Hadrian’s Wall Path Greenhead to Carlisle. Day 4. A 22 mile walk following the course of Hadrian’s Wall westwards through the Penine Hills, the course of the River Eden and finally Carlisle.
In September Lady Lynne and I completed the 84 miles coast to coast Hadrian’s Wall Path walk across Britain.
The path goes from Wallsend in Newcastle upon Tyne to Bowness On Solway. We did it in 5 days.
This is our day by day recap and a selection of short videos of that 5 day walk.
Day 4 Hadrian’s Wall Path Greenhead to Carlisle
Lady Lynne and I considered ourselves extremely lucky that yesterday, Day 3 Hadrian’s Wall Path Wall to Greenhead, we’d enjoyed a relatively dry day which had meant that we’d had a whole day to dry out from the previous day’s wetting!
Sadly though, today, day 4, wasn’t to be the same. Day 4, Hadrian’s Wall Path Greenhead to Carlisle was by far the wettest day of all.
But, let’s start at the very beginning shall we? Because apparently its a very good place to start……..
Now the cat picture may seem a bit bizarre as its not exactly Hadrian’s Wall Path scenery is it?
But lady Lynne chose it, she thought it was very cute and at this point it reminded us of our own wee cat (Begbie) at home who would be getting spoiled by the daily visiting cat sitters.
Also, there really wasn’t that much wildlife that we saw along the path that was of noteable interest. Just farm animals and some birds so we thought we’d chuck in this random bit of “local” wildlife that we saw whilst heading out of Greenhead and on our way to rejoin to path for our 22 miles walk to Carlisle.
The Greenhead Hotel had provided us with another great nights sleep and a reasonable breakfast.
I say reasonable because I consider a decent cup of coffee to be part of any good breakfast and sadly that wasn’t the case. Their coffee was dreadful.
Now I know I’m not usually known for dissing anything here or generally complaining about small things like that but it really was.
So, sorry Greenhead Hotel, you messed that up and also despite having booked our packed lunches the night before you hadn’t made them up for our departure at 8am either.
So you made us half an hour late from when we’d advised we were leaving. So you only get a two out of five star Neil & Lynne rating! 😕
But anyway, let’s get on to the positives!
The day started out dry. We were on holiday enjoying fantastic scenery, each other’s company, and were soon to reach Carlisle.
More than half of the whole distance of the walk covered so far!
So we quickly rejoined the path walking alongside the remains of original wall.
At the Willowford section of Hadrian’s Wall there are some pretty impressive remnants of the wall as well as a couple of turret remains.
A grand 914 metres of the the longest continuous remaining stretch of wall can be seen as well as the original roman bridge remains beside the River Irthing.
The Roman bridge here linked to Birdoswald Roman Fort where you can explore the extensive remains of the Roman fort.
There is a visitor center and tearoom here. Again unfortunately with limited time, Lady Lynne and I declined a stop and visit opting to continue on our journey. Maybe next time!
Reading more into the history of this part of the wall, both the wall and the turrets at this section show the decision made while the wall was being built to reduce its width.
The original bridge itself was said to have been widened to take a road in the late 2nd or early 3rd century AD.
The original bridge had stone arches, but was only wide enough to carry the wall itself and there was a walkway along the top.
The bridge was accessed at each end from ground level through a tower recessed into the wall.
I’m grateful for the history boards placed strategically by English Heritage at sites like this that I photographed so I’m able to recall significant parts of the wall and tell their history here.
Some fun facts about Hadrian’s Wall :-
It took around 15,000 men about 6 years in total to build Hadrian’s Wall.
Hadrian’s Wall is the largest Roman artefact anywhere.
The wall was largely completed by AD 128.
It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987. Then in 2005 it became part of the transnational “Frontiers of the Roman Empire” World Heritage Site.
I mentioned earlier that this was the wettest day so far.
It was when we reached this impressive Willowford Wall section of Hadrian’s Wall that the light splattering of rain we’d had so far changed to a heavy downpour!
