The flagship event of this year’s British Tourism Week, 15-21 March 2010, will take place on 13 March when the entire length of Hadrian’s Wall will be illuminated.
This once in a lifetime event is being led Hadrian’s Wall Heritage Ltd, and will see 500 individual points of light, placed at 250 metre intervals, along the entire 84 miles of the Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail stretching from Wallsend in the North East to Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbria.
Linda Tuttiett, Chief Executive of Hadrian’s Wall Heritage Ltd, said: “In partnership with local people, we wanted to do something really quite extraordinary to bring to life Britain’s longest and greatest piece of heritage and celebrate the landscape of Hadrian’s Wall Country. What could be more spectacular than a line of light that will stretch from coast to coast illuminating this stunning World Heritage Site?”
Built in AD122 by the Roman army on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian, Hadrian’s Wall formed the Roman frontier across the north of England for almost 300 years.
Fortlets, known as milecastles, were built along the Wall at intervals of one Roman mile. Between each milecastle, and spaced one third of a Roman mile apart, were a series of turrets. The plan is to create a point of light where all the milefortlets and turrets were located, with an additional point of light between each of them.
The first of the lights will be illuminated at Segedunum Roman Fort at Wallsend. Each of the other lights will be lit in sequence by the Illuminators – the line of light is expected to reach Bowness-on-Solway on the Cumbrian coast about an hour later.
Two free events are being organised, one at Segedunum in Wallsend where the line of light will start, the other at Carlisle in Cumbria, to welcome the light into the North West.
There will also be a number of stewarded points along the Wall where people will be able to view the line of light, however, these countryside viewing points will offer limited opportunities in comparison to the two main events being organised.
A very limited number of tickets will soon be made available for the stewarded viewing points along the route and must be pre-booked via www.illuminatinghadrianswall.com.
Not content with being a spectator and want to take part in this historic event? Well you can, as the organisers are looking for 500 voluteers to help illuminate Hadrian’s Wall. Each volunteer, or ‘illuminator’, will be part of a small team responsible for lighting one of the 500 lights along the route.
Linda Tuttiett said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for people to be part of this amazing event. We want to give people from all over the country, as well as local people, the chance to get involved. It really will be a once in a lifetime opportunity and something we think people will remember for a very long time.
“All the Illuminators will be supervised by the team that are producing this project as well as our own volunteers who help out along the route of the National Trail and volunteers from other local organisations like the Northumberland National Park Authority. The Illuminators will be placed at sites along the route that are appropriate to their level of physical ability and experience, so anyone can get involved.”
Anyone who would like to be one of the Illuminators needs to register on the website at www.illuminatinghadrianswall.com before 22 February. Illuminators must be aged 18 or over. All the volunteers will receive a special scroll commemorating their involvement in the event.
More about Hadrian’s Wall
In 1987 Hadrian’s Wall was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and in 2005 became part of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire World Heritage Site.