Report by Mike Goodman from Off The Wall. .
We plan to start the next section of our walk along the wall sometime in April, starting where we finished last year at Steel Rigg. Although you don’t have to be to fit to walk the wall it is important that you have all the correct gear for walking.
Over the last three years we would have many a tourist hobble into our coffee shop, and when you look you will find they have set off from Bowness in trainers and with poor socks which make your feet sweat and blister, or they will have worn walking boots brand new from the box without wearing them in before setting off.
If you want to walk the wall or any other long distance walk you must have the correct gear, good footwear is advisable, usually waterproof, breathable and lightweight are best, I’ve found that wearing good walking socks with a second pair to change over at around the halfway point works for me, lightweight walking trousers and breathable top for walking when dry with a fleece when cold and windy, (We walked through Vindolanda fort once in May in a hail and sleet storm after leaving Brampton bathed in warm sunshine, luckily we took waterproofs and woolly hats), good breathable waterproofs are needed too and to top it off a good woolly hat or in sunny weather a sun proof hat.
A rucksack is handy to carry all your waterproofs and spare clothing, take a bottle of water with you, a bar of chocolate is handy too, I usually take my camera with me also a book on birds, (Spotted a pair of crossbills) and of course an O/S map of where we are walking, other things that are handy is a whistle and a compass, though not essential when on the lower sections of the wall, another essential piece of equipment is a book on the wall, one thing that surprised me is how many people I would pass who would have their heads down walking and totally ignore the roman remains around them walking through forts, milecastles, turrets and good well preserved sections of wall without stopping to admire the work done by the legions nearly two thousand years ago, I cant walk by without stopping to admire the work done by the soldiers of Rome.
Above Lanercost priory there is a small section of wall hidden in the hedge, the facing stones have been robbed, probably to build the priory below, but the cobbles and stones which filled the middle of the wall are still there, untouched for nearly sixteen hundred years to the time when the wall was abandoned, I could not walk past without taking several photos.
I find these hidden parts the best you feel has if you have discovered a lost civilisation, whenever I drive to Carlisle along the airport road, I know that I’m following the line of the wall or driving on the line of the Stanegate the old Roman road connecting Carlisle to Corbridge, so I cant wait to start the next section, Steelrigg to Chollerford, with plenty of history to walk through,