Hadrian's Wall Walk
I used Hexham as a base to explore some of the county of Northumberland. The day that I set aside for Hadrian's Wall started out overcast and remained damp all day. It started drizzling about halfway through my hike and became steadily more sodden as I walked on. Thank goodness for raingear!
I took a local train for Hexham out to the village of Bardon Mill, and then set out on foot from there. I walked west on the A69 for about a quarter of a mile, then headed northward on a village lane. Eventually the lane became a two-track and brought me to an old white farmhouse.
"The white farmhouse"
It looks lived in, but no one was about as I walked past.
The Wall was constructed on the orders of Emperor Hadrian probably in the 120s C.E. (He visited Britain in 121.) It was originally 73 miles long, stretching from from the Solway Firth in the west to Wallsend (get it?) on the Tyne River in the east. Mile stations - stone fortresses - were built at intervals of a Roman mile for most of the distance of the wall. It was a remarkable undertaking, testimony both to Roman engineering AND Roman willpower.
Just the cows to keep me company - I travel well by myself.
I continued on past the farmhouse - Low Fogrigg - and up a short hill to Vindolanda, the site of ruins of a Roman fort. Vindolanda is of the most important archeological treasures in the entire region.
In memory of the soldiers who served Rome on the Frontier at Vindolanda, A.D. 85 - 400."
Pity the poor Roman footsoldier from sunny Sicily or Tuscany who found himself stationed all the way out here on the cold and damp barbarian frontier. A soldier's lot is not a happy one.
Site of the Barracks and the Guardhouse
Who knows what they will find next? Some of the most interesting things have been discovered in the area of the fort which the Romans used as a garbage-heap. Apparently the damp cool mud has been very beneficial in preserving a wide range of different things over the centuries.
"A slow climb"
My hike continued along another country lane, gradually rising into higher terrain. Bleakly beautiful, I think.
I used one of the excellent Ordnance Survey maps: Pathfinder 546, "Haltwhistle & Gilsland." I highly recommend Ordnance Survey maps if you plan on doing any countryside walking in Britain.
"Reaching the Pennine Way"
The Pennine Way is one of the most important long-distance trails in Britain. It follows the course of Hadrian's Wall for a good part of its distance.