Training for Hadrian’s Wall: Spring 2014 Update – Update on My Plans to Walk Hadrian’s Wall, Postponing the Walk, Training Plan, Wall News and Much More


Well, I’m afraid it has been quite some time since I wrote an update about my plans to walk Hadrian’s Wall. There are many reasons for that, which I will get to shortly.

But first a review for anyone new to this series.

Quick Review

For those new to this column. It’s been my lifelong dream to walk the length of Hadrian’s Wall, the Roman built wall that runs from Coast to Coast in northern England. Most of the wall is still in existence and there is a National Trail that runs along most of the route, with interesting historical spots along the way. The walk is roughly 80 miles long and it takes about a week to do the entire walk. We originally planned to do the walk in September 2014. The problem is that I’m not very fit – so over the next year, I’m undertaking a series of longer and longer walks in order to prepare myself for the physical exertion needed to walk 80 miles in a week. I will not be doing the walk alone – my close Uncle Jeff has pledged to do the walk with me – he’s a keen outdoorsman with lots of hiking experience so I can’t think of a better person to join me. Throughout the journey we will take pictures, video and post updates along the way. This is the fourth in a series of articles about preparing for the walk.

Click here to see the rest of the articles in the series.

Postponing the Walk

It is with a heavy heart that my first bit of news about this is not good. We initially planned to do this walk in September 2014 but alas it’s just not going to happen this year. We’ve decided to postpone the walk until Summer/Fall 2015. Why? Well, money really.

As many of you know, we spent a month in the UK a few months ago over the Christmas holidays. And while we had a fantastic time and did tons of research for our site, the trip ended up costing way more than we budgeted. As the months went on upon our return, Anglotopia’s revenue from advertising unexpectedly went in steep decline. Thankfully, income from our second business Anglotees helped fill the hole a bit but it became clear that with September just a few months away, there was just no way we’d be able to swing another trip to Britain on such a fast turnaround.

We have also decided to devote our resources to saving for a house in our hometown so that we can get out of rented accommodation. This means that instead of paying for trips to Britain, we’re going to be saving our money for a house.

We expect to buy a house this time next year and then we’ll be free to travel again – and take this walk.

So, while we’ve postponed the September Walk, the walk is still on. And those that have followed this site for years will know that when I set my mind to something, I damn well do it, eventually.

Failures in Training

One of the things I was looking forward to the most during our last trip was going on some long walks to help me prepare for the long walking required on the Hadrian’s Wall Walk. I came to Britain armed with 4 Ordnance Survey maps, hiking books and a raincoat.

Unfortunately, during our trip, Britain was hit with the worst winter rain/wind storms in recent memory. Very little walking was done as a result. I did a few short walks but no long ones.

So, while I still managed to lose 10 pounds from all the walking we did on our trip, I didn’t clock the miles I’d hoped to.

Goals for This Summer

It’s officially spring in our part of Indiana so as the season progresses, I’ll begin walking more and more. My hope is to be able to do a 10 mile walk in a day and then turn around and do it the next day. If I can manage that by the end of the summer, I think that we be a good start for next year’s training. The longest stretch of the Hadrian’s Wall walk between stops is I believe 16 miles, so I need to be able to do that in a day.

Help Preserve the Wall

We posted about this last year but it’s definitely worth posting again. The Hadrian’s Wall Trust, which manages the wall and preserves it for future generations, has launched a new innovative appeal to raise funds to maintain the wall. They’re allowing anyone to adopt a stone in the wall for just £3 (about $5 USD). Hadrian’s Wall Trust is aiming to raise funds to ensure that the Wall and the World Heritage Site survive for future generations, to visit, appreciate and enjoy. We’ve made a small donation and hope to donate more as we get closer to our walk.

Full details here.

British Pathé Newsreel about the Wall

British Pathé recently uploaded their entire archive to YouTube and one of the gems they released as a lovely old film about Hadrian’s Wall. Check it out:

That’s it for now – I’ll post again in a few months to let everyone know how training has progressed!

Read More at Anglotopia


  1. avatar says

    That’s too bad. Very understandable though. What with having a kid now and affording DC, I don’t get back to Lincolnshire half as often as I’d like! We were in the UK during the Christmas/New Year bad weather as well – my enduring memory is barely being able to walk at Clarence Dock in Leeds for the high winds – serious!

