Hadrian's Wall 2013

One for wall, and wall for one...

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16/02/2013 at 19:26

Good luck for Wellingbrough Foon.

Sleepy Bear - CTS got back and said I can swap to North Yorks Marathon no problems

Right, down to business... done the next section of the route. Details to follow in a couple of postings.

I'll prob be going back next Saturday to do the next bit if anyone fancies joining. Looking to do about an 18-miler or so.

There's two elevation profiles. It's a bit complicated, but I misjudged the distance on the map and started running from Vindolanda west aiming to get to Gilsland and back, but realised It was way farther than I thought.

So... on Friday, I ran from Vindolanda to a place called Walltown Crags (and back to Vindolanda), then returned on Saturday (grrrrr) to cover the short section from Walltown Crags west to Gilsland to meet up with the point I finished at on the previous recce (and run back to Walltown Crags). Hope that makes sense.

Gilsland to Walltown Crags - 3.05 miles. Elevation gain 380ft. Gilsland elevation 493ft. Walltown elevation 741ft.


 Left half's Walltown Crags west to Gilsland. Right half's the other direction.


Walltown Crags to Vindolanda - 8.23 miles. Elevation gain 1,106ft. Walltown elevation 741ft, Vindolanda elevation 558ft.


 Left half's Vindolanda to Walltown, right's half's the other direction.

The countryside's a lot more open on this section, with some quite impressive views along the way, altho if it's windy it could be quite tough. Not many views of the wall though.

16/02/2013 at 19:31

Starting at the top of the hill just east of Gilsland, there's a section of just under a mile along the B6318 that I thought was quite risky to run on. I saw maybe a dozen cars along that stretch, but come the summer there'll be a load more traffic. The road's quite twisty, with high hedges in places and no verges to jump onto in places. In four places I crossed the road and ran in the direction of the traffic rather than risk running round a blind corner to find a car heading straight at me. Switch your headphones off and keep your wits about you and listen out for traffic and you should be okay though.


 Part of the iffy road from Gilsland to Longbyre to give you an idea of what it's like

Once we get to a place called Longbyre, we're out of danger. We cross the Newcastle-Carlisle rail line, then turn off onto a tarmac path from where you can see the ruins of Thirlmere Castle about 400 metres away.


 Thirlmere Castle

Into Greenhead, then left up what can only be described as a character-building hill. It's 0.4 miles from top to bottom, and 0.3 miles of that's steep. 250ft of climbing from top to bottom. I managed it at a slow run all the way, but that was on fresh legs. It's on a tarmac path that's parallel with the main road but separate from it.


 Looking down the hill we have to run up

At the top, we turn left, nice and flat along a minor road to Walltown Quarry, where there's a toilet and visitor centre that sells pop and ice cream.

Through the quarry on nice smooth paths, with a short hill at the end, then it's through a gate and a short section across grass to Walltown Crags car park. If you look left up the hill at Walltown Crags, there's a section of wall running along the ridge.


 Walltown Quarry. We run left round the lake and up a short hill to the centre of the shallow V in the top middle of the picture

16/02/2013 at 19:41


 Road near Walltown Crags

From Walltown Crags we go on a very minor tarmac road for just under two miles, passing a big kiln on the left (possibly an old lime kiln). There's a few cattle grids on that, then it's a short sharp climb to Aesica Roman Fort, also known as Great Chesters. Aerial image of it here as you don't get any idea of the size from the ground  http://wiki.worldflicks.org/aesica.html   (We run from the bottom of the image along the road, turning right across the fields before we hit the farm). Bring a copper coin or two with you, there's a Roman altar we run past where people put coins on and say prayers and wish for luck.


 The coins on the altar

There's a short section across the fields, but they're fairly flat, although it was wet in places, then it's back on a minor road from where you get a good view of Cawfield Crags, then a longer section across grassland that was fairly flat, but covered in tussocks you had to dodge round. It runs alongside the Vallum - sort of banked earthworks that run south of the wall and is quite prominent. If I remember my history lessons rightly, it was the supply road that the Romans used.


 Cawfield Crags. We run across the grass towards them

Cross a minor road at Shield On The Wall, then it's grass again, this time more lumpy and boggy. I gave up trying to pick my way across the dry bits in the end and just plodded through the mud and puddles.

Then it's a short downhill on the grass to cross over the A69 and onto a tarmac road, downhill past a campsite on the left, then a gentle uphill till we turn off onto a grass and gravel track that's fairly decent to run on. We go past a brown horse on the left (bring an apple for him)


 That there's the horse. On the left. Hiding behind the wall

Then back onto a tarmac farm road at a place called Cranberry Brow. Along the road we turn right onto a minor road, then downhill and left, then turning left again onto a tarmac farm road, then onto a grass and mud track, at which point you can see Vindolanda.


