Walking along Hadrian´s Wall

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Julius Germanicus, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Supporter! Supporter

    This summer I travelled to Northern England to walk the 135 Kilometers along the largest Roman monument from Bowness-on-Solway (Maia) on the Irish Sea to Wallsend (Segedunum) and South Shields (Arbeia) on the North Sea.

    We made it in eight days and for those of you who have not been there I´d like to share some impressions:
    P2130823 (1).jpg

    Hadrian´s original plan was for a wall of turf in the west and stone in the east, with protected gates (mile castles) at intervals of a mile, with two observation towers (turrets inbetween the milecastles).

    This is what the turf wall, complete with a wooden turret, would have looked like.

    P2130873 (1).jpg
    And this is a reconstruction of what the stone wall (with a typical tower) looked like before the stone pillaging that took place between the fifth and 19th century that reduced the remnants of the wall and it´s buildings to what is left now.

    P2140021 (1).jpg
    Yep, the remnants of the wall do not get much higher than this...

    A great earthwork, known as the Vallum, was constructed a short distance south of the wall.

    P2140006 (1).jpg
    This is what is left of the Tempe of Mitras. What you see in the back is of course not Hadrian´s Wall, but one of the thousands of little walls built from it´s stones to separate goat meadows by later generations.

    This reconstruction at Vindolanda gives an impression of what a local temple would have looked like.

    P2140180 (1).jpg
    The faithful replica of the West Gate of Arbeia, the westernmost fort at South Shields overlooking the mouth of the river Tyne, as it appeared during the fourth century AD.

    The 4th Century courtyard house of the commanding officer shows no evidence to the claim that the Roman army was in decline by then.

    Please share your wall impressions and related coins!
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
    Okidoki, Deacon Ray, Ryro and 31 others like this.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Very nice images @Julius Germanicus. Perhaps you have given me something to accomplish on my bucket list (I just watched the movie again last week. Remember the three things you shouldn't do as you get older).
    galba68 and Julius Germanicus like this.
  4. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Very nice!! Thanks for sharing those pictures of your adventure :)
    Julius Germanicus likes this.
  5. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Thanks for the great photos. Looks like a wonderful trip.
    Julius Germanicus likes this.
  6. Ken Dorney

    Ken Dorney Yea, I'm Cool That Way...

    Such a trip has always been on my bucket list. I almost did such a walk back in the late 80's, but it never happened. But I do have some things related to ancient walls, etc. Not that I advocate, but these items were given to me and not taken by me:

    Fragment of Hadrians Wall:


    Fragment of the Wall of China:


    Berlin Wall:


    Temple of the Sun, Chocchoben, Mexico:

    Okidoki, Deacon Ray, Ajax and 10 others like this.
  7. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Impressive reconstructions, and what a great trip! Thanks for posting. :)

    Here's my latest Hadrian, which I picked up pretty cheap. Not quite the pristine unpatinated look you prefer, but edging in that direction:
  8. ancientcoinguru

    ancientcoinguru Supporter! Supporter

    Walking Hadrian’s wall is on my list of places to visit. Appreciate the photos! Looks like you had fun:)
  9. TypeCoin971793

    TypeCoin971793 Just a random nobody...

    It’s always saddening to read about how so many ancient monuments were dismantled by medieval people scavenging for building materials. :(

    My nicest of two Hadrians.

    FCF2245F-7D85-48AF-9DC7-87D6DFCE3796.jpeg B606822C-4B91-4818-9179-577A0163C879.jpeg
  10. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    wow...that is really kool..thanks for sharing the JG i know i'll most likely never have that opportunity so peeps like me really appreciate that :)..(how much for the stones?:p)
    galba68 and Julius Germanicus like this.
  11. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

  12. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Cogito Ergo Sum

    Julius Germanicus likes this.
  13. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Cogito Ergo Sum

  14. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Great pictures Julius , many thanks. Saves me a trip to Great Britain :)

    These AE coins probably were around overthere, during the construction of the wall:

    Hadrianus set semis - ses.jpg
    Okidoki, Deacon Ray, Ajax and 9 others like this.
  15. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    I recall being there about 30 years ago. Took the train from London and got off in weather that made me glad I didn't take a boat (and this was in July) with howling winds, temperatures in the mid forties (Fahrenheit) and driving rain. It would have been like going on a Murmansk convoy run in 1942. As I walked about I could not help thinking about all those Syrian and Egyptian auxiliary troops stationed there who must have wondered what gods they had angered that they were stationed in what must have been the bleakest place they had ever seen. I can imagine more than one of these troops cursing the day Hadrian ever showed up on the island.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
    Petavius, ominus1, Theodosius and 4 others like this.
  16. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    It sounds like a typical North Yorkshire/Northumberland summer day to me:)
    Justin Lee likes this.
  17. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Great trip and pics! I've been watching a lot of episodes of Time Team on youtube and they mention Hadrian's Wall often. It's great to see it and amazed that you walked it!

