Hadrians Wall – Day One Wallsend to Harlow Hill (20 miles)
An early start meant we arrived in Wallsend at 9am, we spotted a Belgium couple on the Metro who we bumped into on many points over the next 6 days. Collecting our first stamp at Segedunum we set off on the trail. Walking through Newcastle was quite enjoyable and the camera was rarely out of use with all the famous landmarks. The problem with city walking is the amount of stress it puts on your feet, carrying all our equipment also added to the situation. I was quite surprised at the lack of people who were thru-hiking; the majority we spoke to were B&B/baggage transfer. Our first day flew by and by 4oclock Newcastle was over the horizon and out of sight. After stopping at Heddon-on- the- wall for a quick pint at The Swan we decided to shorten our first day by using a new campsite at Harlow Hill We really couldn’t go any further as the tarmac walking had taken it out of our feet. The start of the nightmare section of the path also known as the B6318 starts at Heddon-on-the-wall and the last 2 hours were spent drudging along in rain never too far from the passing traffic. We had covered a lot of miles today and this gave us some to play with if we needed to change our plans.
I fully enjoyed the first day, today was a lot easier than I imagined. 21 mile is a lot for a beginner. The first part through Newcastle was great, landmarks galore. The small butchers shop in Lemington came at a good time and we enjoyed delicious fresh sarnies. The part of the walk leading up to Heddon was particularly enjoyable, as it covered a stretch alongside the river with fellow walkers with dogs. The final Part of the walk was never ending….my legs were aching like mad and it was the longest two mile ever. The rain lashing down in our faces didn’t help. Neither did having to use my umbrella as an umbrella (it was my walking stick that I swore by). Seeing the campsite over the hill was a fab feeling.
Campsite – Belvedere Campsite / Harlow Hill
It cost £5 per person and had an amazing power shower, the owner was very helpful and the site was basically a very large garden behind a garage. Takeaway food can also be delivered to the site. After our food we settled for the night. Good day had by all.