I always had cravings for an adventure like those I used to do with the boy scouts while I was in Libya, so last month I decided to test myself and see to what limit I can reach. In the U.K people like to go on country side walks, the country has established trails all around the Britain for people that like to test their abilities and get to see the magnificent places of Britain. One of these national trails, is the historical Roman Hadrian’s wall trail. Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail is an unbroken 84 mile signposted trail stretching from coast to coast, from Wallsend in the east to Bowness-on-solway in the west.
It passes through some of the most beautiful parts of England – from rolling fields and rugged moorland to the vibrant cities of Newcastle and Carlisle. Hadrian’s Wall was built following a visit by Roman emperor Hadrian (AD 76–138) in AD 122. Hadrian was experiencing military difficulties not just in Britain, but from the peoples of various conquered lands across the Empire Construction probably started in AD 122 and was largely completed within ten years, with soldiers from all three of the occupying Roman legions participating in the work. Hadrian’s Wall was 80 Roman miles (or 120 kilometres) long, its width and height dependent upon the construction materials which were readily available nearby to build it from: east of the river Irthing the wall was made from stone and measured 10 Roman feet (3 m) wide and 5 to 6 metres (16–20 ft) tall; west of the Irthing the wall was made from turf and measured 6 metres (20 ft) wide and 3.5 metres (11.5 ft) high. I started my journey on Friday night 29th Sept. taking the night bus from London to reach the old city of Carlisle. I was at Carlisle around 5 a.m the city was empty and it was still dark, I decided to wait till 6:30 am to head to the river Eden that goes through the city and from there I can start walking on the footpath of Hadrian’s Wall.
The river was covered with a thin layer of mist, and from the horizon it was looking to be clear and dry day, as I thought it might rain. Because of the mist and last night’s rain the trail was wet and the shrubs and grass was wet too, I was starting to feel the water reaching my feet, but I was so excited to finish my first part of the challenge, which was walking from Carlisle to a small town called Walton, this was 20 Kilometers.
It wasn’t long before the sun started to come out, it was stunning, the trail goes through small country house estates and big fields and villages.The footpath changes from one point to another at some point its a normal tarmac, at another its just a small muddy path in the fields and farms, and this made it difficult for walking at some point.At some part the trail becomes adjacent to the river (Eden), I saw many men with their farm boots, walking the dogs, all of them seemed used to people walking through their farms as they kept asking me about my journey and giving me advice. I found a small wooden bench that was beside the river bank, I sat there absorbing the morning sun and looking to the cows in the far away fields.
After I had a rest for a while, finishing the first 10 kilometers I reached to a small village called Crosby-on-Eden, most villages here in Britain are just a main road, a samll parish church and a local pub.The next part goes through green fields with cows every where, big huge cows, that looked suspiciously towards me, some of them were in close range that they started running to their barns, the weird thing was that, there was no human beings in these fields, it was as if these animals are here from Roman times, and they are the rulers of this land. I was as usual day dreaming.The path crosses small streams and bushes where there are old crossings and roman bridges. At noon the sun was in the middle if the sky and it became more warm as I walked to reach Walton, where I was completely exhausted, I sat down on a bench in the middle of the village and studied my next walk on the map, I needed to reach Greenhead and from there to reach a small campsite where I was going to stay for the night.
The next 15 Kilometers were difficult as they required climbing small cliffs, at this part the remains of the stones of Hadrian’s Wall were intact, and there were also remains of guard posts and Roman forts.I began to get interested with Roman Britain, especially this side of the country, when I was writing a short story about the Libyan Emperor Septimius Severus (146AD-211AD) who spent the last weeks of his life at these parts of the British Isles, trying to restore the wall and keep away the raids of the northern tribes, then he died in the Roman City of Eboracum which is the modern day city of York.
In Libya we have another site in relation to the walls, they are the Hadrian baths in Leptis Magna (Lebda) they were commissioned by the same Roman emperor and at the same period of time, while I was finishing my first day walking more than 40 Kilometers I was wondering whether I was walking in the footsteps of Roman Libyans who served the military at this remote area of the empire, may be one of my ancestors died here, dreaming of the clear sky and azure sea of Libya. As for me I finished putting up my tent and shrouding myself in the sleeping bag and getting to a deep peaceful sleep.
The next day, I was so tired and messed up, I was limping, I packed my things, and had to walk another 10 kilometers to a small town called Haltwhistle, where I was supposed to catch the Bus to the city of Newcatstle, and from there to take the couch to London.
I managed to reach Newcastle on time for my bus, I had small stroll in the town centre, before I got onto my seat, heading back to the heart of this old empire. I was so tired and happy, happy that I managed to walk 50 kilometers in two days. I started planning for my next challenge which might take me to York and the mountains of Yorkshire, but as the weather is starting to get colder and wetter over here, I am going to plan it next spring.