Monday, 8 March 2010
Update on the illumination of Hadrian's Wall - March 13th - this Saturday!
The event is getting nearer and everyone is getting excited!
There was a running feature on it on last night's Countryfile (BBC1). My boss, Kerry Shaw, Volunteer Co-ordinator for Hadrian's Wall Heritage Ltd.,(which is organising the event) was interviewed by Julia Bradbury. The BBC showed the rehearsal of it - the lighting of the torches/burners which are at 250 metre intervals along the 73 mile long Hadrian's Wall. And by golly it looked stunning!
There is a fabulous gallery of 47 Hadrian's Wall, Northumbrian and Cumbrian pictures at this website www.illuminatinghadrianswall.com and you can reach this link - here. So I would urge you to have a look at it. It also includes some (towards the end of the slide show) from the rehearsal. You can see the BBC crew including Julia Bradbury and one of her lighting a torch/burner. (I would download it and run it from here but I cannot do that for some reason.) The photos feature "Romans", Arbeia (South Shields fort), Carlisle Castle, various views from the Wall, a super photo of the AD213 bathhouse at Vindolanda and the reconstruction (milecastle and Wall) there, Lanercost Priory, Hexham Abbey and some great ones of Newcastle. (Plus more!)
Why is it being held on March 13th or "Two Ides"?
It is celebrating "Anna Parenna" - the eve of the Ancient New Year. Anna Parenna is the Roman goddess of the new year. Her festival was celebrated on March 15. This date is the infamous "Ides of March": Click here for a wonderful explanation of "The Ides of March. Apparently Test Cricket was born this day in 1876! The Romans gave various explanations to the origin or her name, amnis perennis ("eternal stream"): she was a river nymph; her name was derived from annis ("year"); she was a moon-goddess of the running year; also, she was equated with Anna, the sister of Dido, who was received in Latium by Aeneas, but drowned herself in a river. In the class-struggle between the patricians and plebeians she chose the side of the plebeians.
The illumination is also celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Romans officially leaving these shores. (And more closer to home - it is also British Tourism Week: 15-23rd March.)
I'll be writing more on all of this. My colleague and I did the reccie for our cell (2 miles) between Walltown and Gilsland. It's an absolutely fabulous stretch of the Wall and it was a pleasure to do it. Fingers crossed that everything goes to plan on Saturday. I'm sure it will. Hopefully the weather will hold good. (The sun is shining brilliantly today.)
I'm at a day long event this Friday in preparation for Saturday and helping out all day on the big day itself. The B&B is fully booked and so is everywhere else along the Wall! If you are planning on coming you may still be lucky to get into a B&B close-by. You could try going a bit further out on both sides...e.g. Alston, Allendale, Hexham, Carlisle, Longtown and Borders etc. Everyone is more than welcome. The two big shows: one at Segedunum (Wallsend) "The German Angels" and "The Light Show" at Carlisle will be fascinating. There are tickets still for sale here whereas the Central Sections of the Wall are now booked up. It will be mesmerising to see how the whole Wall looks alight.
The first burner will be lit at 5.45pm at Segedunum and the last burner will be lit around 6.35pm I believe. Sunset is 6.08pm. The entire view of the Wall will be filmed from overhead by plane or helicopter.
Thank you everyone for your great comments on my City reminiscences...more episodes are promised after this week is out....