    And cool recreations! Anyone watched the show Rome Wasn't Built in a Day? I found it interesting.

    Heres a few of my imperial Hadrians:
    Hadrian, Ruled 117-138 AD, AE As, Struck 132-134 AD, Rome Mint
    Obverse: HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind.
    Reverse: FELICITATI AVG, galley sailing left, composed of five rowers and pilot; standard and vexillum at stern, S C across field, COS III P P in exergue.
    References: RIC II 719, BMCRE 1458 var, Cohen 660 var
    Size: 26 mm, 13.16g

    Hadrian, Ruled 117-138 AD, AE As, Struck 125-128 AD, Rome Mint
    Obverse: HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, Bust of Hadrian, laureate, right
    Reverse: COS III, Salus, draped, standing right, feeding out of patera in left hand snake held in right, S-C in field
    References: RIC II 669c, Cohen 369
    Size: 26mm, 10.2g

    Hadrian, Ruled 117-138 AD, AE Sestertius, Struck 134-138 AD, Rome Mint
    Obverse: HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, Bust of Hadrian, laureate, right
    Reverse: FORTVNA AVG, Fortuna, draped, standing left, holding rudder on globe in right hand and cornucopiae in left, S-C in field.
    References: RIC II 759, BMCRE 1507.
    Size: 32mm, 28g
    Okidoki, Ryro, Ajax and 10 others like this.
  18. TheFinn

    TheFinn Well-Known Member

    Nice pics and travel log - just right! Did you, or do they allow you to camp near the trail alongside the wall? Quite an amazing feat in its day, and it worked keeping the Picts out of the "civilized" world.
  19. kevin McGonigal

    kevin McGonigal Well-Known Member

    It may have been. I stopped in York on the way back and went into an antique shop with ancient coins in the window, probably as much to get warm as anything else. No luck. No heat, and the guy in the store said pretty much what you wrote. Boy, am I glad my island ancestors had the wit to move to warmer climes.
  20. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    I still hold it wasn’t disease or injury that killed both Septimius Severus and Constantius - two tough old seasoned campaigners - it was the weather!:)
  21. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Supporter! Supporter

    We were lucky because we enjoyed the hottest July ever recorded in the area. We could even see large moor fires when our plane approached Manchester Airport.
    On the other hand it can get exhausting if you hike up and down all of Windshield´s Crags (up to 345 Meters high) at 30 Degrees (Celsius) in a day.

    P2130837 (1).jpg
    No Valium necessary at some places.

    Almost all of the trail´s area lies on private grounds, mostly goat meadows and cow pastures, which you are allowed to cross but not camp upon. Better not be afraid of farm animals!

    British cows happily grazing on historic grounds

    Sheep lazing in the shade on the Vallum that roman Legionaries created 19 centuries ago.


    There are very few means of accommodation near the path once you leave Carlisle or Newcastle. You are advised to book in advance and we stayed at the one local farm, pub, or Bed and Breakfast extant every 20 Kilometers or so.

    Not much going on here nowadays... sometimes all that´s left is the Vallum...

    ... while in the rather spectacular middle section you can see the remains of the wall itself stretching over the Crags.

    P2130715 (2).jpg
    These are the remnants of Milecastle 48 (Poltross Burn)...

    ... while this is what is left of turret 49b (Birdoswald West).

    If you only have time to see one museum during your trip, you must visit Vindolanda, home not only of the world famous writing tablets, but also of 6000 roman shoes.

    P2130883 (1).jpg
    As this forum is all about coins, finally here are some of those found at the fort and village of Vindolanda (did I ever mention how much I love unpatinated bronzes?)
    Okidoki, Petavius, Carthago and 10 others like this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page