C2C & HCW day 4: Hexham to Carlisle

What a beautiful day! Hadrian’s Wall Cycleway didn’t disappoint and the weather was perfect. The only downside today was our sore nether regions, which made bumpy sections of the route particularly challenging 😆.

From the elevation profile of today’s route, we could see it was going to be another rollercoaster day. When we reached the first climb, it said 1 of 9 and I was a bit worried that Ruby’s battery might run out again. However, none of the hills were as steep or challenging as on day 2, and I dug deep and managed to use much less battery, reaching the tops of all the hills without any issues.

The scenery was stunning… so green, with views far into the distance. After a while, we could see Whin Sill escarpment with Hadrian’s Wall running along the top, bringing back memories of an autumn holiday when we walked along it, a few years ago. After dropping down from a high point on the route, with an eye catching signpost, we passed on old lime kiln. There was so much to see.

After passing Sycamore Gap, we joined the main road, which really was like a rollercoaster. A few times, we powered downhill and the momentum from the downhill carried us back to the brow of the next hill, which both of us loved, laughing as we reached the top with a minimum of effort! We then stopped at the visitor centre for a coffee and a snack before doing the optional ‘more wall’ variant of the route.

We paused at Windshields Crag, where the highest part of the wall is, and it stretches in both directions. The road from here took us through beautiful and remote countryside, with amazing views. The weather was lovely too… we’ve been very lucky.

After a while, we took an unsurfaced track, through fields of cows and calves… scary… and sheep and lambs… not scary! We came close to an impressive section of the wall again. It’s amazing that it was built so long again and is still so intact.

Joining the main road again, we swept up and downhill to Greenhead, where we stopped for lunch. Then we followed a pretty river valley, before climbing yet again.

A slight aside… as it’s the platinum jubilee weekend, I’ve been enjoying seeing all the amusing tributes to the Queen, as well as all other sculptures, and models advertising local attractions.

The scenery has been stunning all day but, my favourite part was a 3-mile section of Hadrian’s Wall, by Birdoswald Fort. I’ve been fascinated by the Romans since I did Latin in school… they really were innovative for their time. It must have been a shock for them coming from Italy to Northumberland though!

We passed mile castles and watch towers and evidence of Roman life just kept coming. It’s amazing that so much of the wall and so many forts and mile castles are still visible. I can imagine the Romans and their slaves going about their daily lives.

Finally we left the wall, and dropped steeply downhill to Lanercost Priory, then steeply back uphill to Brampton. Surely that’s all the climbs done by now?!

There was just one more big climb out of Brampton before the ride became more gentle past fields and through villages. By now my legs were aching and I was using my bike’s motor more, while still trying to conserve the battery. I complained to John that my under carriage was feeling sore, and he admitted to the same issue. Despite only having 6 miles to go, I insisted on a break. Thankfully, John had just seen a sign for a tearoom at Eden Golf Club.

Suitably refreshed, it didn’t feel too far into Carlisle. We cycled through Rickerby Park and soon reached our B&B, where we were glad to get off our bikes and relax. Tonight we’ve had a lovely Greek meal. I wonder how many people cycle across the country and back and still manage to put on weight!

One thought on “C2C & HCW day 4: Hexham to Carlisle

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  1. Another great effort! I’d also be fascinated with the wall, also having done latin at high school.

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