“Where are you going?!”
said everyone over the past few weeks.
Let me start first by saying, this is a new type of travel for both Tara & I. In one weeks time we are heading to Scotland and England to hike Hadrian’s Wall! As the Brits might say, we’re going on a walking holiday! We’ll spend some time in Edinburgh before we train to our hiking start in the West of England. From Browness-on-Solway we will walking 84 miles across England to the East, ending in Wallsend. Then training to London for a few days.
And so you may be asking yourself, what and why Hadrian’s Wall? I personally cannot pinpoint when I first heard of it. All I know is that when I was in Grad School, living in London, I had it on my list to visit, but didn’t get the chance. When I mentioned it as an option to Tara, she too had it on her list of places to see, making our plan B an easy decision.
So, Emperor Hadrian. Does his name ring any history bells? He was Roman emperor from 117 – 138 AD and the wall was begun in 122 AD. So, is it a pretty ancient wall. The wall itself marked the north-west frontier of the Roman empire for nearly 300 years, separating the Romans from the “barbarians.” Often, the wall is mistakenly thought of as marking the English/Scottish border, but that is not the case. (Hadrian’s other notable accomplishments include: rebuilding the Pantheon and constructing the Temple of Venus and Roma (as Wikipedia, a very reliable source tells me). Side note: I remember when I was in Antalya, Turkey visiting Hadrian’s Gate, a massive three arched gate, still intact, that was built in honor of his visit to Antalya. Amazing how these stone structures have survived all this time. It’s hard to comprehend how far back history goes.) But I digress, once the Wall was complete it had 80 milecastles, observation towers and 17 forts. During his rule, Hadrian left his mark on the empire and is regarded as a great emperor.
The countryside is supposed to be beautiful and I’m looking forward to seeing what parts of the original wall are intact for us to explore. But mainly I'm really excited to say, WE'RE WALKING ACROSS ENGLAND! A fact, which only dawned on me after we planned the route. Fittingly I'd say too, it will be nearly 16 years to the day, since I cycled across the United States, and now i'm setting out to walk across England! So to channel my inner Frodo, "[we're] going on an adventure!"