lonesome roads

The Hadrian’s Wall Walk: Beauty and Blisters

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I recently spent 7.5 days walking coast to coast through England’s northern heartland, following the path of the Roman emperor Hadrian’s Wall. Nearly every one of the 84 miles was beautiful.

Lake on the ancient Hadrian’s Wall walk in England ancient Romans in BritainHadrian’s Wall walk in England ancient Romans in BritainAncient Roman emperor Hadrian’s Wall in Britain Ancient Roman fort in Britain along Hadrian’s Wall

I loved the soaring vistas of the crags and moors, the quiet lakes, the cozy pubs where I’d put my sore feet up and drink pots of tea or an end-of-day pint of real ale.

And of course, being me, I loved the ancient history.

Solo female traveler on the Hadrian’s Wall Vindolanda fort walk in England
Me and the ancient Roman fort of Vindolanda.

But one of the things I loved most was the people I met along the way. Doing something like this – well-trodden enough to feel safe doing it alone, but not overwhelmingly crowded because I guess most people aren’t into old Roman walls as much as I am – means I mostly met cool and friendly people along the path. They cheered me as I teetered on wobbly stones over mud pits, as I slowly climbed down stairs big enough only for nimble cat feet, as I slogged through wet fields in my sodden sneakers.

My blisters remain, 6 days after I finished my last steps of the 84 miles, but so does the confidence I found in the endless rhythm of those steps.

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