Two for Tuesday: Hadrian’s Wall
One can only imagine how, in the 19th Century, expeditions would leave Europe to search for undiscovered places in the New World. They would leave amid great fanfare — and then there would be a complete vacuum of information on their progress for months (or even years) at a time, until they were able to dispatch a letter or, more likely, until their actual return home. Their exploits were often serialized in the press, day-for-day, and the reader could feel as though they were along for the journey, despite knowing that the actual journey had been long ended.
Almost 24 hours ago, I read online that my epistolary friend Sean McLachlan had completed his planned walk along Hadrian’s Wall. Eighteen hours later, I received my first two snail-mailed dispatches from the trip. Antiquarian though I am, I must admit that the 21st Century has advantages. Not only do I have news on the trip in near-real time, but I also receive personal dispatches from the field after the fact.
I won’t post Sean’s dispatches; he’ll be chronicling the trip in Gadling beginning on 1 September and I don’t want to use his own words to steal his thunder. But I will share the postcard images he sent, beginning with Day 1 from Segedunum.
From the postcard’s description: “Segedunum, the Roman fort at Wallsend. The eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall built in the middle AD 120s, it was occupied for nearly 300 years. Now it is the site of a new Museum, a full-size reconstruction of a Roman bath-house and a section of Hadrian’s Wall.”
According to this card, the walking route is the Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail, and the trail (and the wall) stretch along for 84 miles. By my reckoning, Sean walked the route in about a week. Personally, I would have started at the west end, so that I could have ended the journey at the reconstructed Roman baths, along with a box of Epsom salts.