The length of Hadrian’s wall makes for an interesting, if lengthy hike. Recently RAF Airman Charlie Hammerton set off to tackle the 84 mile walk but his was no ordinary journey. He was looking to raise funds for charity and to get over the loss of his mother by breaking the record for the fastest hike of the wall by a human-animal duo!
No Ordinary Hiking Partner
At this point you are probably imagining Mr Hammerton setting off with his dog. But there were no canine capers on this adventure because he made the hike with a ferret! The hike was successfully completed in three-and-a-half days. Charlie and his brown ferret Bandit raised £3,000 for the hospice which cared for his mother when she was dying of motor neurone disease and also the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
After the Funeral
Charlie set off for his hike with Bandit just after his mother’s funeral. The walk helped him to recover from his loss by giving him time alone with his best mate bandit and providing a goal to concentrate on. It is always good to do something positive when you have been impacted by grief.
Apparently, sharing a tent with a ferret is an interesting experience! The animal slept well but was rather smelly! Bandit was also keen to eat well! But Charlie described the region as “absolutely beautiful” and so soon forget his accommodation issues as he revelled in the scenery. His journey attracted the attention of the media and many of the people that he met on route recognised him from the television coverage of his story.
Ferrets and the Romans
The decision to walk with a ferret was entirely in keeping with the history of Hadrian’s wall as there is evidence to suggest that Roman soldiers used the animals to hunt rabbits. Charlie chose to hike the wall because it was the Romans who first domesticated the ferret and walked with them on the same route. During his journey, Charlie was joined by other ferret owners who came along to support his efforts. Some horses and a cat also joined in!
A Different View of Hadrian’s Wall
This was Charlie’s first experience of walking Hadrian’s wall but he had previously flown over it on an RAF Chinook helicopter. He works in logistics for the Royal Air Force at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire where Bandit the ferret is the base’s unofficial mascot. He had initially intended to walk the length of England but realised that he would not have the time to do this so he walked the breadth instead.
In completing the journey Charlie became the first person to walk the entire route with a ferret. Perhaps he will start a trend!