Saturday, September 10, 2011


RobertDominic, and I celebrated the end of the fifth day of the walk with a fine dinner at the local pub in Newtown.  As planned, Dominic returned home later that evening, and Robert and I left the following morning for Carlisle, where Robert would catch his train home and I would spend the night before the final day's walk to Bowness-on-Solway.

Between Newtown and Bowness-on-Solway, there is little remaining evidence of Hadrian's Wall, though one occasionally sees the vallum and ditch that once flanked the southern and northern edges of the wall, respectively.  One hardly misses the Roman stoneworks, however, for this section of the walk has its own charms — woodland paths, wildflowers, quaint cottages, and a delightful stroll along the River Eden before reaching the interesting town of Carlisle.  It was a fitting time to reflect upon what a wonderful trip this had been.

Day 6:  Newtown to Carlisle

Woodlands Path

Cottage Along the Path


Through a Field

Knapweed and Yarrow (I think) Between the Path and the River Eden

Taking a Break

Named "Linstock Cottage," this working farm  is an
extension of the fortified remains of Linstock Castle.

Path Shared With Cycleway Near Carlisle

 Carlisle Town Center and Market Hall

An Fascinating Exhibit On Walls That Divide and Separate Us

After Robert's train departed from Carlisle in the afternoon, I went to the Tullie House and Museum and saw an exhibit on walls that have been constructed throughout the world to divide and separate populations.  I wanted to see the exhibit because it was a fitting reminder that, in many respects, we are still approaching our problems as Hadrian did when he ordered the construction of the Roman wall in the early 2nd century.

Tullie House and Museum

The walls exhibit consisted of a series of concrete walls, each of which had a large fissure revealing a montage of relevant photographs.  On the concrete walls themselves, above and below the fissures, there were reproductions of some of the graffiti that has been discovered on the partitions in various countries.  I took photos of a few sections of the exhibit, and I will let the photos speak for themselves here. Personally, I found the exhibit to be very moving.  (Clicking on the center of the photos below provides enlargements which permit some of the smaller writing to be read.)

Day 7: Carlisle to Bowness-on-Solway

The final fifteen mile walk from Carlisle to Bowness-on-Solway began along the River Eden and passed through several charming villages before reaching the Firth of Solway.  Among the charms of the day were a couple of interesting churches, one of which has great historical significance.

Leaving Carlisle

Bridge Across the River Eden

A Woodland Path

Along the River Eden Again

St. Mary's Church in Beaumont
(constructed in the 13th century
on the site of a turret on Hadrian's Wall,
using stones taken from the wall)

St. Michael's Church in Burgh-by-Sands

St. Michael's Church, which was also constructed in the 13th century with stones from Hadrian's Wall, is located in the center of a five-acre area that was once the site of the Roman Fort, Aballava.  The church has additional, historical significance because the body of King Edward I (known also as "Hammer of the Scots") was laid to rest here in 1307 after the King died of dysentery on Burgh Marsh while waiting to cross the Firth of Solway for an encounter with the forces of Robert the Bruce.

Door to St. Michael's Church

Vicarage at St. Michael's Church

Being from Easton, Maryland and headed for Bowness on Solway,
I obviously found this road sign to be of interest.

The Firth of Solway at Low Tide — Scotland on the Distant Shore

The Last Woodlands Path Into Bowness-on-Solway

The Official End of the Hadrian's Wall National Trail

Thanks to Robert and Dominic for helping to make this walk one of the most memorable experiences of my life.  As the travel writer Tim Cahill has written, "a journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles."

Where to next?  No limits except my imagination.

Photo Credit:  The photo of Tullie House and Museum is from  All other photos taken by author.


  1. Well, that Walls exhibit does look moving, as you say. I wish I'd seen it. And that last stretch to the coast - beautiful. I must walk it some time. I also find it moving that you found the whole walk so memorable - and that Dominic and I played some part in this. Thank you so much, George - for contributing to what were also some of my most magical days. The imagination has no limits, and the best is always yet to come.

  2. Thanks, ROBERT. It was a memorable walk, indeed, and it would not have been nearly as memorable without you and Dominic along for the best part of the route. I can't remember many other times in my life when I have been surrounded by such kindred and adventurous spirits. Yes, I agree! The imagination has no limits — indeed, it is one of the few places in which we can enjoy utter freedom — and I truly believe that the best is yet to come.

  3. Thank you for sharing this remarkable experience and all the interesting historical footnotes. I've seen only a small section of Hadrian's Wall, although I've visited a number of the same villages, towns, and cities, including Carlisle, to which you traveled.

    I would have found the Walls exhibit of great interest. Lucky you!

    Wherever you go next, I know it will be with a spirit of a great adventure.

    My husband and I, btw, have visited Easton, Md., a number of times; we have friends there. It's charming and delightful.

  4. Thanks for your lovely comments, MAUREEN. So glad to know that you have visited Easton and left with a favorable impression. It is, indeed, such a small world!

