LEJOG42: Greenhead to Twice Brewed

Tuesday was a special day I’d been looking forward to ever since I’d organized my itinerary. It’s the point at which the Penine way joins Hadrian’s Wall at it’s most dramatic. I knew this because I’d walked Hadrian’s wall the previous year and noted the stretches where it overlapped. I’d said to myself that I’d be back one day but I didn’t realize it would be so soon.

There are two main features of this section that I learnt from my previous journey. The first is that it’s spectacular. The landscape consists of a number of whinsill crags rising up out of the flatter fields and moors like waves of dark rock breaking against the plain below. The wall snakes over the edge of these crags, rising and falling with the crags themselves and beautifully emphasizing their curves. The second thing I learnt is that it’s an absolute bugger to walk because it’s a rapid series of ascents and descents. The wall is a defensive construction and as such follows the hardest route possible to make it difficult to cross. Great in military terms but your legs won’t thank you or the Romans for it. When we walked it before it was blazing sunshine and I swear it almost killed us and we didn’t have huge heavy back packs. Now I’m back, it’s blazing sunshine again (in the north-east as well!), and I’m carrying over 13 kg.

Luckily today is the shortest day of all – around 7 miles – and only includes about half of the killer crags. As I set off I bumped into the scots again. We exchanged pleasantries and I offered the ‘benefit’

of my experience. I sped off because I wanted to get to my campsite as early as possible so I could catch up on my blog. However this meant having to tackle the first crags at a marching pace, which winded me almost straight away. After a few more I was weezing like a 60-a-day smoker. After a few more I was sweating so hard that drips were running into my eyes and stinging them with a mixture of salt and sun tan lotion. It was so hot nearly every other man was topless, no matter their physique. I pressed on because i didn’t have far to go and could spend the afternoon recovering. In the space of 90 minutes the effort of my exhertion had made my clothes smell like I’d been wearing them all day. Nice.

I made it to the point where a foot path took you down to the campsite at the foot of the hill. I felt like I’d been through the wars, and I knew I still had more to deal with tomorrow morning. But it was worth it to walk alongside the wall and see it zoom off into the distance like a stone ribbon chasing the horizon behind each crag.

The exhertion just added more endorphines into the mix. Bring on tomorrow!

Sent from my iPhone

2 Responses to “LEJOG42: Greenhead to Twice Brewed”

  1. 1 sue wood June 3, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    hi brendan!
    thought you might like to know that you have walked 711 miles according to your itinerary – that’s taking the first mileage figure given every time so obviously no account taken for the extra few here and there you have added to your adventures when the map is wrong! my calculator finger was knackered so i have a lot of sympathy for your little legs!
    really well done for getting this far
    lots of love

  2. 2 litehiker June 7, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    You’re doing well. I’ve reached Lairg – 105 miles to go! I finish next Saturday. Geoff

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