Roman remains, rambling to your heart’s content and really good company...
FoodSome provided. Details below
Difficulty LevelsMultiple options available
1 - 3
Scan the horizon and just drink in the picturesque views across the Northumberland fells and meadows while sitting in the garden after a day’s rambling through some history-packed countryside.
This could be you if you join one of our Hadrian’s Wall weekend jaunts staying in possibly the quietest of spots in Northumberland, the Mohope Valley.
Our base for the weekend is YHA Ninebanks, a cluster of former lead mining buildings that have been stylishly converted into group accommodation with a mix of rooms including a couple of en-suite doubles.
In summer the garden at Ninebanks is perfect for outdoor living while on colder days the group will naturally gravitate towards the log burner at the centre of the lounge.
Whether you’re after a longer stride or gentle wander, there are two walk options each day with routes along stretches of Hadrian’s Wall.
In a nutshell:
- Roam like a Roman along some of the most iconic stretches of Hadrian’s Wall.
- Relax in the fantastic surroundings of the Mohope Valley.
- Realise how good it is to walk with like-minded people in great countryside.
- Rest easy knowing we have all the logistics covered – food, accommodation, guiding and transport to Saturday’s walk.
- Friday 24th – Sunday 26th April 2020 – Postponed due to Covid-19
- Friday 5th – Sunday 7th June 2020
- Friday 31st July – Sunday 2nd August 2020
- Friday 2nd – Sunday 4th October 2020
- Friday 16th – Sunday 18th April 2021
- Friday 11th – Sunday 13th June 2021
You might just encounter a traffic jam as you drive down the lane to Ninebanks – caused by hens wandering aimlessly down the road.
It kind of sets the tone for the weekend where you know you’re heading deep into the countryside and might just as well relax into it all.
Ninebanks is a bit of a tardis – from the outside you think it’s going to be a bit of a squeeze but inside it opens out into light and airy accommodation that is made for group living.
Step forward your host for the weekend who will make you welcome and introduce you to the other members of the group before preparing the evening meal.
Over dinner we’ll outline plans for the weekend before people get distracted by either the setting sun, the stars or the glass of wine in their hand!
Right then, we’re on a timeline today so after a good breakfast and having packed up our lunch, we need to be ready for the coach we’ve organised that will drive us around 25 minutes to the start of today’s walks.
Once we’ve been dropped off we’ll split into two groups – the striders who are after a longer walk and those who prefer to have a shorter, gentler wander.
- The longer option (10 miles)
The striders will be dropped off at Birdoswald Fort, one of the best-preserved sections of Hadrian’s Wall.
A quick gander at the remains and then we’re on our way following an undulating route beside the wall passing through the pretty village of Gilsland.
There’s plenty of interest as we walk along including the Magnis and Aesica Roman Forts, several turrets, and one of the milecastles (small forts that were built at one-mile intervals naturally enough!).
Our finish is at the delightfully-named Twice Brewed Inn which is an idyllic position with views across to the dramatic escarpment of Crag Lough. If there’s time we can sneak in a quick pint before the bus comes and takes us back to Ninebanks.
- The gentler wander (7 miles)
The coach will drop us further along the strider’s route, at Greenhead village and then we pick up the trail for the shorter distance back to the Twice Brewed Inn.
Saturday afternoon onwards
Once back at base, there’s plenty of time for chilling out either in the garden or in the lounge before the stomach rumbling means it’s time for dinner. As if by magic our host will serve a meal that befits a group of ravenous walkers.
Post-breakfast, we pack up and then make the easy journey to The Sill, the National Park’s flagship visitor centre at Once-Brewed.
From here we set out on a six-mile walk (if there are enough striders we will split the group into two and take one lot on a longer nine-miler via Housesteads Roman fort).
The shorter route will take us to the iconic Sycamore Gap (made famous in the Robin Hood Prince of Thieves film starring Kevin Costner), where a lone tree stands perfectly between two hills. Cameras at the ready for that one!
From there we amble back to The Sill, meet up with the rest of the gang and then decide whether to have one last meal at the visitor centre’s café with its panoramic views of the surrounding fells or go back to Twice Brewed for pub grub.
If you’d like to join this trip, please sign up on this page, where you can pre-pay the entry fee. We’ll head out on a short walk around the nearby countryside before spending the rest of the morning exploring the site. We’ll of course have lunch together before the weekend comes to an end, but you’re more than welcome to stay at Vindolanda for the afternoon!
