A little bit of mystery…
It’s quite a thing to walk along Hadrian’s wall in the Autumn.
The air is crisp and cool and you feel a real sense of freedom. The view from the top is incredible. Scotland is to your North, England to your South, rolling green hills go on as far as your eyes can see, and Crag Lough sits calmly down below. Sheep are grazing all around, and occasionally they look at you, wondering what you’re doing and who you are. And if you take the time to just sit… you’ll find yourself wondering the same things.
Most people who travel to Scotland will tell you that it’s a magical place. They’re right. Places like this one allow you to feel what it must have been like hundreds and even thousands of years ago when the land was raw and unsettled. We spent the early part of the day touring Vindolanda, a Roman auxiliary fort in Northumberland. Vindolanda is still an active archaeological site and absolutely worth the visit. It was home to the Vindolanda tablets, which at the time they were discovered, were the oldest surviving handwritten documents in Britain! Look how interesting it is:
Conveniently, Vindolanda is a stone’s throw from Steel Rigg, where you can share one of the best experiences of Hadrian’s Wall. The real mystery of Hadrian’s Wall, is that while many people have speculated, no one today knows for certain why the wall was built. Some say it was to separate the Romans from the “barbarians.” Regardless, it’s one of the largest Roman artifacts anywhere in the world, running a total of 73 miles (117.5 kilometers) across Northern England and while all of that is well and good, let me tell you about why you should spend at least a day and go see it:
Because it’s nothing short of a magnificent experience. Take a look for yourself:
I love Autumn in this part of the world, because the skies are a perfect gray, and the air is cold enough to wear your favorite hat, boots, sweater and coat. Bundled up, you walk along these ancient stones and there is something I can only describe as a “beautiful loneliness.” It’s a feeling you don’t get most places and one of the main reasons to come here. For me, it touches something fundamental in the human experience. For the many hours we shared with the sheep and Crag Lough, there was for me, an undeniable sense of time. It’s difficult to put into words, but there was such a present feeling of the long history of our species, the incredible achievements of human beings over millennia, the vastness of it all, and yet, the brevity of our lives as well. It was all-at-once humbling, beautiful, sad, meaningful, and amazing.
And I can’t recommend it enough.
The hiking path at Steel Rigg is circuitous and 4 miles (6.5km) long. It’s a comfortable stroll with only minor elevation ascents and descents. Most people can easily hike it, but you’ll want to wear good boots / shoes because of the terrain. The hike is now in my top five of all-time favorite hikes in the world. There are literally an innumerable amount of places to shoot photographs and videos, and if you hit it on a weekday in the shoulder season like we did… you’ll have the place mostly to yourself. If you get a chance, go to Scotland. Take time. Relax your pace. Meet people. Talk to them. Walk the land.
And then allow yourself to step back in time and feel the magic.
Moonbird’s Helpful Info:
Hadrian’s Wall / Steel Rigg
Location: Henshaw, Northumberland NE47 7AN, United Kingdom
Google Maps: Click here
Best time to visit: Anytime!
Scotland’s Seasons are: Spring: March, April and May, Summer: June, July and August, Autumn: September, October and November, and Winter: December, January and February.
Phone: +44 1434 605555