Hadrian’s Wall Day 6 – Newburn to Wallsend, the Final Stretch

Map of today’s walk

As I began the last leg of my journey into Newcastle-upon-Tyne, I initially found that it wasn’t as industrial as some reviews had suggested. Yes, there were buildings and roads—it is a city after all. But the route, shared with the Route 72 cycle road, often meandered through surprisingly green spaces (see photos), making it much greener than the Thames-side walk from the Thames barrier, which I had completed about 18 months ago.

The closer I got to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the more it felt like a festival of bridges! Along the way, I found numerous information boards about William Armstrong, the man who built Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s Swing Bridge and the hydraulic mechanism that operates London’s Tower Bridge. He seems to be to Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Northumberland what Brunel is to Swindon. His presence in the city’s history added a welcome touch of industrial history to my journey.

I dropped my bag at the hotel, keeping only my essentials and packed lunch. Regrettably, I forgot to top up my suncream. I took a break by the Tyne, enjoying my lunch before continuing my leisurely stroll past the Millennium Bridge. People were scattered about, relaxing in the urban gardens.

After passing the Bike Hut, the surroundings briefly became very industrial, reminiscent of the wharves in London. However, the path once again fell back into tranquillity at St Peter’s Marina, meandering along a wooded area by the Tyne. But, even though it was more pleasant by the woods and I was without my bag, it felt like the last three miles had stretched into five.
The area around St. Anthony has signs warning against going near the river due to contamination from a former tar works site. The final stretch, unfortunately, was marred by the sight of rubbish, presumably from fly-tipping, which was a letdown.

Just before 2pm, I arrived at Segedunum, my final destination. Here, I treated myself to a t-shirt and a badge. Since I had left my Hadrian’s Wall stamp passport at the hotel, the staff kindly provided me with a stamped piece of paper.

I did it! In total, I covered 155 km or 96 miles – somehow quite a bit more than the official trail distance of 84 miles.

From Segedunum, I journeyed via Metro to Tynemouth, a lovely seaside town bustling with life on this sunny Thursday afternoon. I enjoyed walking around, exploring two different beaches, the castle, and indulging in a well-deserved ice cream. I even dipped my toes in the North Sea, a perfect end to my Hadrian’s Wall walk.

Returning to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, I treated myself to some new shorts and socks for my journey home. When I checked-in at the hotel, the hotel staff generously offered a bottle of prosecco, which I declined, fearing it would go to waste. Refreshed, I ventured out for an evening meal in beautiful Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

As this walk is completely and this particular blog series draws to a close, I am already contemplating whether to plan another through-hike in August or something entirely different. Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with Billy Joel’s wise words:

“Slow down you crazy child. Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while. It’s alright, you can afford to lose a day or two.”

Here’s to seeing the sights and cherishing the journey. Big love! 💚

Hadrian’s Wall Day 5 – Chollerford to Newburn (am I stupid or just crazy?)

This is today’s walk. I won’t reiterate it enough. If I had to plan this again, i would make quite different choices in my stops and distances covered per day.

After decided to rest more today, last night, I awoke too early at 6 a.m. in discomfort, but comforted by the thought that this would be my last night in a tent for this trip. Everything in the tent felt damp with the morning dew.
To my surprise, I found that a number of ants had found my tent quite comfortable and had joined me under the tarp. Thankfully, they didn’t invade the bedroom portion of the tent.

I spent my early morning hours browsing through Facebook messages and comments about my walk. The wave of kind words and encouragement was heartening, even though I found it hard (myself) to match the optimism reflected in these messages. Still, I was determined to give it my best shot, today.

After washing my hair (a small luxury given how dry it had been), breaking camp for the last time this week, drying my tent and packing my backpack, I arrived at the Riverside café as it opened at 9 a.m. I had a filling breakfast of eggs on toast and a decaf black americano. Perfect.

I set off at 9:30 a.m., beginning with an uphill hike that led me past Planetrees, where a section of the Wall is well conserved. I continued uphill through the woods and fields, past Oswald’s farm which looked very nice. It was after milecastle 24 that I entered the Stanley plantation, only to find a diversion in the trail. I found myself perplexed by the signage until I spotted the diversion sign. The walk through the woods was lovely; there’s something special about these kinds of trails in the woods that always fills me with joy.

