Here it is, the post I have procrastinated putting together because it meant the end of the walk. To steal from the song “Most Girls” – “most girls are smart and strong and beautiful. Most girls, work hard, go far, we are unstoppable” – which is just how I feel. Aside from it being a catchy song, I’m happy to be like most girls.
So here it is, Tara and I completed Hadrian’s trail on Monday June 26th. A 15-mile day which started in Heddon-on-the-Wall (pronounced: HEAD-ON). We went off the trail to say goodbye to the last part of Hadrian’s Wall. We took pictures, we ran into the cute couple we’ve meet at various times along the walk, we said our goodbyes and we headed towards Wallsend, 4 miles east of Newcastle.
For the most part, the trail was a man-made path, which turned into sidewalks and roadways. I should mention, the day prior to this, Tara and I had a grand time walking from Chollerford, we even made a delightful video dancing amongst the sheep in a farmer’s field. The weather was perfect, we ate at the Robin Hood Inn, where we traded in healthy food for sticky toffee pudding and a pint. Then there came the point where we thought we’d take a slight shortcut. The trail seemed to do an unnecessary turn around someone’s yard, so we continued in a straight line instead, until the tail met up with us. Unfortunately, in order to join the path again we had a slight jump down from a rock through some bushes, where I did not land gracefully. Whether it was the weight of my daypack or the stiffness of my body due to walking, I threw out my back. Luckily, we weren’t more than 5 miles from our B&B. Never having experienced back pain like this, I was a little flummoxed. Walking was interesting, I felt like I was sticking up like a rod, but it was manageable as it kept me loose, but the moment I sat down, slept, or tried to bend in any direction, I’d seize up. It’s in this wonderful state that I finished the last day’s walk to Wallsend. About 4 miles into our last day, I started limping. The right side of my back, which bore the most pain, connected down to my right knee. With no rhyme or reason I could distinguish let alone help, my knee was in pain and I limped to the end. Tara, while surviving said jump, had her own ankle issues to contend with. But let me make this clear, we made it, with little complaint and no regrets. If I had no issues, I would have loved to continue walking for another week. And I think Tara would agree with me.
So, without further ado, here is the finale of the walking adventure:
WE WALKED ACROSS ENGLAND!
- 110+ miles walked in total; 84 miles being Hadrian's Wall Path
- 257,469 steps taken
- 7 days total; 6 days of walking & 1 fun-day
- 4 days walking with actual parts of the wall
- 160 turrets and 79 milecastles passed
- 2 golf courses traipsed through, 1 of which threatened to keep us inside the green
- 3 illegally hopped fences
- 2 road bridges crossed and a stint on walking on the M6 (5 truck horns in our honor)
- 1 pen of angry bulls challenged and then dodged
- 40 gates passed through or climbed over on average (daily)
- How to speak sheep; how to read clouds
- The different smells of cow, sheep and horse poop (no joke!)
- That walking holidays attract an older crowd, but are uncrowded
- Traipsing through farms, backyards and private land is the norm. As is cattle poop-hopping
- The locals of the North are kind, helpful and friendly
- The top of the crags feels like the top of the world and the top of the world is a peaceful place
- Fresh air and long walks really do ease anxiety and calm the mind
- That small villages turn into ghost towns on Sunday's
- Band Aids, blister protectors and gauze are worth more than gold
- That the upside down acorn is considered right-side up by The National Trail
- And importantly, that England does have good weather spells!
WE ATE AND DRANK:
- 5 pints each of John Smith's + cinders, gluten free beers and Newcastle Ale
- 4 Sticky toffee puddings each, doing our part in selection the best – Red Lion Inn
- Consuming many English Pies, English Breakfasts and many, many great meals!
In summation, it's safe to say we had a blast; even going so far to ink our memories so they never fade. I'm looking forward to the next walking holiday.