It was Claudius’ initiative that put Romans in Britain, and so from about A.D. 45- 410 there was a Roman presence in Britain. Big problem—- those warring tribes to the North, later known as the Scots. So, a wall had to be built. And what a wall it was from Wallsend on the Tyne to Bowness on Solwyn on the west coast, it stretched 73 miles, punctuated with forts or gates (called milecastles) or towers every mile or so. Hadrian himself had visited Britain in 122 A.D. and set this whole process in motion. Soldiers from three northern legions came to do the building. Even some sailors helped out. It took ten years to build, and oddly it was abandoned for a short while when an even further northern wall, the Antonine Wall even closer to the modern border of Scotland, was built. But from 160-250 Hadrian’s wall was the northern border of the Roman Empire.
It was Robert Frost who said ‘something there is that doesn’t love a wall’, but he obviously wasn’t referring to the ones Romans built which have lasted close to 2000 years! One of the most popular things to do, amongst British hikers, is to walk the wall. I had never done that, until now. So I went to Corbridge to see the Roman fort and village there (see the next post) and then on to Housesteads one of the most important forts on the wall and where some of the best bits of the wall can be seen. Here are some of the shots I took..