Travellers' tales: Wall no barrier
My partner Jane had never been on a cycling holiday. She’d only started riding on the back of the tandem the previous year, and she’d last been camping 20 years ago. So how could I get her to go cycle camping? The answer was history. Jane cannot resist old stones, and I’d come up with a zinger: Hadrian’s Wall.
The plan was short cycling days, camping for at least two days on each site, and three days of rides without the bags. Highlights were South Shields Fort, with its gateway and barracks, and Chesters Fort, where we coincided with the Clash of the Romans – people hitting each other with wooden swords and wearing reproduction shoes.
At Vindolanda we saw actual Roman shoes, 1,900 years old, plus some remaining sections of the wall. Much of Hadrian’s Cycleway is nowhere near the wall, however. It does take you past the Tyne, along the older Stanegate, through nice countryside, and up and down some impressive hills.
A hundred miles is a day’s ride for some, whereas it took us ten. But going slowly, we saw unique treasures and learned much. On arrival in Carlisle came the vital question: would Jane ever do a trip like that again? Yes, she would. Success!