an immense structure. 10’ wide and 15’ high, and spanning the country from coast to coast about 73 miles (although most of it no longer remains). It’s hard for me to fathom the manpower it took to raise this structure that took 15 years and was never fully complete! This wall is not random rocks like some of the small walls in farmer’s fields. This is squared-off bricks along the edges, set on top of a huge burm with a large ditch in front. Where did all the men come from to build this? Why did they dedicate their lives to this cause? How ever did they defend it?
Cycling along this passage way has given me a glimpse into the size and distance of the
area. It’s one thing when you drive end to end in ½ hr or so. It’s not quite a representation of the time when it was built. Neither is cycling really, as we’re going quite a bit faster than you would on foot (well, sometimes). But it still takes us awhile. For instance, when at the boarder yesterday, a sign was discussing the different boarder disputes. In one sentence they mentioned that the Romans retreated back from the boarder to Hadrian’s Wall. Making it sound like no big deal. We cycled it in 2 short days (one if we’d pushed it) but on foot it would have taken several days. And that’s just from one tactical point to another (I don’t want to consider how long it took them to get from Rome in the first place!).
Not only would it have taken a long time to move an army of that size from place to place, it would have taken a long time to get orders out to them from Rome to begin with. In today’s wireless society, I can text someone across the planet and they have the message almost instantaneously. For the Emperor to get a message to his troops in Britain, it could take weeks or months before any action would be taken. It’s amazing that anything got done!
Traveling along the road we would continually see traces of the wall. Occasionally sections of the wall were still intact, other times it would just be a burm left. We passed by old settlement, forts, remnants of towers and temples. There are numerous excavations currently underway in the area. Very interesting to think that all this was going on only just after a 100 years after Christ!
The next morning, we hiked it up a steep hill to a more remote part of the wall that had not
yet been refurbished. Much more worth it! Wandering along this ancient walkway (in the rain, of course) it was easy to picture Romans there - cursing the weather more than us!
Arrival in the area of Hadrian’s Wall today. What history! Order to be built around 122AD it is