K evin Costner, eat your tights. Photographer Murdo MacLeod is pointing his lens towards Graham Robb and me as we stroll down the slopes of Sycamore Gap on a brilliant and breezy day in early June. We reassure them: of course we are! Although unknown to Ordnance Survey maps, Sycamore Gap may be fondly remembered by location-spotting fans of camp and corny Hollywood romps. The visitors know that. Popular memory celebrates what respectable geography and cartography ignores. That, you might say, is the theme of our trek along this segment of the wall, east of Carlisle. This is a walk against the grain: a hunt for features of the landscape and the past that are hidden in plain sight.
The wall has become our mythical idea of the ultimate imperial frontier. Yet the 11 cols that cross it open up handy — and picturesque — north-south passageways. There is a meeting of the ways, and cols often mark farm or parish boundaries.
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Although feted in France as highlights for hikers and cyclists, on this side of the Channel cols have tended to drop off maps. We do. Embracing Ireland as well, Robb catalogues and annotates of them in his new book Cols and Passes of the British Isles. Topographical exactitude aside, you will never read a wittier gazetteer.
As the wall path climbs up or plunges down in calf-punishing rollercoaster curves, the lateral cols trace much gentler slopes. Classic Plus: Wallsend to Bowness-on-Solway. What's Included:. When to go You choose which day you would like your holiday to start on.
How to get there? Manchester Airport served by international flights. Customise your trip? Tailoring Your Hadrian's Wall Path Walking Holiday Above are our standard itineraries; each option provides you with varying degrees of immersion into the journey - all afford you the time to take in the unconfined beauty of the Northumbrian countryside. Which itinerary would you like to book? Prefix First Last.
Hadrian's Wall Path | National Trails
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The Big Walk: Hadrian's Wall Path
How Not to Walk Hadrian’s Wall
The Roman fort of Chesters is close to the start of this section. The path starts to rise now and the countryside becomes moorland, rather than farmland. Much more of the Wall is visible and parts of it run along the edge of crags, giving superb views over the open countryside to the north. The path passes the Roman fort at Vercovicium Housesteads , which has been extensively consolidated and contains much of interest.
For very good conservation reasons, nowhere along the route does the Trail follow the crest of Hadrian's Wall but in the small wood on the Whin Sill escarpment at Housesteads there is a short section of Public Right of Way, approximately metres, which is actually on the Wall. The Trail follows a parallel path in the wood but visitors are allowed, if they choose, to walk on the Wall.
This is another section across open countryside with the Wall occasionally visible.
The Roman fort at Birdoswald has a museum. As the path approaches Walton, Lanercost Priory is a short walk to the south. Much of the Priory was built with stones taken from the Wall. In this section the path returns to farmland and crosses the M6 motorway.
Part of the path is alongside the River Eden , passing through a pleasant park and over a large footbridge. The first part of this section is rather bare but the walking improves once the path gets beyond the outskirts of Carlisle. Most of the path runs alongside either the River Eden or the Solway Firth. There is nothing of the Wall to be seen but the walking is open and pleasant.