I took a mid-day break at the Errington Coffee House for a cup of tea and a scone. I also used the time to change my socks, top up my water (having consumed about 1.5L in just 3 hours) and reapply my sun cream. I bumped into Heidi, Dan, Paddy, and Marlen, who I’d met yesterday on the trail. Their company, along with conversations with locals, was a pleasant distraction to the miles ahead.

We stopped at the Robin Hood Inn in East Wallhouses, where I had a late lunch.

The remainder of the journey was challenging, with long stretches and a particularly painful patch of chunky pebbles that felt like walking on Lego (I kid you not)! I did enjoy the Whittle Dene Reservoir. It looked so pretty.

Passing Vindobala, I rested briefly. I eventually made it into Heddon-on-the-wall, although I was suffering from sore feet and a bad stomach. I still don’t know why. I felt better after a while. I didn’t think it was dehydration or bad nutrition as I was able to stave off dehydration by consuming salted cashews and rehydrating frequently, and I ate well all day.

As you arrive in Heddon-on-the-wall, do note that the sign telling you’re in Heddon-on-the-wall is quite a while before the actual village.

This is well after the sign. Still no village, yet.

Upon reaching Heddon-on-the-wall, I decided to catch a bus for the final 45-minute stretch, as suggested by Google Maps. But unfortunately, due to a mix-up with bus directions and a particular unhelpful bus driver who insisted that both the signage on the bus stop and direction on Google maps was wrong (and refused to let me on board!). Disappointed and tired, I decided to finish the journey on foot.

Although this part of the journey was tough, the views over the Tyne and the distant sight of Newcastle made the pain more bearable.

At this point, my concern shifted to the dinner serving time at the pub in my lodging, which was stated to end at 20:00, coinciding with my ETA as per Google Maps. With 20 miles already behind me and a 15kg backpack, my body was beginning to protest. Despite nearly limping down Station Road just a few moments earlier, I found a surge of determination and began running (the mysterious powers of food!). The word ‘running’ might be a bit generous for my pace, but it was definitely faster than a walk!

I finally arrived at my lodgings for the night just four minutes before the restaurant stopped serving food. But they had closed the kitchen already. They were kind enough to make a fish and chips dish for me.
It was massive and I struggled to finish it.

After this challenging day, I decided to indulge in a soothing bath for my poor legs.
After nights of camping, the bedroom in the lodge felt like luxury. So spacious. Just the simple fact of having fresh towels rather than the lightweight microfibre type I’ve been using for days.

It’s the final stretch tomorrow – about 10 miles from here to Segedunum Roman Fort & Museum, where the walk officially finishes.
From there, I plan to head to Tynemouth, albeit probably not on foot. The end of this incredible journey is in sight, and I’m more than ready to reach it.

Hadrian’s Wall Day 4 – From Winshields Farm to Housesteads to Chollerford

The day began with a tough climb from the farm onto a trig point – a big ascent to get the heart pumping and legs warmed up for the day. The route from Steel Rigg to Sycamore Gap was a bit of a challenge with the heavy backpack shifting my centre of gravity, but reaching the top and having the sweeping views all to myself was rewarding.

After Sycamore Gap (sorry about the photo overload and silliness! It is after all the UK’s most photographed tree! Thank you Kevin Costner!), the trail took me north of the wall for a while until I reached the woods. I switched sides at a crossroads, rejoining the trail on the right (south) of the wall.

The walk from there to Housesteads was quite enjoyable, especially under the shade of Housesteads Plantations. I took a pause at the museum around 09:30 and utilised the freshly cleaned portable toilet. A sock change and a bit of food at the café fuelled me for the next part of the journey. However, I was disappointed to find nowhere to charge my phone or watch. I had to stop the watch’s tracking (hence two maps today) to ensure the Bluetooth was off and keep trying to charge it on the nearly empty battery pack.

From then on, it was a slow crawl over the crags up to Sewingshields Crags. I bumped into fellow walkers Lee and Lewis again, and we walked and chatted for a bit until it was time for another break in the shade.

