hardian's wall
May 22, 2003 4:18 PM   Subscribe

Hadrian's Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage site, runs for 84 miles near the northern border of England with Scotland. Built by the Romans around 122 AD to keep out invading barbarians and marking the northern most extent of the Roman Empire, it opened on May 22rd, where, for the first time in 1600 years hikers will be able to walk the entire length along an unbroken path.
posted by stbalbach (17 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Excellent. I think I just changed my vacation plans.
posted by MrBaliHai at 4:38 PM on May 22, 2003

Fantastic - thankyou.
posted by plep at 4:40 PM on May 22, 2003

Wow, I didn't know the barbarians were so short.
posted by billder at 4:43 PM on May 22, 2003

That's very cool. I'd love to hike this. I don't know much about the Newcastle area, but I visited Carlisle several years ago and thought it was a very pretty sort of place. Anyway, long trails and highways fascinate me... this isn't that long in the grand scheme of things, but "from one side of Britain to the other" is a pretty neat idea.
posted by Mars Saxman at 4:54 PM on May 22, 2003

I didn't know the barbarians were so short.

IIRC the wall has been restored in places using stone from the original quarry. Someone may need to correct me on this.. but I think they kept the wall size symbolic or how it remained after 1600 years of scavenging in the interest of cost and it is not the same throughout with some sections fully restored around tourist hot spots.
posted by stbalbach at 5:01 PM on May 22, 2003

More on the wall and its successor.
posted by clavdivs at 5:10 PM on May 22, 2003

Mars Saxman :- Berwick on Tweed is a very nice town right on the border.... Holy Island is very close by.
posted by plep at 5:14 PM on May 22, 2003

Wow, I didn't know the barbarians were so short.

I remember finally getting to Hadrian's Wall about 15 years ago, the first time I was in the UK. I was a bit underwhelmed, to be honest, having (for no good reason at all) expected something as imposing as the Great Wall in China. Me and my buddy spent a little while hopping back and forth over it, but quickly bored of that, and went off in search of beer.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:24 PM on May 22, 2003

To give some idea of what the wall looks like, if you've seen Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, the wall they walk along after they arrive in Britain is Hadrians Wall. (Obviously they got a bit lost on the way to Nottingham)
posted by biffa at 1:27 AM on May 23, 2003

Ahh, Berwick on Tweed... a town with a wonderful history... ;)
posted by twine42 at 2:40 AM on May 23, 2003

Excellent - a MEFI thread about Northumberland! Anyone visting might also like to visit the Roman camp and museum at Vindolanda, take a boat trip round the Farne Islands and pop into the newly opened Baltic Flour Mill on the banks of the Tyne.

Mars - Newcastle is well worth a visit if your ever back in the North East. Both one of the worlds best party cities and competing for European city of culture - not bad!
posted by prentiz at 3:18 AM on May 23, 2003

More wall links in a previous thread. If you're happy just to walk along some of it, I'd recommend the middle section around Haltwhistle. On either end there are long stretches where the wall is pretty degraded or non-existent.
posted by rory at 5:14 AM on May 23, 2003

It features, amongst other things, prominent phalluses (-i, --ae?) carved into the stonework at regular intervals by no doubt terminally bored centurions pining for the warmth and entertainments of Rome.

Wot a larf, asking mum what they were all those years ago on childhood summer holidays. Must take the kids. Thanks.
posted by RichLyon at 6:12 AM on May 23, 2003

How, I've always dreamed of waling from Heddon-on-the-Wall to Knockupsworth, now this will make it possible!

My family used to spend summers in Berwick and Lindisfarne, I've got quite fond memories of those days. Getting trapped by the tide on St. Cuthbert's Isle for hours (interesting note, Cuthbert was my patron saint at confirmation, and used to live on the island precisely because no one would bother him for hours during high tide, I found it rather boring as a modern 12 year old, despite the fact that the island is covered in loose chrinoid stems (usually found stuck in rock like this) called St. Cuthbert's Beads), my older brother being showered with eels and poo from pissed off gulls (ah, sweet revenge for all the indian burns), luge lessons...
posted by Pollomacho at 7:08 AM on May 23, 2003

I remember being slightly underwhelmed when I saw Hadrian's Wall the first time too...but just from a purely historical view of the world, it's really damn cool. And as prentiz mentioned, there are some amazing other Roman relics that lie around the wall.

Then again, I adore fallen castles and crumbly structures...ye gods I miss Europe.
posted by dejah420 at 7:40 AM on May 23, 2003

If you're going to be walking it, you'll want the Trail Guide. And for background there's Hadrian's Wall in the Days of the Romans by Ronald Embleton and Frank Graham (Frank Graham, 1984) hardback £10.95:
"This book receives full marks for its vivid evocation of military and civilian life on a Roman frontier. Crammed full of inspired colour and black-and-white reconstructions, it proceeds along the wall from South Shields to Carlisle."

Wow, I didn't know the barbarians were so short.

This reminds me of St. Simeon Stylites, who spent the last thirty years of his life on a 60-foot-high pillar (hence the "Stylites," which means 'pillar guy'). He gave advice to all who made the trek out to his remote hill, including the emperor, and when he died four churches were built around his pillar. When I visited Syria I made the journey from Aleppo to Qal'at Sem'aan and actually saw the famous object. To replicate the experience (without the heat, dust, and seriously defective motorbike) go here and scroll down to
showing remnant of pillar of Saint Simeon
(pilgrims have been chipping away at pillar for years
as souvenir of their pilgrimage)
It's that roundish lump on the pedestal at right center. Pretty sad!
posted by languagehat at 7:50 AM on May 23, 2003

Mars, your comment made me chortle.

You made me think of a rugby song we used to sing, 'I used to work in Chicago.'

One verse went, 'A major trunk road from Newcastle to Carlisle she wanted, A69 she got. I don't work there anymore...'

Aah happy days...
posted by dmt at 6:24 AM on May 24, 2003

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