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Hadrian's Wall and the Pennine Way

A circular route starting on the Hadrian's Wall way and then striking north into wild country to find the Pennine Way, which is followed back to the wall. Much bogginess is to be found unless after a drought.

You can make many circular routes on the Hadrian's Wall way, going away either south or north. From Gilsland in the west to Wall and Heaven's Field in the east is a lot of interesting country and useful footpaths. This is the best section for the photographer with lots of up and down cragginess and intact sections of wall.

This route starts at the Housesteads visitor centre (you'll need to pay to park, quite expensive, but a yearly pass make sense if you come to the wall a lot). There's a welcome cafe here, nice coffee though only in take-away cups even for sitting in.

Up to the fort and turn right (east) along the wall. Follow it until Sewingshields where a path/track leads off north. You'll need your map now to find the return route. Go north, with turns left and right, until you pass between two lakes (I suppose northumbrians would call them tarns). Keep going north for another three quarters of a mile until you see anything that looks like a path going westwards. I looked very carefully at the 1:25,000 map to find the correct spot but there really wasn't much of a path and it got worse as I went eastwards. After about a mile and a half of this the going was very rough, with boggy and tussocky ground, until I approach the forest, which I could see on the map and in reality. The path crosses the fence here but I had deliberately aimed off to the north so I knew which way to go to find the stile. However, I had no way of knowing how far I had been off and I had a choice to make. I decided to strike directly north following the fence to find the Pennine Way. I figured this would be well signed and clear on the ground. It turned out I had at least half a mile steeply uphill on very unpleasant ground before I found it, right where it was supposed to be. Into the forest and it was indeed well signed and clear but sadly not entirely firm underfoot. In fact some considerable wet muddiness followed until I got back to the wall. Go east now back to Housesteads and the car park. Fortunately, I got plenty of really nice black and white photos.


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