete, mein Gott, bleib ja nicht im Schlamm stecken! Aber trotz der abenteuerlichen Strecke ist es eine wunderschöne Landschaft. Hoffentlich hast du für Mittwoch deine Regenhose eingepackt. Viele Grüße nach England, Tina

  7. Thanks for the photos and update on your latest adventure Pete. Wishing you more sunny days and happy feet. We’ll be following along 😊

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