Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hiking Hadrian's Wall

The first part of the wall after leaving Homestead's Fort, one is allowed to walk on.

Bill farther along in our hike.

I can not remember when I first knew of Hadrian's Wall.  I would bet it was from National Geographic magazine, which I read from cover to cover every month as a child.  Before I learned to read, I would looked at all the pictures and asked my siblings to read the text; one of the perks of being the baby of the family!
Looking East from Homestead, where the wall goes up to it's highest elevation.

The land on the side we are standing on was Roman territory, the land on the other side, barbarians.

Milecastle 39.  There were milescastles every Roman mile the entire length of the wall.

Hadrian's Wall is amazing on several levels.  It was built over extremely rough land and in harsh conditions, by hand.  After nearly 2000 years there is any of it left.  Ok, there has been rebuilding on it in the last two centuries, but in some places it is completely gone.  This should come as no surprise as humans are very good at recycling the old into the new.  As we walked the area, there were houses, walls and barns that were definitely made out of the stones from the wall.  
Some sections of the wall are in much better conditions than others.  This is one of the better ones.

The uplift of the land with the wall built on top.  The lake at the bottom is incredibly clear.

The Lone Sycamore growing on the wall.  

We started our walk on the first day, at Housestead's Fort, going west to Steel Riggs, then down to Twice Brewed Inn.  The second day's hike was a loop from Cawfield Quarry, where the wall is completely gone, as well as a lot of land, to Caw Gap then down the road looking for Shield in the Wall (which we didn't find) then back to the quarry.  We drove to Twice Brewed Inn this day.  Both days we missed the rain showers.  Both days we had excellent brews at the inn.
Another Milecastle. 

Valums, ridges dug to slow down any attackers, are still easy to see.

One of the amazing things about meeting folks walking the Wall?  Every one had a smile on their face!  This isn't a place you can just drive up to.  You have to get out of the car and walk, walk, walk!  Some of the climbs are very steep.  Thanks to the volunteers who added the stepping stones to these climbs.

There were two sections where I really wished I had my hiking poles.  This one was on day 2.

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