Hadrian’s Wall April 2018

I emailed an old friend, Woodsy, from primary school days who I hadn’t seen for well over fifty years to ask him if he was interested in a week of walking , during a four week holiday I had planned in England.

It was mainly our nicknames that we had in common. Mine was Leafy.

It’s easy to make new friends on the track, so I figured two old mates should get along just fine.

The main purpose of my trip « back home », was to visit my ninety three year old Mum. She’s pretty fit and in jest I suggested she join me for a week of hiking in the wild north of England in early Spring. Winter snow, a reminder of the beast from the east, was still sitting on the higher ground.

My Mum had the perfect response,

« Why don’t you go with somebody young and sprightly like yourself John, …someone in their mid sixties like you? »

Woodsy, he’s the tall one in the photos, said, « yes ». He’d grown a lot since he was eleven years old! And yet he still looked the same, just with a few wrinkles, like me! We obviously still had a lot in common.

I’d suggested that maybe we could tackle Wainwright’s Coast to Coast. A serious overestimation of my ability.

Fortunately he picked the much shorter Hadrian’s Wall path.

I’d never been to Northumberland, so it was an adventure.

Here are a few photos. I’ll post more later and let you know how two old geezers got on after such a long gap on the ‘friend timeline’.

Steel Rigg summit.

Sycamore Gap

Housesteads Roman Fort, an amazingly expansive excavated site.

Brocolitia Temple of Mithras, (a sun god).

The highlight of the path, for me, was the up-hill and down-dale miles around Steel Rigg to Brocolitia.

There’s quite a lot of road walking, and being Roman, “it’s straight”.

Mt Field – Tarn Shelf to Rodway Range Circuit.

For a small island Tasmania is blessed with more than its fair share of natural beauty, challenging walks and climbs, and easy access to tranquility and isolation.

Just over an hour’s drive from Hobart is the Mt Field National Park. In winter there is enough snow for skiers and snowboarders to use the established ski slope or head off into the higher ranges and discover their own adventure.

This circuit walk takes in some fabulous wilderness scenery. There was still some snow around in early Summer to add a bit of extra fun.

We met just one other couple during our eight hour hike. They were tackling a shorter circuit, which seemed like an attractive option to me after the climb up to the shelf. But my daughter had the day planned!!

This hike was my most challenging full day endurance test in preparation before heading off on the Overland Track. I needed a long soak in the bath when I got home.

It took me two or three attempts to climb this modest but very slippery incline.

Gnarly tree clinging to its rocky perch. I thought this looked « alien’, but I’d been out in the sun for a whole day,

A few short sections of the track have been duck boarded to protect fragile mosses and slow growing sponge plants.

The Cairn at the summit.

Mt Eliza and plateau to Mt Anne with magnificent views of Lake Pedder from morning till sunset.

My most demanding and relentless climb with a pack on so far. Phew!

Hardy souls choose a full day up and down, (6 hours if you’re fit). But it is a crying shame to rush up and down through this beautiful scenery, if you have a night and extra day up your sleeve.

My daughter and I did it with an overnight stay; there’s a few camping spots and a rough hewn stone hut (almost derelict but charming). The sunset is an amazing experience.

The photos speak for themselves.