The heat really started to take its toll as I made the long walk along the military road. It was a battle against the temperature, stopping at every bit of shade I could find and wetting my snood to cool down. Just after the Temple of Mithras, a kindly gentleman selling drinks in the car park saved me with a cold drink. I was mentally prepared to take a bus to Chollerford from there, but he offered to take my backpack so I could continue on foot.

If you see a van from Corbridge Coffee Company, do check out their drinks. I’m so grateful he was there selling drinks and took pity on me.

On the way to Chollerford, I joined Heidi, Marlene, Paddy, and Dan from Canada, and we completed the day’s walk together. We celebrated our accomplishment with a cold beer at the George Hotel. Although I forgot to get my passport stamped at Chesters Fort, it was the least of my concerns. I didn’t want to stop there, as I was so tired.

Exhaustion took its toll; I barely had the energy to pitch my tent. I was also suffering from a rash on my legs despite wearing trousers all day, and my IBS has flared up (I took buscopan) for the first time in months, and I have a sunburn on my back despite topping up my sun cream three times.

Lying on my backpack, unable to gather energy to pitch my tent.

Despite the discomfort, I made sure to get some food at the George Hotel Bar, understanding the importance of not sleeping on an empty stomach.

The long walk tomorrow is daunting, and I’m not sure I’ll make it to Keelman’s Lodgings. Even if I can get as far as Heddon-on-the-wall, I’ll consider it an accomplishment and then find transport to my lodgings.

Tonight, I plan on getting some rest and re-evaluating the situation in the morning. I might try for a later start, give my body a bit more rest, let my tent dry properly, and get a good breakfast before setting off. Perhaps I could even make it for a pub lunch at the Robin Hood Inn.

Despite the exhaustion and discomfort, the breathtaking views and experience are undoubtedly worth it.

It’s also a good time to remember my ‘why’: walking in aid of The Prospect Hospice and in memory of Judith, one of my hiking inspiration, who covered so many through-hike trails; seeing the sights and taking time in nature; pushing my own boundaries to grow from it, in resilience and strength. I have to remember why I embarked on this journey in the first place and keep that at the forefront of my mind as I prepare for another day on Hadrian’s Wall.

Hadrian’s Wall Path: Day 3 – Coombe Crag Farm to Winshields Farm

Today’s route

Setting off a little later than I’d hoped, around 6:30 am, I began the day after a night of thunderstorms and rain. Despite the dampness in my tent and packing it wet, I found myself surprisingly okay – tired but spirited, ready to ride this wave of positive energy.

My journey took me to Birdoswald Roman Fort. Despite it being too early for it to be open, I still managed to get a stamp on my Hadrian’s Wall passport. I ended up taking the road route to Birdoswald, bypassing the typical trail, by accident. Despite the lack of picturesque views, there were no cars that time and most importantly, saved my boots from further sheep poop encounters. A word of advice to any potential trail-walkers: prepare for soiled boots!

As I tread further into the Roman history, I’ve found the information displayed at each turret and milecastle interesting. Milecastle 49 and then the Roman bridge at Willowford stand out with their dramatic landscapes, stirring up a (weird for me) newfound appreciation for bridges. Could it be the remnants of my Thames Path walk?

On arriving at the Gilsland car park, I was diverted through the town. Despite the promise of the House of Meg opening at 8 am (on a sign in the car park), it remained closed until 10 am. Still, the tables outside served as a handy spot for a backpack rest. A warning to those expecting a hearty meal in Gilsland, I have it from the lady from Coombe Crag Farm campsite that both the pubs have sadly closed down in recent years.

Passing the overgrown grass of Thirlwall Castle (nowhere to sit there), and passing a large group of charity walkers, I tackled a massive hill and descended onto the disused Walltown Quarry. By 10:30 am, I was having a well-earned break, indulging in an egg bap and crisps for lunch.

The remainder of the day was a blend of singing breast-cancer-charity walkers, dramatic quarry rocks, and intense heat. The strong sun and my backpack’s weight kept my pace even slower than usual, but the breathtaking views made it worthwhile. I had to lean on music to help power through the more gruelling stretches of the walk, a change from my usual nature-listening walks.

