gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Something I’d like to do

March 25, 2010 @ 16:58 By: gordon Category: General, Travelling

I’ve been fighting The Cold That Won’t Die this week, which has consisted mainly of sitting at home coughing and sneezing, interspersed by the occasional bout of dizziness, and all accompanied by a malaise. (Actually, I did go to work for part of the day yesterday, but the experiment was not a great success and it ended with a strong suggestion that I should go home.)

Anyway, to pass the time I’ve been thinking about something I’d like to do this summer. Coincidentally, the other day my friend Rob wrote about a couple of things he’d like to do this summer  and I was surprised to see that it’s really not that different from something I’ve been thinking about for the last year or so: namely, walking the length of Hadrian’s Wall.

Ordered built by the Emperor Hadrian in AD122 to “separate the Romans from the barbarians”, its 84-mile length spans Britain from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in the east to Bowness-on-Solway in the west. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Subsequent to that, the WHS was expanded to include a similar wall in Germany and the WHS site renamed to Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site in 2005.

In addition to cycling the length of the wall and touring it by bus, you can hike its length along Hadrian’s Wall Path, one of the national trails in the UK. According to the research I’ve done, it takes an average of 6 to 7 days to complete the trail at a reasonable pace. Some people have done it in half that time, but you really have to wonder just how much they actually took in along the way. The Romans built outposts every mile or so and forts at greater intervals, so it sounds there’s actually a fair bit to see along the way in addition to the scenery.

So why Hadrian’s Wall?

The short answer is: Why not? (Have you walked Hadrian’s Wall?)

The longer answer is, well, longer. Among other things, I visited Hadrian’s Arch in Athens a couple of years ago, which was part of a wall that Hadrian had built in AD131 to separate the old and new cities of Athens. (Hadrian had this thing for building walls.) But, I think it’s the challenge of the walk itself. There’s something about a week hiking through the English countryside that really appeals to me.

Hadrian's_Wall_Path_978-1-905864-14-0_cover The Hadrian’s Wall Country website has a ton of information about visiting Hadrian’s Wall. Their Hadrian’s Wall Country Essential Visitor Pack includes a good map and other tourist information, which they’ll send to you for free. I’ve also been reading Henry Stedman’s Hadrian’s Wall Path hiking guide published by Trailblazer, which I picked up locally from World of Maps.

So, I’ve been looking at the calendar and think that I’ll be heading to the UK around the end of July for a couple of weeks. If I time everything just right, I might even be able to attend the Mega Scotland 2010 geocaching event in Perth.

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