New Years Day Walk on Hadrians Wall – then ale at Dipton Mill Inn

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),


Housesteads Visitor Centre, New Years Day 2013

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.


Path from Housesteads Visitor Centre up to the Wall path and Fort

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.

Hadrians Wall lokking to Crag Lough

Hadrians Wall looking to Crag Lough

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.


Looking across Sycamore Gap to Winshields top right


Sycamore Gap, Hadrians Wall


Looking west to Steel Rigg car park in the trees and Winshield Crags above

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.


Winshield Crags trig point at 1,132ft, the highest point on Hadrian’s Wall


The view east, Alan sheltering from that wind, time to turn back


Sycamore Gap and Crag Lough from the west in low sunlight


More Sycamore Gap – it’s a nice place


Crag Lough


The path goes through the ‘tree section’ up the hill past Hotbanks Farm on the horizon


Hotbanks Farm through the tree section


Slippy steps through the trees, descend with care!

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.


The by-pass path heading east with the Visitor Centre mid right

Housesteads Visitor Centre Refurishment

Houseteads Visitor Centre from the rear

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.


A heaving New Year’s Day pub

Dipton Mill Piper

Dipton Mill New Years Day Piper

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).


My favourite pub

Housesteads to Winshield Crags Route Map

Click to see Housesteads to Winshield Crags Route Map


Hillwalker with dodgy knees and dodgier sense of humour. Lover of the outdoors, Lakes, Highlands, Cheviots, nature, good food, real ale and leaf tea.
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5 Responses to New Years Day Walk on Hadrians Wall – then ale at Dipton Mill Inn

  1. R. Greenhow. says:

    It’s a walk I’ll have to do sometime Martin, the full length of the wall. I’ve walked bits especially morewest but never it’s full length, though visited the main roman remains. Nice blog.

    • Mart Lawton says:

      Thanks Ray, there’s more Wall posts due as it became a bit addictive 🙂 If I had more time I’d do the whole path but happy to keep doing the High section for now which is definitely recommended. You already know the Twice Brewed Inn don’t you 🙂

  2. Great blog with photos of so many familiar places

    • Mart Lawton says:

      Thank you.
      It wasn’t the best day for photographs and they were all taken on the phone, but I just wanted to get something up about the Wall.
      There’s more to come 🙂

  3. Must be a lovely place to walk there. Liked the images. Excepts for the slippery stones which you obviously have to take with care, could it be possible to (partly) run it like I do?

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