I travel as much as possible at home (UK) and abroad. I'm always ready for new experiences
Published December 21st 2012
Roman ruins, Scottish warriors, and stunning landscape
Around 80 miles long and 20 feet high in some places, the original wall built by the Roman emperor Hadrian in the north of England would have been a formidable barrier to unruly barbarians - as the Romans described the north country tribes.
The wall has been dismantled and eroded over the centuries and now stands about four to ten feet high in most places, but a significant portion of the wall still exists. Sites of garrisons, fortifications, and towers can be seen and all 80 miles (135 km) of the wall can be walked or cycled.
Although the wall is a protected site, it's entirely unguarded and it's possible to walk the entire length via the Hadrian's Wall Path. You are free to touch the wall and even climb over it - a level of interaction with history is allowed here that certainly isn't true for most Roman ruins.
On my walk along the wall, I encountered a group of Scottish guys on a charity walk (dressed as Braveheart, naturally), who were hiding on the Scottish side of the wall in order to jump out and surprise unsuspecting people walking on the English side, much as their ancestors may have wanted to do. The wall is a highly popular location to walk for charity, so you're likely to encounter many interesting people - not just Scottish warriors.
As you walk further away from the starting point, the location becomes more wild and isolated. Down the embankment of the wall, furrows in the land from medieval plows are still visible and completely untouched. It's hard to believe that in a country as populated and developed as England, there still exists miles of Roman ruins next to medieval farms and uninhabited forests and fields.