    Yes, I will continue to go forth in the spirit of adventure. As Helen Keller once said, "life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing."

  5. What a fine way to spend a part of this summer. A wonderful adventure. I am particularly smitten by St. Mary's church and the gravestones in the churchyard. A very nice composition. I'm always drawn to photos that have a variety of lines and your "Linstock Cottage" photo is a fine example of some great lines.

    That place for the break looks inviting, too. I find out of the way pubs and cafes to be nice finds.

    Well, That was nice. Thank you so much for sharing your adventure with all of us.

  6. Thanks for the lovely comments, TERESA. Yes, it was a delightful adventure, hopefully only one of many to come. Putting one foot after the other is a wonderful way to experience the world.

  7. What beauty, George. What soul-filling beauty.

    I could relate to what you wrote about your final day of walking, how you needed time for reflection, without the wall to absorb your attention.

    All your photos are beautiful — the woodland paths, meadows with flowers, the stone cottages and villages, the churches and churchyards (wow!), but I think my favorite (not that favorites are important) is the interlude at the Stag Inn with your (?) hiking gear leaning on the picnic table. There is something about that scene, knowing the photographer is the hiker, and that soon he will seek rest and refreshment inside that door, that is gratifying.

    The graffiti on the various walls separating people are really moving. I watched a tremendous TED presentation yesterday that I think you would appreciate in light of these displays, of a woman named Julia Bacha about the Palestinian village of Budrus and their nonviolent protests that the media fail to publicize. It’s here if you’re interested.

    I’ve loved each step of this meaningful week you’ve shared in your inimitable way. Thank you.

  8. Thanks so much for your kindness, RUTH. Glad that you liked the photos, and your discussion of the "taking a break" photo reminds me of something that I, as a photographer, need to remember: The value of some photos is that they tell a story about things which may not even be visible in the photo.

    I viewed the Julia Bacha talk and enjoyed it immensely. I'm not really familiar with TED, but I've now bookmarked it. I'm looking forward to returning and viewing more of the talks. They look terrifically stimulating.

    Have a great week!

  9. George - your whole Wall series has proved fascinating. Although I don't live too far from the wall, I have only ever 'done' bits of it - to see it in its entirety is wonderful, particularly with such excellent photographs. I can well imagine that you treasure the experience.

  10. Hi PAT — Thanks for your kind comments. I'm delighted that you enjoyed the photo tour of the wall, and, yes, I will always treasure the experience, especially the days I spent walking with Robert and Dominic. Have a good week!

  11. An experience to cherish for the rest of one's life.

    Walking the line of a wall means that one has the freedom to walk either side; not many other walls give this freedom. Whereas the others in the exhibition are meant to keep people apart, Hadrian's wall, hundreds of years later, shows how very futile such an undertaking is.

    All divisive walls are erected only to be pulled down again by history.

  12. Well said, FRIKO. My reaction to the walls exhibit was also very much in the context of the Hadrian's wall experience. History teaches us that, eventually, all walls come down. It seems part of our evolutionary path.

  13. The stonework of the architecture is so impressive! I love the photo of the blue boat at low tide. To walk with friends is one of life's greatest joys. Wonderful trip, George!

  14. Hi BARB. Sorry, but I just discovered your comments. Somehow, it got lost in my list of emails; I must have thought that it was a comment which I had already posted and answered.

    In any event, I'm delighted that you liked these photos, and, yes, as you well know, walking with one's friends in one of the truly great experiences of life. Thanks.

  15. Hello, George. I have just finished reading your entire series about your Wall walk, and found it beautiful and very informative. My 23yo daughter and I are planning a visit there this summer, and are becoming more and more excited by the prospect as we plan and learn. Your blog, aside from being so delightfully well written and accompanied by lovely photos, helps us to anticipate physical needs as well as places we don't want to miss along the way.

    Thank you so much for sharing your adventures and thoughts!

    Covington, GA

    1. Your welcome, Valerie. If I can be of any help, just e-mail me. By the way, my wife and I recently moved to the Greenville, SC area (near Anderson), which is not to far from where you live. If you are using someone to transport your heavy luggage and arrange your accommodations, I would recommend NorthwestWalks, which I have used on two occasions with excellent results.

  16. Hello George,

    I have just been viewing your blog. Very creative and enjoyable to read. I live along the wall and know how lucky I am to live in such a place in the world as this.

    I am a teacher and enjoy art especially. This summer I hope to begin a series of watercolour paintings along the wall, walking it myself with my husband and 7 year old daughter.

    If Valerie and her daughter are looking to stay near Carlisle for the night, we would be happy to offer a spare en suite room that sleeps 2. Just a thought.


    1. Thanks for the comment, Winter Rose. You are indeed lucky to live in such a wonderful area. As for your offer to Valerie and her daughter, I will try to alert Valerie of your offer.