 The field near Vindolanda, which you can just see on the extreme right of the picture. Looking at the Rat Race website, I think the campsite's in this field, but I could be wrong.

The route then goes past Vindolanda on a fairly badly maintained tarmac road, with a steep downhill, then a steep uphill past a car park on the left (where I started from).

There's maybe a dozen stiles/gates and half a dozen cattle grids to deal with along the section from Gils

16/02/2013 at 19:44

...There's maybe a dozen stiles/gates and half a dozen cattle grids to deal with along the section from Gilsland, with maybe three-quarters of the route on tarmac and a quarter on grass.

18/02/2013 at 10:00

Wonderful Weedy, thanks so much for sharing these. Good info! I'm glad I have no friends right now, other than Arthur's Seat!!!

18/02/2013 at 10:01

Did you wear road shoes or trail Weedy? (sorry if you mention this earlier)

18/02/2013 at 10:10

Message to you EKGO re Manchester (just in case you don't see your inbox)

18/02/2013 at 12:04

No probs Emma, I should have mentioned. I've just been wearing my road shoes. From the sections I've covered so far, I think I can get away without having to buy trail shoes. Looking at the map last night, the next bit from Vindolanda to Hexham all seems to be on road, apart from a really short bit at the start and a bit when you run by the river as you get into Hexham.

If you look back through the posts, I've put info up about the earlier sections of the route if you're interested.

18/02/2013 at 14:11

Brilliant. Thanks again Weedy.

18/02/2013 at 14:37
Hi Emma got MSG, and as far as road or trail shoes,last year was a complete washout so I wore trail to start, I changed into road at halfway and it was fine, so this year I'm aiming for two pair of identical road shoes, old ones to start new ones to finish, unless of course it is under water again
18/02/2013 at 18:37

Yippeee - see ya in Whitby then Weedy

Thanks for the latest installment - will be coming back for a thorough read very soon

18/02/2013 at 19:28

Barefoot all the way for me (shoes that is, not actually barefoot, clearly that would be silly). Vivobarefoot Breatho Trail shoes, two pairs, toying with the idea of one pair a size bigger for the second day...

Finding my longer runs can leave me with sore feet, but reckon it's getting better as I go up - a ten miler used to leave me aching, whereas a 13 mile now leaves me sore - hopefully by the time we get there a 35 mile will be leaving me slightly tingly. 

On the plus side, absolutely no knee bother whatsoever, which used to be my undoing in regular shoes, even my lovely low padding Mizuno Wave Harriers, loved those orange guys... far too stiff and inflexible these days, so wear them round the shops...

19/02/2013 at 09:17

I got an email from sportsdirect the other day with vivobarefoot on sale and was tempted to get a couple of pairs (trail and road). Could I start wearing them now, maybe for a couple of my 7milers a week and work up or am I better buying, but saving, what do you think?

20/02/2013 at 08:48

Emma - you'd want to work your way up, start with half miles at most, and increase a bit each time. I added it in as an extra bit of running, rather than turn one of my regular runs into a half mile distance.

You'll likely get some calf soreness, but if you don't overdo the distances it should be fine. If it were me, I'd be tempted to get 'em and have a pop, see where you get. You can always keep training using your current shoes until you figure you're sorted.

Think it took me 2/3 months to get up to just plain running in them as far and as long as I wanted.

20/02/2013 at 10:55

Thanks so much pursuedbyangrybees. I am going to order some now!

20/02/2013 at 18:56

Field and Trek - all Vivos in for £20 at the minute - just got myself a couple of extra pairs... rude not to at that price.

21/02/2013 at 13:37

Hi Emma - it's taken me nearly 2 years to be able to run for an hour in shoes with a 6mm heel differential (nevermind 0) without any calf soreness so take it slowly eh... everyone's different of course but the important thing is to listen to your body or you rsik doing yourself some damage during the transition (over-stretched calves being the main danger)

I totally love em now - but I do still mix cushioned shoes into my weekly shoe rota just to give my calves a rest!


22/02/2013 at 21:17

Good luck to the Born to Run runners this weekend

23/02/2013 at 06:24
Thanks weedy its going to be a cold one...

Good luck ekgo
23/02/2013 at 08:04
Good luck Born to Runners!!!!

I did 20.5 hilly run the other day, fuelled on 2parts coke to 1part water. It was brilliant. I think it may have revolutionized my running.
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