After a much-needed break in the shade of the woods near Cockmount Hill, and crossing Great Chesters old fort, I ended up at a car park. Despite forgoing the available refreshments, the sight of the quarry’s water was an absolute treat. From there, it was an uphill battle against the heat.

A friend’s suggestion of soaking my snood in water gave me a refreshing reprieve. The challenge continued, though, as I briefly lost and then rejoined the path before finally passing milecastle 41. After a short struggle and some musical motivation from Jackie Wilson which felt quite apt (Higher and higher), I saw the sign for the campsite and doubting the terrain downhill, I made my way there.

I dried my tent for a bit.

With a free fruit juice drink from the campsite owner, a pitched tent, a shower, and a load of rinsed and hung clothes, and charging my power pack, I felt accomplished. I treated myself to a rather expansion meal: a large iced water, steak and chips, and a large Malbec at the Twice Brewed Inn. Despite the steak being overcooked and overpriced, it still hit the spot after the long day.

Tomorrow, I’m headed to Chollerford. Thanks for following along my journey, see you tomorrow!

Hadrian’s Wall Day 2 – Carlisle to Coombe Crag Farm: Onwards

(and up-and-downwards a lot too)

I haven’t got much battery and nowhere to charge up, so I’ll try and write these notes up quickly,today.

Today’s route. Starting to be more challenging, terrain-wise. Tomorrow is meant to be much more challenging!

I left Carlisle early. Starting from the Banks Centre at 06:40am.

I kicked off the day feeling surprisingly good as I walked from Carlisle towards Rickerby Park and crossed the Memorial bridge. I had made some adjustments to my bag’s shoulder straps as I left the B&B, which seemed to have helped. Throughout the day, I made sure to hydrate regularly to fend off dehydration.

Despite a dry forecast, there was a pleasant drizzle, making the journey quite refreshing. I talked to another walker before Low Crosby, it was just nice to talk with a fellow human. There hadn’t been many people on my way to that point.

I took a break at a bus stop near the Stag Inn to attend to my hand burn (from cooking breakfast on Thursday morning) which had cracked in the shower and was looking infected. I will spare you a gross photo of the said hand. I snacked on a pear from my B&B (they gave me so much fruit!) before hitting the road again. The overcast weather was great for making progress in terms of time and distance.

Along the Sandy Lane track after Crosby on Eden, I was surrounded by wildlife, I even saw a rabbit, the pheasants further on. I stopped to put on my fleece layer just before crossing the Bleatarn field/quarry due to the winds peaking. It was here that I had my first nature wee of the walk, the downside of hydrating well, I suppose!

I stopped at the Snack Shed for an unusually early lunch at 10:20 am. Enjoyed a cup of tea and chili con carne (frozen meal), an unusual but welcome choice. Also the first non-vegetarian Neal for me this trip. I chatted with a lovely American couple from Virginia after setting off again. The sun finally peeked out, warming my skin, prompting me to reapply sunscreen.

I treated myself to a delicious raspberry scone with a cuppa tea at the Walton tea room. There I talked with another lovely couple. This time from Bristol. Comparing notes, it seemed we had a very similar set of stops planned.  Then as I left Walton, I witnessed a rather interesting event – Gelt Gladiator, where people were sliding down a hill and running around.
I spotted more walkers, and the sight of the majestic Skiddaw (I think?) from the Lake District in the distance was a welcome surprise.

I crossed one tough hill, between turret 54a and Haytongate, if you do so as well, you will be  rewarded with a refreshments hut. There is also a portaloo just 150yd down the hill. I chose to follow the route via the Lanercost Priory, worth the detour thanks to my English Heritage membership. Interestingly, it seems it was built from stones robbed from Hadrian’s Wall. At the priory’s tea room, I enjoyed a peppermint tea and a lemon drizzle.

As I walked towards the village of Banks with the wall and the vallum on my left, it felt just right. To my right, the beautiful English hills were a reminder of the beauty of the English countryside. This in itself, made me feel better. This is why I was here.

I started to see some interesting turrets and ruins of the Wall.

For about 30 to 40 minutes, I had a really teary itchy eye, from an insect probably.

