About the challenge
Hadrian’s Wall originally ran from coast to coast and spanned 72 miles. Today we are left with only sections of this famous landmark, which cuts through the Northumberland National Park and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Starting at the Brocolitia Roman Fort, we trek for 26 miles (42km), much of which takes us alongside Hadrian’s Wall. As we walk we can admire ancient monuments, beautiful scenery and the skill of the Roman engineers who built this famous landmark. This is an extremely tough one-day event over hilly landscapes; at 26 miles, it forms an enormous challenge for walkers and will take a minimum of 12 hours. There will be full support throughout the challenge with marshals and water stops along the route.
For those of you who would like it, there is a pick up from Carlisle Station at 0600, to transfer you to Lanercost Priory. The rest of us will meet early at Lanercost, where we can leave our cars, and transfer to Carrawburgh, a settlement in Northumberland better known as the Brocolitia Roman Fort. This lies in open moorland in the Tynedale district of Northumberland. Just over one mile west of milecastle 30 it is the northernmost point of the Wall - a fitting place to start our challenging day. After a briefing and a warm-up, we set off early in the morning which is essential for completing the distance.
Our first section takes us past the impressive Housesteads Roman Fort, along crags and past several lakes. The Roman heritage of this area is evident from the ruins we pass; old Roman forts and towers dot the landscape almost the entire length of our route. We will be spurred on by the fabulous views towards Wark Forest and the barren landscapes of Cumbria ahead of us. Continuing on our undulating route, we head away from the wall briefly, passing the Crag Lough escarpment on our left. Soon after we pass probably the most recognised landmark of the day – Sycamore Gap, with its lone tree which featured in Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves film. Leaving ‘the tree’ behind us our path takes us past Cawfields Quarry walking beside the most visible sections of the wall, which run along spectacular cliff tops and through stunning countryside. When we reach Walltown Crags we break for a well deserved lunch stop. This is the home of the Roman Army Museum and adjacent fort at Carvoran – a site rich in Roman inscriptions but about which surprisingly little is known.
For the final stages of the trek we continue on to the extensive remains of Birdoswald Roman Fort, set on a high point above the small village of Gilsland, which are particularly imposing. Our last section of the route now becomes fairly flat, a blessing for our tired limbs as we follow the river west through small villages. On arrival at the stunningly tranquil Lanercost Priory we can rest and congratulate ourselves on our fine achievement. There is time to celebrate with your fellow participants before returning home.
Total distance: 26 miles / 42km
- Experienced Discover Adventure leaders and support staff throughout to manage the event safely and enjoyably
- Marshalling stops with water and snacks. These should be a supplement to water provision you bring yourself
- Bus transfer from Lanercost Priory to start point.
- personal insurance (optional)
- any parking fees or transport costs
- accommodation if required
- packed lunch & water-bottles
Approx. £50 is recommended for personal expenses. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
A coach transfer will take us from Lanercost Priory – where you can park – to the start at Brocolitia Roman Fort. There will also be a pick up from Carlisle Station to Lanercost Priory in time for the transfer to Brocolitia Roman Fort.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency mobile phones, medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires – is all done with your safety in mind.
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through.
Discover Adventure Projects
We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up. Please see our website for more details.
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with The Conversation Volunteers and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org or call 01302 388883.
Preparing for the challenge
Groups may set off at staggered intervals (depending on numbers) but you can go at your own pace. The full 26-mile walk should take approximately 12-15 hours for fit and strong walkers; others should allow longer.
This is an extremely tough one-day event. It will take a minimum of 12 hours so ensure you undertake some training in advance to be as prepared as possible.This is not a competitive event! You can go at your own pace, but if we are concerned about you being able to finish the distance safely, we will recommend you stop early. WCs are available in the in the English Heritage Visitor Centres en-route. Further information will be sent once you have registered on the event.
We trek mainly on grassy paths but there are some stony tracks and small tarmac roads; some sections may be muddy. There are steep inclines both up and down. The environment we walk through needs the respect of all its users to be preserved. Please follow the Countryside Code.
This is a long and tough one-day walk and it is consequently vital that you train sufficiently for it. We will supply you with a thorough training guide once you have registered. The more training that you do the more you will enjoy the experience! We are always happy to talk through the trip in more detail with you if you are worried about your fitness at any stage.
Weather conditions can change quickly! Even in the summer months we can be exposed to rain, strong winds and storms, so be prepared for any weather! We are travelling through varied terrain and could be exposed to bad weather at any time. This may only be a one-day event, but you still need appropriate, good quality footwear and clothing to cope with the weather conditions, terrain and distance.
Clothing & Equipment
We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.
Each person should bring a small daypack to carry lunch, camera, waterproofs, sun cream, a warm fleece and any other items needed during the day.
Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits.
This is not a race and we design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace – within reason! Due to safety and logistical reasons there will be an achievable cut-off time. There will be vehicles at certain check-points to transport any walkers who will not be able to manage the distance in time. Therefore it’s important to train hard to complete your challenge.