Hadrian’s Wall – the final frontier, the borderline between the civilized Roman empire in the South which encompassed almost all of modern Europe and the wild barbarian tribes of Britannia in the North (today commonly known as the Scots). Awe-inspiring, monumental, a testimony of Roman power, 3 to 6 meters high and 3 to 6 meters wide. Construction started in 122AD and was completed in 6 years by three Roman legions. To put this in perspective: Building Hadrian’s Wall would be a monumental task even today. But the Romans did it only using the power of men and horses and basic tools. We are talking iron age technology here. And as if that wasn’t enough, they also dug two ditches along the wall, one deep V-shaped trench in the North and another shallow u-shaped one in the south, and a military road, too. All of this spanned the full distance between Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the east and Bowness-on-Solway in the west of Britannia, 117.5km in total. The terrain was not exactly easy: Steep climbs and descents along rocky crags and hills had to be mastered. And I had decided to walk the distance.
Luckily this is less adventurous than it may sound. Today, it is one of Britain’s most famous long-distance walking tracks; perfectly waymarked and with plenty of pubs and accommodation along the trail.
Getting to Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Coming from Germany, walking the track westbound was the obvious choice as my journey to the wall would take me to Newcastle almost automatically.
I decided to drive to Amsterdam by car and take the ferry to Newcastle from there. I left my car in a car park right next to the ferry terminal for 7€ per day… not exactly a bargain, but taking my car with me would have been even more costly, so it was the best choice.
A boat trip is not exactly the most exciting thing on the planet. As a photographer, however, you have plenty of exciting photo opportunities at hand that you don’t get anywhere else. Seagulls, harbor buildings, seagulls, offshore wind parks, seagulls, lifeboats, seagulls, other passengers, seagulls, sunsets, and yes, you got it, seagulls. You can see a small selection of my images below. I have already posted the better ones on FlickR and Google+.
My next blog post will be about my arrival in Newcastle and the British weather.