Why restrict oneself to only one walk at a time? When two are far more exciting!

As I stride out into my neighbourhood through woods and fields I’m simultaneously traversing the path of an ancient wall 300 miles north and 2000 thousand years in the past.

Nearer to home is a beautiful lake, over a mile long and created when the gardens of the local Hall were designed in the middle of the 18th Century.

The Hall itself was host to such prestigious guests as Elizabeth I and her grand retinue in the 1500s as well as King Louis XVIII. Along with his wife and courtiers the party numbered over 350 people and they resided at the Hall between 1807-1809 after King Louis XVIII fled the French Revolution.

Hall photo courtesy of and copyright © Hello Romance , with thanks.

Nowadays the Hall with its Elizabethan and Georgian aspects is a beautiful wedding venue.

Hall photo courtesy of and copyright © Hello Romance , with thanks.

I’m further immersed in history on my second walk, this time a virtual one as part of The Conqueror Challenge, which involves a fabulous 90 miles following Hadrian’s Wall.

Hadrian’s Wall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the north of England and the hike starts off at Wallsend near River Tyne not far from the North Sea and finishes at Bowness-on-Solway near the Irish Sea.

Hadrian’s Wall was built by the Romans in AD 122 by order of Emperor Hadrian and it was the north-west frontier of the empire for over 300 hundred years.

The landscape is breathtaking and along the 73 miles of the wall, much which is alas not in existence, there are fascinating fort remains to explore!

At home I’m still standing by the lake, soaking up the serenity of the winter peace. During the rest of the year, the 35 acres site is bustling with people and particularly with water skiers, both of national and international competitive standard, including a young man who was in my son’s class at primary school.

Just up the road is the local church and one has existed on the site since 1190. It was built by Audrey De Vere, 3rd Earl of Oxford during the reign of Richard I (The Lionheart).

The current church was established in 1435 and looks very much the same now as it did nearly 700 years ago. It is incredible to think that the church registers go back without a break to 1539.

As I leave the church, my walk along Hadrian’s Wall continues and I pause for a while at Homesteads to explore the ruins of ancient Roman military site. At this vantage point, the panoramic views stretch 360 degrees across the stunning countryside and show exactly why the Romans would have chosen this location for the fort. Amongst the ruins, I happen to see the oldest toilet in England!

Following a couple of months of bleak, damp and bitterly cold weather I needed an incentive to set out for daily treks. The inclination was rather low at the thought of walking through the same familiar routes and thankfully I came across The Conqueror Challenge on various blogs to encourage me out every day!

These challenges vary from the extreme to more moderate and Hadrian’s Wall looked just ideal for my first attempt at the challenge.

An app on the phone handily allows me to track my progress as well as seeing my location in 3D on StreetView. Along the way four postcards are emailed to me packed with information and for every 20% completed a tree is planted! Participants of the challenges have ensured more than 450,000 trees have been planted since August 2020. Furthermore, I look forward to receiving a medal upon completion of the walk – I can’t remember if I have ever received one before!

To finish my post I would like to briefly mention a very special man on who passed away on 2nd February 2021.

Sir Captain Tom Moore raised our spirits in 2020 with his warm, kind and positive nature and utter determination and true Yorkshire grit in his own particular charity fundraiser. Born in Keighley, West Yorkshire (a town close to where I grew up), he served in India and Burma during WWII.

Sir Captain Tom shot to fame as he aimed to raise a £1000 for the NHS by walking a lap of his garden on each of the 100 days leading up to his 100 birthday on 30th April 2020. To say he smashed the amount he hoped to raise is an understatement. He raised over £33 million for the NHS Charities Together, an incredible feat for one individual. He gave us all hope and inspiration when it was so sorely needed proving that the human spirit can prevail when so much feels lost.

As the flag at my local church flew at half-mast in his memory, the song ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ which Sir Captain Tom Moore recorded with Michael Ball played on loop in my head. It rightly became a number one hit in the U.K. in April 2020.

Here is it for you all!

172 thoughts on “DUALITY OF WALKS

    1. Thank you and in the midst of the trauma of these years I never fail to be astonished by the new and unusual richness created at the same time!

      It’s lovely you feel the same about walking and the sense of liberation to the creative spirit!

      1. walking is the most underrated wellness activity there is – and I don’t walk every day (because I do long yoga classes around three times a week) but my spouse walks daily in rain or shine. It is good for the body, soul and mind!

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  3. You live in a beautiful area Annika. Thanks for taking me along on both your walks, nature has been such a Godsend for everyone during this time. Loved your photos, the history and your lovely tribute to the amazing and inspirational Captain Tom. Much love to you. xx

    1. Miriam, a joy to share my corner of England and so happy you could come along! 😀 Nature has been a soothing tonic for me this last year, when striding out I forget everything for a while and enjoy just being. Hopefully, it won’t be too long until we can explore further afield but for now, the virtual walks give me an added incentive to my local walks. Yes, Sir Captain Tom was an incredible and amazing man – given so much to the country in his life and until the very last of his days. When things were fraught he united us all and good to know his name and fame reached Australia!

