Their story, in their words….
We, three students of Bishop Douglass School, set out to complete the Hadrian’s Wall trail, starting from Newcastle and ending in Carlisle. A five-day journey. With the financial aid provided by Mark Evison, we were able to plan and equip ourselves for the coming days sufficiently. Our journey first began with an 8hr coach ride from London to Newcastle, a stiff chair being our only source of comfort. Nevertheless, we arrived in the early hours, taking time to stretch our bodies and find a place to have breakfast. Soon after we set off on what would be one of the most stressful, yet, joyful experiences of our adolescent lives.
Being up North, we found the weather to be considerably colder than what we found ourselves used to in London, leading to us immediately putting on our jackets and walking shoes. Our first day would consist of a 16-mile trek to our first hostel, all of us first timers to such an extended walk we struggled; we found ourselves often taking breaks for water and a quick snack before continuing. Honestly, it was tough… We had underestimated the challenge entirely. 16 miles later we arrived in our first hostel Houghton North Farm, upon arriving at our rooms the energy had utterly drained from us. Yet, we found ourselves elated with what we had achieved that day, saying to each other, ‘We can do this’.
Day 2: Muscle pain. What did we expect? We had just walked 16 miles… Each of us felt it whether it came from our legs, backs or arms. However, we had no time to feel sorry for ourselves- we were on a strict schedule which required us to set off earliest 7 am. Another day of walking, we kept ourselves entertained with the sites and conversations of school. After a full day of walking next to the sheep, overusing our legs, drinking unbelievable amount of water and having pointless conversations to lose the notion of time and the feeling of pain, we reached our hostel. It was astonishing: we were in a bunk house with no one else booked on that date. We were so excited but too tired to use it at the same time.
Day 3: As if a miracle had occurred, the muscles had recovered, and our tiredness swept away, however that was not the only change: our stamina had significantly improved. It was great as ahead of us we had the longest day of the all. Morally, we were ready; physically, much better off than any of the other days. We were able to walk prolonged distances with fewer breaks and in those breaks with our cheese strings and Ritz crackers we were anxious to continue the walk. This day was the butter and bread of the whole journey: we finally reached the part of the Hadrian’s wall with the most jaw dropping scenery. This is when we realised it was all worth the effort. Another fantastic aspect of the day was the hostel itself, this hostel had recently renovated giving us state of the art rooms and showers (Greatest showers of our lives), plus we were also lucky enough to watch the England game with a great dinner and dessert.
Day 4: For all of us we believe that this was the second best day of the walk, this was due to a phone call from our fellow classmates calling to cheer us on and ask about our progress, this phone call was a godsend as we had been walking up a particularly steep hills. The phone call distracted us from the heat and the pain giving us the morale we needed to push ourselves to levels we never thought we could reach. As usual we walked, and we walked without stopping. Why? This was because this was the day we would arrive at Carlisle the day we would see the fruition of our endeavours, our excitement clouded our logic and due to this we arrived 2 hrs earlier than expected- we had finally returned to the civilisation we were used to: McDonalds, Waterstones(where we made up for the 2 hours because of Caeser) and many other shop and supermarkets. However, before we could leave we had to finish the trail which meant another day of walking.
Day 5: (The best and final day) During our final walk we met many others who had also taken up the challenge as well as many farm animals who were out for grazing season and 10+miles later we had finished the trail and with it, we enjoyed the view of the beach and the message left at the end of the trail. We had been through thick and thin sometimes arguing but together we succeeded. For that, we would like to thank the Mark Evison Foundation for providing us with the funding and opportunity to have this once in a lifetime experience.
The moral of this experience we have witnessed is to never be afraid of trying new things and pushing yourself forward. It’s truly amazing what can be achieved when you have two great supporting friends with you.