Then I met one other backpacker who was going to camp at Lanercost. We had a brief chat. I guess my eye settled.
Also shortly after, I met a guy touring the UK with his van going gardening jobs, if you meet him, give him work!

The final stretch of the day was slower but felt less exhausting than yesterday, perhaps as I was started to feel purpose. I checked in at the Coombe Crag campsite, a basic site but I knew that in advance. I had to deal with lots of little flies around my tent – the downside of a dairy farm, I suppose.

I ‘treated’ myself to a pasta pot for dinner, which was an interesting first-time experience.

Tomorrow, I’m straight back on the wall, so it’s time to rest up for a bit. I’m feeling much better than yesterday. Body battered, but the mind is back on track.

Over and out.

Hadrian’s Wall Day 1 – From Bowness-on-Solway to Carlisle: a (Long) Journey Begins

Welcomed by the dawn’s early light, my day started at the charming Wallsend Guest House and Glamping Pods.

The showering and drinks facilities were lovely.

This felt like luxury for a campsite!
Perfect fir my cuppa tea in the morning

Last night, I managed to grab a lovely meal (massive portion size!) at the King’s Arms pub in Bowness on Solway and head to the shore to watch the sun setting over the Solway Firth.

After a breakfast of my homemade flapjacks and a steaming cup of tea, I set off for the pavilion in Bowness-on-Solway, going past the King’s Arms.

The journey began at 8 am. With the sky a lovely blue, and a gentle breeze, I was off to a good start. Despite the long stretches of roadside walking and straight lines, forewarned by our Facebook group, the morning brought its joys. I spent an hour in the company of Lee, Lewis, and their dog Frank, from Swansea, sharing stories and pacing well. I suspect they’re well ahead now, as they are aiming to cover the path in just four days.

I took a much-needed break at Laal Bite, a spot I highly recommend for fellow hikers. The afternoon, however, came with its challenges. An earlier than anticipated arrival at the Greyhound pub in Burgh-by-Sands found it still closed, prompting me to push on without a proper rest. My short rest involved basking in the cool grass and eating a protein bar and some nuts. I made my way to Burgh by Sands’ village hall, where I enjoyed a nice vegetable quiche, courtesy of a suggestion from a lovely dog-walking couple.

As the day wore on, the heat weighed me down, and the way into Carlisle felt longer than expected. Yet, the sight of the picturesque Bitts Park and Sands Centre, where I had my passport stamped, an ice-cold water bottle, and a refreshing ice cream, marked the end of the first leg of the journey.

Arriving at my B&B, I learned breakfast wouldn’t be served until 8. However, they kindly provided yogurt and fruit for my early start. The rest of the evening involved some laundry in the sink(I know – classy! 🙂 ), a visit to the beautiful Carlisle Cathedral, and tending to a bug bite and a small blister.

Inside the cathedral, I crossed paths with Veronica, a friendly face from the trail. We had kept running into each other since the very start at Bowness.

Dinner was a lovely linguine a la verdure at the Italian restaurant Sannas, perfectly matched with a glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc. It was happy hour so very affordable. Back in my room, the slow progress of charging my gadgets and the damp state of my freshly-washed clothes hinted at the real-life nuances of such a journey.

Thoughts about tomorrow’s long 28km trek bring a sense of anxiety. The forecast warns of heat, and perhaps thunderstorms, and I find myself questioning whether I’ll make it to the campsite. I also questioned my choice of taking my hiking boots over the trail running shoes.

Yet, lying here in my bed, despite the aches and pains (my hips are bruised), I find myself excited about what the new day will bring. It’s not just a physical challenge but a mental journey too. I know I can handle this physically; now it’s my mind that needs to take the leap.

As the lively Carlisle nightlife buzzes far away in the background, I’m already on the path that lies ahead, one foot in front of the other, ready for tomorrow’s adventure.

Good night.

Hadrian’s Wall: the Solo Adventure Approaches

Hello everyone!

Today marks exactly one month before my grand journey begins.
On June 9th, I’ll be embarking on a hike across Hadrian’s Wall, and I couldn’t be more excited. This trip will be a fantastic way for me to prepare for the Iceland three-day trek coming up in March 2024 (more on this adventure in a future post!).
Walking Hadrian’s Wall solo, carrying my backpack and tent for six days, will be my most significant physical and mental challenge yet. I’ve done long distances before, but I’ve always had support. This time, I’m going solo.

