Or: How I plan to walk Hadrian’s Wall

The crazy idea was conceived during a few days break in Edinburgh in mid-June 2011.  While innocently searching through the English Heritage handbook I was suddenly impressed by how many sites EH managed along Hadrian’s Wall, in the north of England – sites which I’d never visited before.

Then, quite as suddenly, the thought popped into my now-fevered brain – ‘how about walking the Wall’ …voicing this to my wife, brought on a fit of laughter, so it was quickly dispatched to the nether regions of the mind. However, the seed was firmly planted & obviously grew in my sub-consciousness, emerging a few weeks later as I spent time with my good friend, John (from Grimsby). John’s a veteran walker, and when I suggested the challenge to him, he responded very favourably…

By then I’d also formulated the idea of walking for charity – attracting sponsors in order to raise funds for Fresh Hope Ministries International, working into Sierra Leone in West Africa, with various social & missional projects – orphans, abandoned babies, schools (to mention just a few).

Chatting with John, we decided to give a couple of days to “recce” the Wall (as they say), so we determined a date in August when we could drive to Bowness (west of Carlisle) then travel the length of the Wall by car (86 miles) across to Newcastle, stopping at various intervals to spy out the land. Below are some of the scenes we encountered (pictures aren’t mine…just some out there in the public domain)

You can imagine that the further we travelled, the more excited we became … and the ‘idea’ continued to gain momentum. We talked non-stop, and decided that it would be reasonable if we aimed to complete our challenge in 6 days … something in the order of 15 miles each day – with 5 nights in bed & breakfast accommodation, along the way. Returning home we checked our diaries and pin-pointed Monday 11th June 2012 as the starting point in Bowness, finishing at Wallsend (Newcastle) around midday on Saturday 16th June. 

So, with dates duly fixed the great, immediate task before us is to get ourselves ‘in shape’.  I need to be honest here, confessing that I am probably 20 pounds on the heavy side, and unused to exercise of any kind, apart from an occasional, lazy walk into my town centre – about 15 minutes from our house.  However, for the record,  and hopefully to reveal my current high level of determination, I must say that since the momentous decision was taken to go for this adventure back in August , I have walked more than 100 miles, averaging around 3 miles a day…the longest single outing so far being 9.5 miles around some local villages, which took me 2.5 hours … quite an impressive start, methinks. I only hope that the enthusiasm does not ‘wane’ once we hit some of the bad weather which will certainly be coming our way in the next 3-4 months.

Anyhow, I will use Monthly Musing (from time to time) to bring you up to date with this idiot’s progress in preparation to meet what some may deem to be a totally crazy challenge.  The Russian novelist, Dostoevsky writes in The Idiot, “The causes of human actions are usually immeasurably more complex than are our subsequent explanations of them, and can rarely be distinctly discerned”.

Why not take a SELAH moment – pause for thought…and enjoy this scene

And hope you’ll have loads of fun, even laughter,  at my expense.


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