Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Hadrian Who?

I was now eager to crack on with the walk once leaving the pub and feeling like I was now sponsored by Guiness. It was now nearly 2pm and I had to get going. Despite the heavy pack I was full of energy and had a skip in my step (to be fair, that could have been down to the Guiness). I was heading to Wallsend and Hadrian's Way. Two examples of local place names reminding us of the distant pass when there is nothing to see, and there's was absolutely nothing to see in the City!  The Wall (what was left of it) was long since buried under the buildings and roads. So, place names and street names was all I had to go on.
It was soon to become clear that in the City of Newcastle and, to a slightly lesser extent along its entire length, things had moved on and Hadrian's Wall has been buried (in most cases) and forgotten. To be fair it, all started just as soon as the Romans went back to Italy. The wall was quickly dismantled by the local populous. Not in an political showing of defiance, but simply to build other buildings.

Many of the very old buildings in the area have stones that were originally used in The Wall. Some stones have been used as part of several other buildings along the way, like the fortified vicarage in Corbridge, that I was to stumble upon later. I love the idea of a fortified vicarage!

Never-the-less, the once mighty, immovable wall has now been brushed aside by business parks, nightclubs, roads and football stadia.

Even out in the countryside, the path that follows the line of the Wall, which incidentally has been created with the help of an enormous amount of Lottery funding, continuously skirts around privately owned land. This was to prove enormously frustrating, not only because the Romans built the thing pretty, dead-straight, but when you can see the direction you need to be walking, and the pack feels heavy, and your blisters are tingling in your boots, the paths leads you along a much longer detour around various empty fields, adorned with the classic signs like 'no trespassing', 'private property' and 'oh my favourite, placed on grand iron gates, on a long gravelled drive, ' keep out bull'.   Nice:-(

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