Monday, April 18, 2011

On Hadrian's Wall

We spent much of the weekend walking along some very picturesque bits of Hadrian's Wall.

In case you don't know, the Roman Emperor Hadrian decided this massive Wall should be built to keep those wild and scary Scots out. It stretched 73 miles (80 Roman miles, since you ask) from East to West in the North of England.

They built it in six years, from AD122 onwards.

Six years! I bet it would take longer than that now even with all the modern equipment. It was huge: it used to stand six metres high.

The way they built it was this. The Roman Army was divided into lots of little units, all rather complicated but basically incredibly well-organised and with strong discipline and, it has to be said, very little regard for Health and Safety. And they set one unit against the other.

"Come on lads! I know that our lot can build our bit a lot better and faster than that lot down the valley. Let's show them what proper soldiers can do!"

So they built it incredibly fast and incredibly well. And the wild lawless primitive Brits watched whilst they did it, shivering, gnawing on twigs and from time to time muttering things like "Wow! They're really - - well - - advanced, aren't they, those Romans? But what did they ever do for us?"

And then, after a while, the Romans finally worked out that the climate of Italy was lovely and warm and the climate of Northumberland was, in general, cold, wet and windy.

Off they went back to Italy where they invented the deckchair, covered their beaches with the things and never looked back.

Meanwhile, the Brits spent a few centuries muttering to each other "Have they really gone?"

Once they decided that this was indeed the case, they looked round furtively, and then sneaked up to Hadrian's Wall and nicked large quantities of it to build houses with.

Even sheep can climb over the Wall now.

Well, the mother could. The baby just kept hurling itself against the wall in a sad and futile bid to reach its mother. Baaaa - - SPLAT! Baaaa - - SPLAT!

Those of you of a tender disposition will be pleased to know that finally the mother sheep gave up the idea of crossing the wall and returned to her lamb. Awwww.

Even depleted in height as Hadrian's Wall is now, it's still impressive.

The Wall is fantastic, the scenery is stunning and even the weather was glorious.

Many thanks, Hadrian. We had a lovely weekend.


Blogger Steve, adrift in cyberspace said...

Myth has it that each new section was begun with mortar mixed with the blood of a pict ... don't want to put you off or anything!!!

9:31 pm  
Blogger Debby said...

Definitely still impressive. Loved the story and the pictures. Especially the sheep. Baaaaaa

11:39 pm  
Blogger Silverback said...

Any truth in the rumour that old Hadrian was a Pink Floyd fan ?

4:17 am  
Blogger Daphne said...

Steve - I bet that was just one of those "our regiment is tougher than yours!" stories.
Debby - yes, I loved the sheep too.
Silverback - - all in all I think he probably was.

7:09 am  

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