We started out at Segedunum, (translating as Strong Fort and the last wall fort heading east), and followed the national trail acorn signs along the river Tyne passing through Newcastle and behind industrial and housing estates. This first day was written up in the guidebook as not very pleasant but actually, being beside the river and amongst the trees, it was much better than we thought it would be… Except for the nettle bushes and my unlucky encounter with one when I stepped aside for a cyclist to pass and unknowingly stepped into a whole colony of nettles… My legs stung and throbbed for hours later!
The Sage Gateshead
It was also a little warmer than we were expecting and in-between the rain showers the sun was quite hot, for a 21 degree day. We attempted to stop 3 times either for lunch or a half pint at nice looking pubs and each time we sat outside, the heavens would open suddenly and we were running for cover, it was quite comical.
There was no sign of the actual wall today (other than the fort at Segedunum), but we were going to be walking by it or following its route give or take a few detours for the next 4 days. In Newcastle the practicalities of urbanisation meant the path followed the river more so than the wall, but the alternative would have been walking through housing estates so I’m sure the trail along the river was the right decision.
The River Tyne
The acorn is the national trail symbol
After enlisting the help of google maps in addition to the guidebook, GPS and slightly confusing directions from a local, we finally found our B&B in Heddon-on-the-wall (Heddon Lodge, 01661 854 042), settled in, then went for a lovely pub dinner in the village.