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I'm on Hadrian's Wall.
Hadrians Wall (Newcastle)
Member Name: Spellbinder4
Hadrians Wall (Newcastle)
Disadvantages: Roughing it.
Apparently Hadrian was a rather decent sort of chap. When he came to power he did indeed have all the leading Roman military leaders murdered so as to start off with a new broom, but apart from this rather drastic (and typically roman) act he set about making things relatively peaceful and sought to consolidate the empire rather than let its expansion run away and get out of control (perhaps he should have been in Banking).
And so Hadrian's Wall was built more to say - this is the limit of our empire, this is far enough rather than just to keep the marauding scots out.
His wife apparently refused to have a child with him claiming the thing would be a monster. She seems a touchy sort - but he did have a young male companion who drowned and left him inconsolable. So maybe she felt left out.
The wall runs from the coast by Newcastle to the opposite coast beyond Carlisle and on to the Solway Firth.
The wall itself is only a few feet high nowadays but is accompanied by what seems like countless remains of roman occupation along the wall, close by it and a short way from it. There are numorous excavated sites and museums to visit along the route and this could be treated as a tour of the wall in itself.
But we'd come to walk a section of wall to see if we'd like to try the whole thing from coast to coast at a later date.
We arrived in Northumbria with no hotel booked and decided to book on arrival. We had Hayden Bridge in mind as somewhere to head for - it looked pretty on the internet with the river running throught the centre but in reality it seemed a bit tired and run down.
So on to Haltwhistle and what a lovely place, more about that in another review I think.
Without realising it we had arrived at possibly the best part of the wall and set out from Haltwhistle bright and early. A two mile bus ride (a roller-coaster ride in itself) and we arrived at Housesteads Roman Fort.
We didn't sightsee here as we were champing at the bit to get up on the wall. And get up is right - it's a fair little trot just to get up on the wall.
I had imagined that the walk would be a rather mundane affair but nice and long with a few things to visit on the way. Not a bit of it.
To my surprise much of the wall is set on the top of what are really cliff-faces and is quite dramatic. There are woods to walk through, lakes to see over and the wall drops and rises quite severly in places and is not for the unfit. We came to a part of the wall where you all but have to climb down a steep drop and at this point the wind came up and made it quite hairy - the other half clinging to the ground for dear life - how we laughed.
I found the views looking north glorious and the brooding colours of Northumbria really give a feeling of portent and help you feel just as those roman legionairies must have felt nearly two millenia ago.
We came off the wall at a waterfilled quarry and followed a trail back to Haltwhistle. This led to an exceptionally beautiful ravine that felt as if we were walking through Lord of the Rings country.
All in all about seven miles and absolutely marvellous every step of the way.
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