Hadrian’s Wall Path, day 1: Bowness on Solway to Beaumont

We were in Carlisle, but had to get to Bowness on Solway, where the Hadrian’s Wall Path (HWP) [1] starts (from west to east and finishes from east to west). Luckily, there’s a bus.

Apparently, the bus service was cancelled some time ago, but then was reinstated. I forget where I heard that; possibly from other passengers on the bus.

Carlisle to Bowness on Solway

We got the second 93 bus to Bowness on Solway, where the guide book [2] said the King’s Arms would be open; reality said it wasn’t. Disappointed, we went to a café–bar affair, where we had an excessive amount of tea for one person each. I acquired a horned pencil for journalling purposes.

Carlisle Castle from the 93 bus

We extended our walking poles, and set off back to the road sign indicating that Wallsend at the end of Hadrian’s Wall (See what they did there?) was 84 miles to the east. Wallsend, if you want to be pedantic, perhaps should be called Wallstart because the Romans started building the wall in the east, according to the guide book.

Then we headed off to the official start of the Hadrian’s Wall Path, a small shelter on Banks Promenade, and stamped our passports. We were finally ready to roll.

Bowness on Solway to Beaumont

The walking was on flat land, so it was pretty easy going. Some of the path follows an old train line that George Stephenson’s Rocket [3] travelled on in 1829, according to the guide book. The weather was clear, so we could see Scotland over the Solway Firth.

Along Hadrian’s Wall Path, there are various honesty boxes set up by kind people who set out drinks and snacks in sheds or boxes for weary walkers in return for money slotted into a cash box. One such place, Laal Bite in Drumburgh (pronounced as Drum-bruff), even has a much-appreciated loo. Outside, there are apple trees, from which I scrumped a carefully selected apple. The initial tartness gave way to juicy deliciousness. Never have I had a fresher apple. I saw the first red admiral [4] I’ve seen in years sunning itself on the nearby wall.

The marshlands over the road were full of cows; one was on the road stopping traffic before moving on, some were on the grass on our side of the road, where we were walking on the embankment used as flood defences from the tidal marshlands, so it was almost-but-not-quite like walking along the Great Ouse in the fens. I was wary of the cows because it was like walking along the Great Ouse in the fens [5].

We saw HM Coastguard rushing out across the marshlands from a couple of vehicles parked on the road.

We stopped for a drink in the Greyhound Inn, with the nearby Edward I statue, in Burgh-by-Sands (pronounced Bruff-by-Sands) before finally reaching Beaumont (pronounced Bee-mont), where our campsite for the night was.

We were assured by the guide book that the wall really had existed here, even though there was no sign of it.

Beaumont

We set up the tent, and the man showed us the facilities. There were two bathrooms, a reading room, a communal area with a table and chairs, and snacks, drinks and stuff like that. It was a nice campsite, and the gadgie was helpful, if a little intense.

After showering and changing into our evening clothes, we set off to the pub, the Drover’s Rest, round the corner. It was a lovely pub, and they provided us with pleasant beverages and delicious hotdogs and chips. The barmaid said maybe we’d visit again when we walked the path from east to west. We’ll see.

References

  1. Hadrian’s Wall Path, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadrian%27s_Wall_Path
  2. George Stephenson’s Rocket, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephenson%27s_Rocket
  3. Stedman, Henry (2020). Hadrian’s Wall Path, 6th edition. Trailblazer Publications: Surrey, UK
  4. Red admiral, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanessa_atalanta
  5. pandammonium (25 June 2022). Terrifying cow incident. PandaPics at Blipfoto. https://www.blipfoto.com/entry/2987503705005230410

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