|For as long as I can remember I've wanted to do a long-distance walk in England. I'm not really sure what drove this desire. Perhaps the promise of untamed wilderness, fresh air and wide open spaces. Or maybe it was the pubs.
England has several National Trails of various distances. After researching a few of them I decided to walk the Hadrian's Wall Trail for two basic reasons: At 84-miles long it provided a challenge, but didn't seem impossible; and because of its Roman history there would be more to see than just hills and sheep and rain.
Construction of a wall across northern England began in the 2nd century AD when Emperor Hadrian concluded that the Roman Empire could stretch no further into Britain. Upon completion in AD 132, Hadrian's Wall defined the Roman Empire's northernmost border and kept the crafty Scots (or Picts) in check. For a while at least.
I chose to walk the path from east to west, which is the direction the wall was built and is the customary way to walk it today. The path begins in the town of Wallsend, near the mouth of the river Tyne and the North Sea. It ends at the village of Bowness-on-Solway on the Irish Sea.
|I planned to do the walk in seven days, but had no set agenda. Carrying a tent and a sleeping bag allowed my schedule to be more flexible than the majority of wall walkers who take advantage of the bed and breakfasts near the path. But it also made for a heavier pack!
The trail is well-marked and I only got lost or confused a couple of times. I carried Anthony Burton's excellent trail guide "Hadrian's Wall Path" with me, which provided valuable insight into the history of Hadrian's Wall and brought life to piles of rocks.
On this website are photos and stories of the sights I saw, the people I met, the food I ate and the places I slept. Enjoy.
DOUG NELLIS, Seattle, WA, USA
A note to design nerds: The extensive use of the font Trajan on this website is more that just a typographical cliche. It is an homage to Trajan himself, the Roman Emperor who designated Hadrian as his successor in AD 117.
© DOUG NELLIS, AD 2008