|St. Nicholas' Cathedral, with its 14th century lantern tower|
|The Millenium Bridge|
|St. Peter's Marina|
Once out of the city, the trail followed Hadrian's Cycle Path (no. 72), passing through suburban parklands and post-industrial wastelands, only some of which have been redeveloped and revitalised like St Peter's Marina. Today's walk may have been less beautiful than many other days on the Hadrian's Wall Path, but it was essential to reach my goal - Wallsend and the North Sea!
And here it is - the end of the Wall!
Right below it is the recently excavated site of ancient Roman baths, a reconstruction of which has been built within the grounds of Segedunum Roman Fort and Museum.
However, the reconstructed bathhouse, which is supposed to be impressive, was closed because of damage to the roof during last week's windstorm, and several other galleries and "interactive exhibits" in the museum were closed or broken down and awaiting repair, making it a bit of a disappointment for my six pounds. Nevertheless I went up the tower in the glass elevator to look out from the viewpoint over the grounds of the fort and the view of the river and the city in the distance.
|View of Segedunum Roman fort site from the observation tower|
|View of the observation tower from Segedunum Roman fort site|
One fun exhibit at the museum showed what Hadrian's Wall would look like if it were a metro system.
Another showed where all the Wall Walkers who visited the museum came from. I stuck my pin in the appropriate spot.
A section of Wall has been reconstructed alongside the remains of the old Wall, to give visitors an idea of how tall it was, how it would have looked, and what it feels like to walk along the top of it.
|New and old Wall|
|Hadrian's Wall - done!|
Segedunum marks the end of Hadrian's Wall and the end of Hadrian's Wall Path. But after visiting the site, getting the final stamp on my Hadrian's Wall Path Passport and collecting my certificate of completion, I carried on along Hadrian's Cycle Path for another ten kilometres to Shields, to make it not only a complete Wall walk but a complete coast-to-coast walk, from the Irish Sea to the North Sea!
At North Shields I boarded a ferry across the Tyne, a seven-minute journey to South Shields, site of the Roman fort of Arbeia. The gatehouse of the fort has been reconstructed to give you an idea of what it would have looked like in the days of the Roman Empire, and admission is free.... but sadly the site is only open May through September, and today being the first of October, it was closed.
I peered at it through the gates and then carried on past "Hadrian's Primary School" and down to the beach at the mouth of the River Tyne on the North Sea, where I finally stopped tracking my walk!
|Newcastle - South Shields 22.5 km|
This was the end of my walk, but not of my adventure. I took the ferry back over the river and then a bus into Tynemouth to visit the ruins of Tynemouth Priory, perched on the top of a cliff over the pounding waves of the North Sea.
|Tynemouth Priory, built in 1090|
On the beach below the ruined Priory, a woman was drawing concentric circles in the sand.
|Land art on the shores of the North Sea|
But then, why did I walk across England?
It makes just about as much sense!