Please note that alongside this trip there will be the usual 3-4 hour Sunday walk for the rest of the group, probably exploring the area near Alston, just down the road from the hostel.
About the Area
Running nearly 80 miles from coast to coast, the ancient fortification of Hadrian’s Wall was the northern frontier of the Roman Empire. From the modern cities of Carlisle and Newcastle, it runs in a near-straight line across the hilly interior, over the hills and moors of Northumberland and gazed down on by the mighty moors of the North Pennines. In this central section much of the wall remains, at least to a metre or so above the ground, and there are also plenty of other forts and ‘milecastles’ to be seen. Following the wall along its length is the Hadrian’s Wall National Trail, and there are lots of other paths criss-crossing it, meaning the area is excellent for walkers and there are multiple options for exploration of this great piece of British history.
Good to know:
This 250-year-old lead miners’ house offers a special place to stay in the North Pennines close to Hadrian’s Wall. It offers four-star accommodation, en suite rooms, a great social space and a terrace with wonderful views.
Arriving by Public Transport:
Nearest Train Station: Hexham
Taxi Collection: We will be offering a taxi collection from Hexham train station at 7pm on the Friday night. There is a £10 charge for this and this must be booked at least 5 days before the trip, you will only ever pay £10 regardless of the numbers in the taxi. If you cannot make this time then taxis are roughly £30.
For returning on Sunday normally other members are heading past Hexham and maybe able to drop you off, or there is a direct bus from the end of the walk on Sunday back to Hexham. We would always advise you to purchase an open return for any trains on Sunday or if you must get a time make sure this is after 4pm.
Car shares / taxi share or travel buddy: If you are attending this trip then please use the Large Outdoors Facebook Members page to request or look for travel buddies.
Parking at Ninebanks YHA – there is limited parking at the hostel but plenty of free parking a short walk away, you can drop bags etc at the hostel before going to park. There are no street lights in this area so please ensure you have your head torch with you.
- 2 nights hostel accommodation, please note bedding is supplied but you will need a towel
- 2 days of guided day walks – please note any excursions or other extra activities will incur an additional charge.
- Welcome meal on the Friday plus Saturday night evening meal. Breakfast on Saturday and Sunday and then a packed lunch for Saturday.
- As well as meals, we also provide a variety of complimentary soft drinks and beverages – tea & coffee which includes herbal, fruit and decaffeinated options and fruit squashes.
Age Limit: You must be over 18 to attend this trip, there is no upper age limit.
Dogs: I am afraid dogs are not allowed on this trip, unless they are registered assistance dogs.
Arrival Time: You are welcome to arrive any time from 5pm onwards and settle in before we serve an evening meal at about 8pm. Please let us know if you intend arriving after 10pm.
Solo Travellers: This trip is perfect for solo travellers and although couples and small groups of friends are always welcome the majority of people do attend on their own.
Rooms: This venue has a mix of private twin / double rooms and then dorms with 4 – 6 beds. We only ever offer these on a same sex basis. Please note bedding is provided but you will need to bring a towel.
Alcoholic Drinks: We do not supply any alcohol for this trip but you are welcome to bring your own drinks to enjoy over the weekend.
Kit lists – You can view our kit lists here…
FAQ’s– For important information on what’s included with our standard trips, such as what food we supply, arrival times and answer to our most commonly asked questions please visit out our FAQ’s page
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Join our members page and share stories, pictures and reviews here: www.facebook.com/groups/largeoutdoors
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What our members have to say...
My first Large Outdoors and (Ulster & the Giant's Causeway Walking Weekend) Irish experience was absolutely fantastic. Everything was organised perfectly and Gareth is a joy to be around. I loved every minute and will definitely book myself onto another trip. #toldallmyfriendstheyhavetocomeVanessaMember Since 2018
Well, for a non-walker it was certainly challenging but my word was it exhilarating! The feeling of achievement after every day, was just fabulous. The group we went with were all strangers on day one, but firm friends by the end of the week. The comradery on some of the tougher walks, helped me to the top…..and wow what views. Anyone thinking of doing it - don’t worry….just go for it!ClaireMember Since 2016
“I didn’t really know what to expect on my first ever walking holiday and wasn’t very prepared if truth be known – lesson to all read the essential kit list especially waterproofs! It was great fun and what a lovely group of supportive and encouraging people, especially Gareth who did a great job looking after us all. I must admit at times I found it a bit challenging but what a great sense of achievement when we reached the top of the mountains (hills) I will definitely do this again.ElizabethMember Since 2016