Imagine building a stone wall – 8 to 10 feet wide and 15 feet high – stretching from the Irish Sea (on the west) to the North Sea (on the east) and covering a mind-boggling distance of 73 miles. And did I mention, you don’t have any modern tools to accomplish the task – just those implements that would have been in use during the second century A.D.
This is exactly what the Romans did under the leadership of Emperor Hadrian. Beginning in 122 A.D. the emperor ordered a protective, fortified wall – now called Hadrian’s Wall – built all the way across Roman Britain, separating them from the barbarians to the north.
Today – almost 2000 years later – many of the stones have been carted away and recycled into other buildings, but the wall is still there for people to explore. And for those who love history and enjoy hiking, the 84-mile Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail was created for folks just like you.
This historical trail stretches from coast-to-coast and passes through some of the most beautiful parts of England – from rolling fields and rugged moorland to the vibrant cities of Newcastle and Carlisle.
David & I woke up on the third day of our journey feeling refreshed, revitalized and raring to go! Today we would be tracing two thousand years of history across the beautiful English countryside and following in the footsteps of Roman centurions who had lived and worked on the wall centuries beforehand.
Knowing that we’d be able to cover only a small portion of the path in one day, we chose to begin our hike at Housesteads Roman Fort and head west for 3-1/2 miles, ending our journey at Steel Rigg.
This particular route was said to offer some of the most dramatic sections of wall, with strenuous walking and several steep slopes.
With our trekking poles in hand and our rain gear tucked away in David’s backpack, we headed out for the day.
The start of the walk took us immediately uphill – heading towards the ruins of Housesteads Fort – located at the top of this hill.
The ruins of the fort were quite extensive and stretched out across the entire crest of the hill.
Housesteads had been strategically placed and the view from the top was amazing!
Entering the Commanding Officers house
The granaries – held stores of food including flour for making bread for over 800 soldiers.
The Granaries – side view
The Communal Latrines…I promise never to complain about having only one full bathroom in my home!
Near the north gate
The gate leading to Hadrian’s Wall Path
The Wall stretching out as far as you can see!
Looking back towards Housesteads Fort
Wet weather up ahead! The English don’t seem to mind the rain. Many of the hikers didn’t even wear rain gear.
Grag Lough and more rain ahead.
Crag Lough from a different angle.
David…looking over the edge of the cliff!
Walking into the rain and hoping that I don’t slip and tumble down into Sycamore Gap!
Taking a breather near the bottom of Sycamore Gap
Walking carefully down the uneven pathway.
Cutting through the gap on the way down the crags.
The Peel Crags in the background.
Arriving at Steel Rigg and feeling great!
Leaving through the kissing gate. Wait! You forgot something…..
You have to pay the toll!
TO BE CONTINUED……