In my world, birthdays are only consequential if they end in a zero or a five. That’s why I threw an Oktoberfest party for myself when I turned 50, 55, and 60. As the big 6-5 approached, however, I decided that this milestone called for something special since becoming eligible for Medicare is a once-in-a-lifetime event. So unabashed Anglophile that I am (which means I love all things British), this meant that partner Carol and I were going to celebrate the happy occasion by walking Hadrian’s Wall.
In case your knowledge of British history is sketchy, the ancient Romans at the height of their vast empire occupied Britannia, as it was then called, for over 300 years. When Hadrian, the reigning emperor, visited the island in 122 A.D., he decided to build a defensive fortification near what is now the English-Scottish border to keep out the Picts and other troublemakers from the north. The end result was a massive stone wall that ran from the banks of the River Tyne near the North Sea to the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea. This was no small accomplishment, as the 73-mile-long wall typically measured 10 feet wide and 16-20 feet high, complete with forts and milecastles (“fortlets”) at precise intervals. Although the locals plundered much of the wall for their own structures once the Romans left, a significant portion still stands and can be followed along the adjoining Hadrian’s Wall Path.
Carol and I hired a walking holiday company to book our accommodations for the walk, which we spread out over seven days as we hiked from west to east. The second night, we stayed at a wonderful B&B near the ruins of Lanercost Priory, which was founded in the late 12th century to house Augustinian priests. I would’ve loved more time for photography as we “walked the wall,” but stops for that purpose were infrequent since we had to cover so much ground in a given day. The featured image, taken in the morning just before we resumed our trek, depicts the remains of the stone archway that greeted priory visitors. Fortunately, the next leg of our vacation – nine days in the Cotswolds – was much more relaxed, allowing for a lot more picture-taking.
We have a wide selection of images from the United Kingdom at our gallery on Bainbridge Island, as well as an excellent assortment of metal prints, canvas prints, custom-framed black-and-white prints, and fine art acrylic prints. If you happen to be on our side of the water, do please stop by as we are just a short walk from the ferry terminal. For gallery hours, please consult our Contact page.
Cheerio for now,
Andrew (“Andy”) Bergh