Bowness-on-Solway – to distinguish it from the one on Windermere not far away in the Lakes – is the beginning of Hadrian’s Cycleway, the bike route that nominally follows the famous Roman wall across north England from here to Newcastle. The ceremonial start is here, at this bus shelt… er, grand pavilion. We’d arrived here by cycling from Newcastle, following the Reivers Route.
The inscription says WALLSEND 84 MILES. GOOD LUCK GO WITH YOU, followed by the same in Latin, for any legionnaires who inadvertently overstayed their visa by fifteen centuries: SEGEDVNO MP LXXXIIII FORTVNA VOBIS ADSIT. Clearly the inscribers had run out of the letter U, a fate that always seems to befall me when playing Scrabble with a Q in my hand.
Anyway, so, we started Hadrian’s this Saturday evening, having cycled over from Newcastle along the Reivers Route. From here it was 13 wind-assisted miles across the estuarial flatlands of Solway Firth to Carlisle. Tim and I braved the rather edgy, boarded-up, closed-down London Road areas to earn a two-for-one deal at Pizza Hut, plus a bottle of Malbec for under a tenner – none of your cheap rubbish for us.
We didn’t really fancy the central pubs of Saturday-night Carlisle: they were very noisy and crowded, and huge, bald, tattooed, boxer-like men on the doors told us we couldn’t go in. And they weren’t even the bouncers. So a quiet night in the Travelodge it was, spent not watching Match of the Day.
Miles today: 73
Miles since Bowness: 13