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Day 11 - Alston to somewhere near Caw Gap on Hadrian’s Wall.

Yes, I’ve made it to Hadrian’s Wall! 😀 I don’t really know what to say about today beyond that it was absolutely, unequivocally awful.

Evelyne left last night, collected by our amazing friends Jim and Tink who drove all the way to Alston to collect her. So this morning was a bit strange getting ready to set out on my own. I didn’t actually sleep well. Maybe I’m going native and can only sleep on the ground now. (?)

I knew the weather was meant to be terrible so I set off at 6.15 to try and beat some of the rain, which I did until about 8.30. But then it really started, and so did the moors and bogs. Ahhhhh! I got off track more times today than any other day. It does help to have 2 people scanning, but it was also that the tracks were sometimes barely discernible and of course the rerouting for the bogs didn’t help.

Anyway, to cut a long and very repetitive story short, it was awful. Have I mentioned that? One boot was full of water from about mile 8. The other not too long after that. It was like a marathon, minus 4 miles, in horizontal, cold driving rain, in boots that felt they each weighed 3 kg. They can’t have been far off. There was no shelter anywhere. The only stops I made were to eat quickly, but I only sat twice in the whole day apart from when I reached the Hadrian’s Wall visitors centre and sat and steamed with a magical coffee around 3.30pm.

Clothing that says it’s waterproof should come with a time indicator. Waterproof for one hour, 3 hours or 5 hours? By the time I arrived at the campsite about 6 miles along and half a mile off the wall everything had failed and I was completely, from head to toe, sopping wet. Thanks to the wonderful lady at the campsite I have a bed in a bunkhouse and my things are wedged into their boiler room or in their tumble drier.

I genuinely don’t know how I kept going. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, so in some ways I was glad I was on my own, but it was tough. Despite the lack of places to stop, having someone else there makes a difference. You talk and laugh as you eat, even if it’s gallows humour about how miserable we are, but on my own it was ‘stuff damp food, move on’.

Many of our mentoring sessions happen over food. There is something about a meal that brings people together, aids conversation and makes things feel more ‘normal’. During a cooking session with some of the young people on the Lifeskills course we run at HMYOI Wetherby, one young person commented, ‘This feels just like going to my nans on a Sunday. Eating together like this makes me realise what I’m missing, not just the food but good company.’ That’s a feeling that’s worth recreating and in time it will hopefully become something they can share with others too.

I’m now clean, warm and fed and hopefully my stuff will at least be partially dry by tomorrow. I’m not thinking about tomorrow because it’s a bit scary, with more rain forecast. But I survived todays epic. Maybe I’ll sleep on the floor.

Only joking. 😀

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19 comentários

Stuck for words to express how I feel, what a nightmare few days.

Definition of a HERO - courageous, noble of character,

Recognising a need in spite of consequences to oneself,

Your too humble to think that I’m sure but YOU are in our eyes.

Your Team will be ecstatic when you cross the finish line, God speed Mark !!!


Thought of you all day, Mark, as the rain came down in torrents here in Kirkbymoorside. Hope today is at least slightly better! Nice photos- nearly two millennia of the stonemason's craft. Love from J & T.


Charles Rhind
Charles Rhind
23 de mai.

Well done Mark! I didn't realise Evylyne was your walking companion!


John Holden
John Holden
23 de mai.

We were thinking of you yesterday off and on as the rain kept coming down. The small group prayed for you last night and continue to hold you up to the Lord Mark.

The finish line is getting nearer Bro.


Hear hear to all of the above comments from your lovely supporters! Praying for a rainbow day today. 😊

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