I’ve made a few changes to my initial plan, and I want to share them with you. First, let me give you an update on my new planned route. I’ve decided to make some minor adjustments to accommodate a few extra stops for snacks, lunch and visits of notable sights during the walking days, which I’ve detailed below. Additionally, I’ve put together a lighterpack page with all my bag details – I’m sooooo close to getting my base weight under 10kg!… so if you’re curious about what I’ll be carrying with me, feel free to check it out here.

New Itinerary

Day 0 (Friday, 09/06/23) – Travel to Bowness-on-Solway: bus, train, tube, and walk; Accommodation: Campsite

  • Day 1 (Saturday, 10/06/23) – Bowness-on-Solway to Carlisle (14 miles, 9h); Accommodation: B&B
  • Day 2 (Sunday, 11/06/23) – Carlisle to Banks (16 miles, 8h30); Accommodation: Campsite
  • Day 3 (Monday, 12/06/23) – Banks to Steel Rigg (12 miles, 7h): Accommodation: Campsite
  • Day 4 (Tuesday, 13/06/23) – Steel Rigg to St Oswald’s (14 miles, 9h); Accommodation: Campsite
  • Day 5 (Wednesday, 14/06/23) – St Oswald’s to Newburn (15 miles, 9h); Accommodation: B&B
  • Day 6 (Thursday, 15/06/23) – Newburn to Newcastle, then Tynemouth (16 miles); Accommodation: Hotel
  • Day 7 (Friday, 16/06/23) – Visit Segedunum Roman Fort & Museum. Travel home: tram, train, tube, and walk.

Although I haven’t yet had the chance to practice pitching my tent quickly and efficiently, I have a month to master this skill. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to do an overnight stay in Savernake Forest as I’d planned, because I’ve run out of practice weekends due to bad weather. However, I’m hoping I can go for an overnight walk and camp, solo backpacking, in the Brecon Beacons in a fortnight or so.

As I prepare for this incredible adventure, I’m also raising funds for Prospect Hospice, because it’s part of my preparation for the Trek I’m walking in aid of Prospect Hospice in March 2024. They provide invaluable care and support to patients and their families during difficult times. If you’d like to contribute to this worthy cause and support me on my journey, please consider making a donation on my fundraising page. Every little bit helps, and your generosity will make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.

In the meantime, if you have any advice or encouragement to share, please feel free to leave a comment. I appreciate all the support and well-wishes I can get as I prepare for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.


“Fortvna vobis adsit”

– good luck to us all! I’ll be sure to keep you updated on my progress, from the final preparations to the thrilling moments along the way. Stay tuned for more updates, stories, and photos as I embark on this incredible solo adventure along Hadrian’s Wall.

Until then, happy trails to all my fellow explorers, and thank you for joining me on this journey!

Fortvna vobis adsit

‘Fortvna vobis adsit’ is the Latin inscription on the pavilion at the start of the walk of Hadrian’s Wall in Bowness-on-Solway. It means ‘Good luck to you!’. I will need this, but I also need to plan 🙂

I’ve not posted in a while but, amongst other things, I’ve been busy planning!

Back on 8th January, I mentioned I wanted to do a long walk so I’ve decided to walk Hadrian’s Wall.

Since, I got covid and had plenty of time to read and watch documentary about Roman History at the time and read a couple of guide books, watched a YouTube route from other walkers and also joined the Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA). I also joined a couple of hiking Facebook groups and Hadrian Wall’s Path group.

I have now started booking campsites (and hotels for Carlisle and Newcastle) for my way across Hadrian’s Wall! I have even plotted places to stop for snacks along the way…It’s all becoming real. That’s planned for late May /early June.

Hadrian’s Wall

It’s a National Trails’ hiking path running 84 miles from Bowness-on-Solway to Wallsend. It follows the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall.
It was a border of the Roman Empire, built in AD 122 by Emperor Hadrian to keep the people of northern Britannia away.

