Keynote speaker Rory Stewart embarks on Hadrian’s Wall hike
Writing in the Financial Times, Rory Stewart, a British politician, historian and expert keynote speaker, describes how he found history in almost every step as he followed the path of Hadrian’s Wall, the Roman-era fort in Northern England.
“I went out at first light. The farmhouse lay on a ridge, and I stood outside. The farm’s two collies seemed willing for a moment to leave their bald tennis ball and consider the view. Mist was rising from the river below, revealing the wall. Its rough stone face ran straight through the grass field – a border, drawn with a colonial ruler, cutting a landscape in two. A footbridge led up to Birdoswald fort, whose garrison had once been tall red-headed Dacians, from a homeland almost 2,000 miles away. But I could see nothing except the wallstone, and the fellside, scattered with Swaledale sheep, in a landscape where perhaps a hundred thousand people, from places stretching from Gaul to the Black Sea, had eaten olives, and gazed at the wet ground, and the scrub, and the distant line of hills, for 300 years.”
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