Checkout the video at the bottom of this post and you’ll see just what I mean!
So it was on with the full waterproof gear.
Little did we know that the rain wasn’t to stop until that evening when we were in Carlisle. Still, at least we were prepared!
The bridge above is the one that now crosses the River Irthing.
It’s certainly not as impressive as the original Roman bridge that used to be here, but at least it served its purpose to get us over the River without having to wade through and get our feet wet.
No, the rain would do that itself quite nicely throughout the day as the water seeped into our so called waterproof boots!
When we got to Combcrag wood we were grateful to have shelter from the rain provided by the trees.
What we had to content with there though was huge puddles and a virtually impossible muddy path to get from one side of the wood to the other.
The expression on Lady Lynne’s face at this point was not one of amusement to say the least.
We kept having to make huge detours around the puddles and even then it wasn’t easy to avoid getting wet feet.
Walking with wet feet is not fun.
Whilst you’re dry underneath the waterproof jacket and trousers that you’re wearing there is absolutely nothing you can do about your wet feet.
And you can’t stop your feet from rubbing in your shoes meaning that both of us experienced blisters from this day.
It was fortunate that we were reaching Carlisle at the end of this long day, not just for the hotel, dry socks, shoes and hot showers but also for the fact we needed to replenish our supplies of compeed!
I doubt we would have been able to get compeed anywhere but in a large town/city with lots of shops and a chemist like Carlisle.
In Greenhead for instance there was only the hotel, no shops!
I’m advised by other blog posts and articles that I’ve read on this section of the walk that the views to the west are supposed to be amazing!
Well, I’m sure they are but that’s for another day.
For Lynne and I the majority of this day was just “heads down” and carry on. We just wanted to be sure that we made it to Carlisle.
The fields were also getting quite boggy at this stage.
So we were grateful when the Path deviated off the farmland and we actually walked on country roads at certain parts.
Also any remains of the wall were now virtually nowhere to be seen except some glimpses of the earthworks and Vallum.
I chose to put the camera away after we stopped to shelter under a tree and took the above photograph.
The rest of the Hadrian’s Wall Path Greenhead to Carlisle walk being mainly more farmland and open country until the appearance of the River Eden and finally Carlisle.
Watch this short Day 4 Hadrian’s Wall Path Greenhead to Carlisle video for more snippets of that part of the trail.
Hadrian’s Wall Path Greenhead to Carlisle Video
There were a number of diversions on this final part of the path towards Carlisle.
We had some extra miles to cover which I hadn’t factored in because of flood damage from Storm Desmond in 2015.
On reaching Rickerby Park we could see where we wanted to cross to get into the City Centre and our accommodation at The Crown and Mitre Hotel.
However the bridge over the River Eden was still closed for flood repairs. So our final arrival was much later than expected and we were pretty shattered and soaked to say the least.
Still, a couple of hot showers, fresh clean clothes and blisters dressed and we were off for a wonderful Italian dinner at Ristorante SannaS.
It’s funny because Lady Lynne and I only remember small parts of being in that Italian because we were so tired. It was good though, just don’t ask what we had to eat! 😉
Anyway folks that ends Day 4 Hadrian’s Wall Path Greenhead to Carlisle. Be sure to check back soon for our final day, Day 5 Carlisle to Bowness on Solway or better still subscribe by following the instructions below!
Another fun post…I’m becoming quite a fan of these posts, Neil! Despite the weather, I’ve still got to say I’m mighty jealous about this trip. Just seeing all of the Roman history (yay for the signs along the way!) and beautiful Scottish countryside is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Plus, I’m sure you and Lady Lynne bonded quite a bit out there on that walk! Thanks for including a shot of the local wildlife…haha! 🙂 Also, I haven’t heard about the “Frontiers of the Roman Empire” World Heritage Sites…I’m gonna go google that now!
Hi David, thanks for your comment!
These too are some of my favourite posts to write as I love to recount the amazing travels that Lynne and I have, seeing our history and spending quality time together! 🙂