Sycamore Gap – 8 September 2018

This was a walk that everyone was looking forward to.  A walk to the iconic Sycamore Gap, interestingly most of the group had never been to this part of Hadrian’s Wall despite living in the North East.

We met at The Sill National Landscape Discovery Centre. Whilst we were waiting for a couple of walkers, I introduced Jude and Andy to the group.  This was to be their first walk with us.  Poles distributed and warm up completed, we started on this walk.

We crossed the Military Road (B6318) before starting up the hill to the public footpath, on the way to the Winshield Crags, the highest point of Hadrian’s Wall.  Some of the group led by Ruth passed the footpath we were taking.  This wasn’t a problem, as the path they followed took them to the same point.  We got to the trig point at the top of the hill and when those of us further back caught up, we were met by lots of chatter between our group and some walkers who were visiting from Canada.  These walkers very kindly took our group shot before Ruth returned the gesture.

Continuing the walk and retracing our steps, we followed the remnants of the wall to the East.  Anne took a detour into the next field as she had spotted some field mushrooms.

Steel Rigg

We got to Steel Rigg and this was our first glimpse of the wall proper.  It looked daunting as it is quite a climb to the top.  Everyone was encouraged to take their time to the top.  I went ahead and Ruth brought up the rear.

Milecastle 39

We followed the wall, passing milecastle 39.  A milecastle is a small rectangular fort (fortlet).  They were placed at intervals of approximately one Roman mile along several major frontiers, hence the name.

Sycamore Gap

At this point we had walked approximately 2 mile.  Everyone said it felt like further.  Another half a mile later and we could see Sycamore Gap from the high vantage point.  It doesn’t disappoint.  We took the chance to stop for a snack/lunch under the tree.

I used my new Jacwicks Designs perch whilst watching Ruth and Andy come down the hill.  Andy lost his footing slightly and fell back onto his bottom.  I ran up the hill to check he was okay.  Thankfully he was and he made the rest of the descent safely.

Lots of photos were taken at the iconic tree.  Easily the silliest comment of the day was “what sort of tree is it?  Is it an oak?” not mentioning any names.

Crag Lough

The last hill took us to a point where we had a view of Crag Lough.  Unfortunately we weren’t able to take in the view for long, as a heavy rain shower hit.  This area is totally open to the elements, so everyone pushed on as I went back to let Ruth know the plans.  The group got to the small wooded area, where they were sheltered from the rain, but luckily for us it had stopped.  Whilst we waited for everyone to catch up I identified some wood sorrel and everyone tried some.

The quick rain shower had made some of the stones through the wooded area slippery and Anne was the one to slip.  Thankfully she was unhurt, apart from a broken box in her rucksack.  We came out of this area without any further mishaps.

The Way Back

From here we were out in open fields on our way back to The Sill.  I took most of the group ahead and Ruth followed with Andy, Jude and Chris.

Once back to The Sill I did the cooldown with the group who had got back quickly and waited for the others before replicating the cooldown again.

I hope everyone enjoyed this beautiful, if challenging, walk and I look forward to seeing you all at a future walk.

Julie x

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