The Plan

I’m planning to walk the Wall over 7 days, from West to East, to avoid walking into the prevailing winds. I will travel to the start by train then bus, and back home from Newcastel by train.

So, I’ll be solo-backpacking. I’m preparing the lightest possible (within reason) backpack and I’ve been studying the weight of all my items (literally obsessive about it!). Today I’ll be packing all my items in a bag for the first time, weighing and working out what to keep/lose.
I also need to practice putting up and taking down my tent which I’ll be doing today too, but indoors without pegs at first as it’s easier than having to mow our lawn for it etc…
I have my route ready and my accommodation planned now. I haven’t booked transport yet but priced it all up.

I’ll also be doing an overnight practice in Savernake Forest and hopefully another one in the Brecon Beacons before that – I’ll post on here on how those experiments go, of course. The aim is just to practice the solo walking/camping. It’s all very exciting! And a nice distraction to life’s stresses.

After that, if all goes (relatively) well, I’m hoping to move on to another National Trail adventure in August (watch this space!)

The route

Day 0 – travel to start
Day 1 – Bowness-on-Solway to Carlisle (around 14 miles)
Day 2 – Carlisle to Lanercost (around 16 miles)
Day 3 – Lanercost to Steel Rigg (around 12 miles)
Day 4 – Steel Rigg to St Oswald’s (around 14 miles)
Day 5 – St Oswald’s to Heddon-on-the-Wall (around 13 miles)
Day 6 – Heddon-on-the-Wall to Newcastle (around 12 miles)
Day 7 – Newcastle to South Fields or Tynemouth (around 12 miles), then travel home

Total cost for accommodation and travel should add up to about £310. I think that’s pretty good. Accommodation for 7 days is £135.50! I’m happy with that.

The backpack

I’m going to lend this backpack and some of the items to my daughter for her DofE expedition and practice expedition in the next couple of months, but here’s the content and approximate weight.

Total about 15kg backpack and 1kg waist belt.

Excuse the ‘Sunday’ attire – wool jumper and tracksuit bottoms, and any mess in the background.
It’s my very first time fitting everything in and wearing the full bag so I guess it’ll need some small changes and adjustments but it’s a good start.

Itemweight in g
OEX Vallo 701860
OEX bobcat tent1935
Bergaus Peak pro airmat525
Vango Ultralite Pro 100 sleeping bag915
karrimoor drybag70
zip drybag for PJs45
thermal top and leggings for sleep345
recycled large trek towel (Lifeventure)135
toilet kit (bag+ trowel + toilet tissue)170top of bag
spare clothes in dry bag435
spare sock *2 in dry bag165
spare sock *2 in dry bag185
spare sock *2 in dry bag170
underwear in dry bag205
bin bags (for tent)90top of bag
OEX tocan solo stove, gas canister and spork840
Titanium mug65top of bag
Swiss army knife100top of bag
washbag including wipes, travel soap spray, heatpag, hairbands, vaseline, tootpaste, toothbrush and comb/brush310
first aid kit including bandage, safety pins, desindectant wipes, compeed, plaster, ibuprofen, safety blanket and instant icepack, tick remover240
4 meals food pouches in bag and two pegs for bags1330
OS map and compass170front of bag
water bladder (filled)1780
solar travel pack1285
suncream80(side pocket)
headtorch inc batteries95(side pocket)
waterproof trousers350
cap50top of bag
water bottle700side of bag
total bag15000
Itemweight in g
belt bag35
Hadrian’s wall book + pen315
watch cable and phone cable40
mobile phone230
power pack220
ID, cash and card20
total in bag1000

The tent

This is the tent I picked for myself. First time (kind of) erected today. It didn’t take long but I really struggled putting the pole in the eyelets (and then out again). I’m worried of damaging the pole or tent… I couldn’t pitch it indoors properly without the pegs so I’ll try again on a dry day when the garden isn’t full of branches (Rod has cut off loads of branches from one of our trees today!).
I plan to practice this a few times, taking it down, and back up until it gets faster and easier.

What next?

I need to practice the tent skills, book an overnight for April and go with the full bag. And just get those practice miles in, really!

Any advice (and encouragement) is welcome. I’m going to need it!