Day 6 – Harlow Hill to Segedunum, Wallsend
~18 miles / 11 hours
After the struggle that we had on day 5, we considered having a day of rest before finishing. But we were doing the walk for charity and had a particular goal in mind (walking the 84 miles in six days), so we didn’t want to let everyone down who sponsored us.
So we packed the one bag that we needed to get through the final push, got a lift out to Harlow Hill and began our sixth and final day. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?), after five days of glorious, burning sunshine, the weather turned to typical English weather: rain, rain, and more rain. It was very cold and we were soaking wet. We could literally wring our clothing out. Great start!
We took cover in the Three Tuns pub for about an hour once we reached Heddon-on-the-Wall. We ordered cups of steaming hot tea, and took turns going to the bathroom to stand under the hand dryer to try to turn our clothes from dripping wet to just damp (yes, it was that wet). After a while, we had dried out and warmed up a bit, at least to the point where our teeth had stopped chattering.
Again, we toyed with the idea of stopping and finishing the next day instead. We were really struggling at this point. We’re aware that you’re probably rolling your eyes at this point, but wait until you get to the end of the article and you find out what state James’s legs and feet were in…
While we were discussing whether or not we should abandon the day, the weather started to clear up so we decided to tough it out and continue on.
We walked towards the Newcastle Quayside, which is the mapped out route for the Hadrian’s Wall Walk but isn’t actually the right route for the wall itself. The path goes this way because it’s more picturesque and away from main roads, but then eventually does curve and meet up at the correct ending point. There is a small section of Hadrian’s Wall visible within Newcastle, but it won’t be visible on the walk itself.
We wandered past the Dunston Staiths, and along the riverside to where the iconic seven bridges stretch across the River Tyne between Newcastle and Gateshead. We’ve seen these bridges and crossed them a million times, but in our current state we had never been so thrilled to see them.
We were so near the end.
Only an hour or so more to go.
Or so we thought.
Wallsend is quite far from the Quayside by foot, but we didn’t realise that. What we thought was an hour or two tops turned into three hours. Then four hours. Then five hours. Then six hours.
Then, seven extremely long hours later, long after the sun had gone down, Segedunum came into view.
James was practically “running” to the end with his limp/hobble (his left leg was limping and his right leg was hobbling. Quite a funny view, really, if he wasn’t in so much pain). Krysta was also in a lot of pain but, to this day, feels like she can’t complain about it because of what James had experienced.
We crossed the line. Well, the imaginary line at least. We were expecting a “Congratulations, you’ve finished the walk!” sign at the end, like way back in Bowness, but to no avail (if there is one, we didn’t see it).
A crowd of people applauding, a marching band, and some TV cameras wouldn’t have felt out of place either.
We were done, and it felt great.
And we raised a whopping £950 for the Percy Hedley Foundation, which is a local organisation in Newcastle for children and adults with cerebral palsy and autism.
We 100% recommend this walk, and hopefully, our story will help you to plan your adventure. Our itinerary obviously wasn’t perfect but we weren’t too far off with it. A couple of small tweaks can make it ideal for you and your chosen level of difficulty.
As you read, we went through ups and downs during this walk, physically and mentally.
But the scenery was amazing – really, this cannot be overstated. We followed a 2000-year-old feat of architecture and an iconic piece of history for six days – which is very cool.
We walked across a country, we met such lovely people along the way, and we felt like we really accomplished something.
Yes, it was hard. We really struggled on days 5 and 6. It was a real test for us, but we did it. And we’re still really proud of ourselves.
You can do it too. Just remember to keep your own physical capabilities and limits in mind.
And don’t injure your foot on day 1!
We enjoyed doing the walk in six days, but tailor it to fit you. Are you more fit than we are? Do it in four or five days. Do you think our itinerary was too quick for your preferred pace? Do it in seven or eight. Change it to fit your needs. It doesn’t matter how quick you do it or how long it takes you. Finishing the adventure is the only thing that matters.
If you don’t have time to do the entire walk, do Days 3 and 4. No question about it. This is the heart and soul of the walk and, really, the parts that you look forward to the most. Our favourite days were definitely these two.
We mentioned it earlier in the article, but another option is to cut off the first day and start from Carlisle rather than Bowness.
There is a cycle path that runs along the Wall, which did entice us, but now that we’ve done the walk and saw the terrain, we would definitely recommend walking over cycling. As you now know, the path runs directly beside the Wall and takes you to some great views.
The cycle path, while it follows the route, is set away from the Wall and you’ll miss out on a lot of the views, which is one of the main reasons to do this route in the first place. But if cycling is your preferred method, then it is an available option.
We also wrote a list of our Top 10 Tips from the walk which you can find here. We’ve mentioned them throughout this post, but they’re summed up in a nice little list here for you as well (in case you don’t fancy reading about our full adventure!).
James’ Health Update
At this point, you might be wondering about James (or maybe not!). He went to the doctor a full two weeks after finishing the walk, and he was told that he had ligament damage in both of his feet, soft tissue damage in his right leg, and nerve damage in his left thigh and toes.
No wonder he was in so much pain.
This is not a normal injury, and it’s far from being common. We learned how to counter this from happening in the future, and it’s a tip that we will never forget. Refer to our Top 10 Tips post to see what the trick is.
Just to give you an idea of how damaged his legs were, we’re writing this post three years after completing the walk and he still has no feeling in part of his left thigh!
Have you walked along Hadrian’s Wall? How did you find it?
Are you thinking about doing the walk? Did we encourage you or put you off (hopefully not!)?
Do you have any other long distance walks to recommend to us? We’re hooked after doing this one!
Tell us below in the comments.