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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Hadrian's Wall should be done our way say Radcliffe and Maconie

Radio 2 presenters Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie are four days into their trek along Hadrian’s Wall, but their every step is being dogged by controversy.

Mark Radcliffe, left, and Stuart Maconie, at Bowness on Solway

They’re already over half way along the 84 mile route and have been showered with gifts ranging from cakes to baskets of pies from locals grateful for the national profile being given to the Wall.

But the question that keeps coming back to bite them is this: Are they walking the route in the wrong direction?

Listeners are divided and have been emailing in their views so Radcliffe and Maconie have got a lot of mileage from the debate in their shows broadcast from Carlisle last Thursday and Chollerford near Hexham last night.

Maconie is convinced that they are right to start in Bowness-on-Solway and walk eastward. “I like the idea of starting in the wilderness and walking into the big city plus we have the wind behind us which has to be a good thing.”

“The official route is east to west, but I can’t see the sense in it myself,” adds Radcliffe.

OK, it’s not much of a controversy, but it’s the closest you get during the banter that’s the trademark of their evening show on Radio 2.

Watching the show being broadcast from an inauspicious room in the George Hotel in Chollerford it seemed that Mark Radcliffe was doing his best to work through a pile of business cards handed to him along the way.

Live music came from folk-rock band Noah and the Whale who thrilled the small audience with three tracks from their new album, The First Days of Spring. Singer Beth Jeans Houghton also put in an appearance as did our very own Maddy Prior who lives near Brampton.

She talked to Radcliffe and Prior about Steeleye Span, Reivers and living in Hadrian’s Wall country.

After the show Mark Radcliffe said he was thrilled with the Hadrian’s Wall challenge.

“We’ve had a great time making our way along the trail almost like a Chaucerian pilgrimage as there quite a few of us,” he said. “It’s been really a friendly and heartwarming time.

“The high crags have been impressive particularly along Windshields Crag where you’re up high and look out on both sides at wilderness. Bowness had a certain bleak beauty too.”

Even more thrilled was David McGlade, national trail manager for Hadrian’s Wall Heritage.

“This is very, very intelligent publicity for us when you think about the audience for this programme who will pick up and take an interest in what Mark and Stuart are saying.

“They’re also showing that Hadrian’s Wall Country is a lot more than the wall – it’s about the places you can stay, the local produce and cultural experiences.”

Hadrian’s Wall Heritage will now be looking at how to make the most of all the free publicity they’ve gained and hope Radcliffe and Maconie will become ambassadors for the Wall to help promote it in the future.

Have your say

I think Stuart is right by saying they are walking in the wright direction west to east, they will end their walk in Wallsend if they were walking east to west they would be starting in Wallstart LOL.
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.

Posted by John B Garraway on 8 September 2009 at 14:03

These two are walking towards "WALLSEND", so that's where you'd expect the wall walk to end. It's logical. It's an equally good walk either way round, I've done it both ways.

Posted by Anonymous Walker on 8 September 2009 at 13:34

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