      Wishing you a wonderful rest of the week and weekend! hugs xx ❤️

    1. Christy, this last year more than ever I fully appreciate the beauty of the natural landscape on my door-step … and I can’t wait to explore further afield again when possible! I was glad to be able to mark the wonderful Sir Tom on my post and touched how his life has touched so many around the world. Hope you’re keeping well. xx

  4. Lovely walks and so sorry to hear about Sir Tom. He had made the news over here in North America at the time he was doing the walk. I couldn’t help thinking then what an incredible man he was. Sorry to hear of his passing. Though many have been blessed by his life.

    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful comment, it is extremely thoughtful and reflective. I was amazed to learn about Sir Tom’s fame in America, but so happy for it. Yes, it is sad when he passed away but wow, what a terrific 100 years of life. I feel for his family, they must miss him so much. Such a humble down-to-earth man who touched all our hearts.

    1. Brad, this year I’ve appreciated the walks more than ever and it’s been enjoyable to research the history along the way and to share the positive nature of this activity! Thank you so much for your lovely comment! 😀

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    1. Ann, I must admit it’s been a real saviour this last to have so much nature on my door-step – we were out every day during the Spring and Summer for the hour permitted walk and it lifted my mood wonderfully. Having said that it will be heavenly to take walks further afield when possible! Hope you can too soon.

      1. I do hope the restrictions are lifted soon. Where I live, they aren’t so strict, so I can live life mostly normally, as long as I wear a mask. Which I am happy to do!

    1. Cheryl, it is typical how one doesn’t always appreciate the area near to home … until forced to do so by global events! I feel very lucky to live with history all around as well as beautiful countryside – though I won’t be sad to stretch my legs further afield when possible. I’m so happy you enjoyed the post and Sir Captain Tom will always be an inspiration to us!

    1. Melanie, how wonderful that you are taking part in the challenge and yes, desperate times calls for more unusual methods of motiviation and interest!

      Have you been along the Camino for real? I would love to do that one day, or at least part of it. Happy Walking to you too! 😀

  6. It’s amazing you live in the midst of history, Annika. I have to travel to China or Europe to find ancient history. We only have two hundred some years of history with no ancient buildings or nature.
    Your two walks are like a sightseeing tour to me. I was walking with you and listening to the narration of the history. Every site has its interesting elements so I couldn’t pick my favorite. It’s most amazing that you have the lake right by your home to watch national and international water sport and one young man is your son’s primary school friend. I would love to have the walks on a regular basis because I love nature.
    How wonderful and inspiring that Sir Tom walked 100 days before his 100th birthday to raise $3 million for charity. Thank you for sharing the song.
    I walk in my neighborhood with concrete homes. The most I could do is go to a nearby lake within walking distance.
    Have a wonderful weekend, Annika.

    1. Miriam, bless you for your wonderful comment! 😀 Your words have me appreciating both walks more than ever and I will keep in mind that ‘Your two walks are like a sightseeing tour to me.’ So often we take for granted what is on our doorstep – until l started looking at it as if for the first time! Here in the UK, we are surrounded by history, castles, old houses, wonderful parklands and forests close to where I live and much more further afield. As a child one of my favourite places was Fountains Abbey which was founded in the 1100s – although now ruins one could sense the history and reverence of the ruins.

      Sir Captain Tom Moore was indeed an inspiration for the whole country and it’s wonderful to learn that he touched so many hearts across the glove as well. An incredible feat for him and all the time retaining his great sense of humour and humility. He was a true gentleman!

      Wishing you serene times at your nearby lake and may it not be long until you can travel afar once again. xx

    1. Gill, as you can tell I’m a huge fan of The Conqueror walk and it’s meant a lot to me this winter. I began off with something that seemed possible and not too overwhelming. Enjoy yours if you sign up. Any ideas which one you’d start with?

    1. Thank you so much for joining me, Jennie! 😀 I’m so glad you like the photos – always a joy to share but rather more challenging to take in the cold weather. Sir Captain Tom Moore was an inspiration for us all and only felt right to mark his passing in some way on my blog. It is amazing that he became known worldwide!

  7. Jo’s walking friends are all at it this week with our Virtual Walks! I haven’t walked Hadrian’s Wall yet, but it’s up there with the ‘Must-Dos. Did you see Robson Green’s recent programmes on Channel 5 about walking Hadrian’s Wall? Quite motivating, I thought, though I would no longer be camping en route.

    1. Magaret, in such difficult times we are all embracing a new world and virtual walks is one of them! 😀 I love how Jo is including these in her round-up. The Hadrian Wall one has given me such a boost this winter and I always smile when I see my icon next to the wall! I hope you can visit one day. No, I haven’t seen the TV program which is a pity. haha … I’m definitely one for NOT camping out either. Although I’d love to see the wall in real life and walk a bit of it I’m not sure I’d do the whole 90 miles in real life! Lovely to meet you across the blogs! x

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