Happy New Year everyone! I hadn’t been unleashed outdoors for 7 weeks, so was determined to grab a quick New Years Day walk on Hadrian’s Wall, before reluctantly returning to work.
This is my ‘training walk’ of 7.5 miles from Housesteads to Winshield Crags & back. Have done it over 150 times and will do a separate blog on the years spent up here, but this a quick ‘Trip Report’ as I haven’t posted for a while:-)
After picking my mate Alan up at Hexham we arrived at a cold Housesteads car park with the wind thumping against the car. There was none of the usual rush to get out and whip the boots on so we diverted ourselves by staring at the latest stage of the wind ravaged Visitor Centre refurbishment to add an extra floor (below),
We quickly got ready and headed round the Centre, through the gate and up the path past Housesteads Fort on the right to the main Wall path in the trees at the top.
It’s always a slog to the top but is quickly reached & provides some shelter from that wind. We carried on down to Hotbanks Farm for the view to Crag Lough. I’d actually never seen it quite so full, there was a LOT of water around. We were heading to the highest point on the Wall, Winshields Crags, in the middle below.
The path continues above Crag Lough then looks down over the famous Sycamore Gap, known amongst other things for its appearance with Kevin Costner & Morgan Freeman in the film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.
The highest point on Hadrians Wall is Winshield Crags (below) there’s a trig point, great views, and sometimes you see the Solway Firth glistening in the west. It’s also not far from the Steel Rigg NT car park & Twice Brewed pub on the Military Rd – which is nice. This is me showing off my new Montane Terra Pants, I’m like a model me like.
Due to a crucial business meeting we decided to take the “by-pass” path above Hotbanks Farm which runs parallel to the Wall path but is flatter & gets you back a little quicker.
We had to dash to the car park & quickly get the boots off to make that business meeting. Now when I say ‘business meeting’ I actually mean ‘pub’, it’s so easily confused. Anyway the pub normally stops serving food by 2.15pm & we were cutting it short so hurried across to the Dipton Mill Inn south of Hexham (my favourite pub). Normally late lunchtimes here are quite civilsed with many of the customers having eaten and drifted off, followed by a few locals & walkers popping in for a pint. What we didn’t realise was that New Years Day is one of their busiest days with a guest Piper, Scottish Ditty Singer and a pair of singing Guitarists all taking turns to entertain. The place was absolutely heaving full of families & people I’d never seen before, becoming even busier as the afternoon drew on.
We managed to get very lucky and sneak on to the end of a table, ordered some butties and had a beer whilst chatting to a local couple and watching the entertainment unfold. We eventually had to leave around 4.30pm (during a song break) with our seats being immediately and gratefully snaffled up. We weren’t sure when it all ended but this was yet another excellent Dipton Mill experience with a great crowd and a great end to the day. (PS; They brew their own beer, I’m a Whapweasel fan).