Hadrian’s Wall Walk: Day One

Wallsend to East Wallhouses (22 Miles)

Hello, well after all the planning, excitement and anticipation we both imagined nothing but a good morning, which it should have been and was….eventually.  We started the day leaving from the Hadrian’s Lodge in Wallsend and walking to the start of the walk.  I’d like to tell you it was a bright eyed bushy tailed start to the walk but the Hadrian’s Lodge offered exceptional hospitality and a wide variety of whisky, thus starting the day bleary eyed with our tails between our legs. The next 3 days were about to teach us this wasn’t a leisurely drinking holiday, far from it.  The start of the route was clearly marked and took you down to the riverside.  The intention was always to take a dip in the water either side of the walk but the combination of a sore head and the reality of the thick mud shore meant that it was not an option that morning.  The beginning of the walk leaving Wallsend is less than glamorous but does give an insight in to the industrial past of this great city.  The sight of the Tyne Bridge fills any northerner with pride and as you begin to walk towards the heart of the city the surroundings become more cosmopolitan.

As you walk into the suburbs you travel past various villages and there are several places to stop for food and drink.  So, after a good 13 mile stint we passed through the village Newburn, this was pencilled in as our first food and refreshment break, now, please note we’re no upper class never been in a spit and saw dust pub duo, far from it, but we didn’t stop in Newburn, enough said?

Leaving Newburn alongside the river we found the path is well marked taking you through some picturesque countryside.  Approximately 1 mile before our “re-scheduled” fuel stop at Heddon on the Wall there is a sharp uphill climb through a field and into the golf course where a public footpath takes you to the main road and you continue the ascent.  This place is excellent for two reasons.  Firstly this is where you gain first sight of Hadrian’s Wall and a well signposted site contains remains of the wall.  Secondly we found The Swan, a pub that deserves a mention.  Good food and a wide selection of beer, and soft drinks for those of you who stayed at Hadrian’s Lodge.  The menu is extensive combined with excellent beer and a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere. It should be noted there is a second pub in the village but The Swan was recommended to us by passing locals as we ascended into the village and it did not disappoint.  At this point we’d walked 16 miles and setting off again for another 6 miles could be disheartening.  Full bellies of food and beer help to lift the mood and we set off down the military road that traces the path of the wall.  You see some great views over the countryside at this height although the last 6 miles were to say the least a bit of a slog.  You can take comfort in seeing Whittle Dean reservoir as you are nearly there.  Now you may notice a recurring theme on this walk but day one ends at a pub.  The sight of the Robin Hood Inn is a hugely welcome site.  The pub is traditional and comfortable and also offers food on the evening.  At mile 22 after some quite steep climbs you won’t want to be anywhere else.  Accomodation was booked near by and was roughly a mile and a half walk from the pub.  We stayed at Matfen High House.  This bed and breakfast is ajoined to the owners home and you are made to feel exceptionally welcome.  We were even given a lift to and from the pub for dinner and evening drinks.  The rooms are very comfortable and the breakfast was exceptional with fresh homemade bread served with a superb full English breakfast.

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