  2. avatar says

    Props to you on being financially responsible! I’m currently renting and hope to buy next year as well. Thx for sharing your experiences along the way. You can totally rock this personal challenge! I’m rooting for you.

  3. avatarSmee says

    Good for you! I’ve set the same sort of goal for myself, without the added benefit of a trip across the seas. I’m running 1093 miles this year, or the equivalent of going from Land’s End to Dunnet Head. I haven’t done a lot of it because… well, I guess because I’m lazy, really. I have to get severely caught up on it. If you can walk Hadrian’s Wall, then I can certainly walk on a treadmill. Good luck!

  4. avatarMary says

    Good plan. Much better to wait until you are ready, and it might be more fun with the trips spread out more. I’m two years behind on my New Zealand trip but I’ll make it happen, and I’m satisfied that I’m being responsible with money and waiting until I have it to go.

  5. avatarJulie S says

    My husband and I walked the Wall in October 2013. It was tough, and there was quite a bit of cursing along the way. While not an easy journey, it is definitely doable. We are both in agreement that we would do it all over again because of the memories we made and simply because the experience was so unique. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Keep in mind that you will spend very little money on the days you walk because, well, there really is nowhere to shop! Quite remote country. If I would do it all over again, I would do it in 7 or 8 walking days instead of 6. I also probably would take a rest day in the middle (Lanercost maybe, if you are walking East to West) because the sections immediately preceding (over the crags) is very rough terrain that does a number on your legs.

  6. avatarVictoria says

    Ohh I wish I had someone that would be willing to go and walk with me…I am getting back into shape after losing quite a lot of weight and would love to walk a place with such significance to my family, but my husband won’t fly (and I’m having difficulty getting him to walk with me around here! Lol)

  7. avatarIan Park says

    On a positive note the wall has been there almost 2000 years, and hopefully won’t be going anywhere soon!

    Walking a long distance in my view is as much a mental thing as physical. You’ve got to get your head round it first, before your feet get to it, although some sensible training beforehand is also wise.

    I’m just back from walking the Tramuntana Traverse in Mallorca, which was rougher, tougher and longer in terms of hours per day than anticipated. And it was bruising on the feet. But there was enough interesting scenery and places en route to take your mind of aching limbs.

    I also find a beer at the end of each day’s walk surprisingly therapeutic. Two, a mild anaesthetic!

  8. avatarcynthia booker says

    When you first wrote about your walk, I sort of walked it on Google street view, and checked out quite a few of the lodgings along the way. Took me nearly a whole day. I am anticipating your trip and your posts along the way but agree that it is better to wait until you are fully ready.

  9. avatar says

    Boy do I know how a trip there can eat up your budget. I am still paying off my last one in May of 2013 & already I am pining to go back again. grrr Sadly I can only manage to go every other year now when it used to be an annual thing. Take heart Jonathan & remember the planning is half the fun. I wish I was young enough to join you but I will have to be happy with living vicariously through you. Besides, 2015 will be here in no time at all.
    Are you camping at any point along the way? To sleep under the stars would be amazing!

  10. avatarRobin in DeSoto says

    It stinks when the real world grinches a great plan! I’ll be rooting for you, Jonathan, for your walk, your home-buying, and Anglotopia’s growth and success.

  11. avatar says

    Jonathan ~ You – or anyone else here – maybe interested in FutureLearn’s class on the Hadrian Wall. All of FutureLearn’s classes are online and free. The class starts in September and you can read about it here:

    I’m currently enrolled in Literature of English Country Houses.

    FutureLearn is based in the UK and anyone can take classes, regardless of previous academic studies.


  12. avatar says

    With a family that includes children I think focusing on buying a home is exactly where it should be, at the top of the list. England and Hadrian’s wall will be there next year and the year after that, and as one of the comments above already mentioned, the planning of a trip is just as much fun as the actual doing. I agree! My husband’s family lives in England and where once we planned yearly trips we now plan them for every three years. Our budget and the economy has made us prioritize the need over the want, and we’re okay with that knowing that we will visit but it won’t be as often. It makes the trips out to England even sweeter for us. Hope you’ll post how your training and house hunting is going.

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