Island Senior: Hiking Hadrian’s Wall in real life or virtually

Posted November 2, 2022 at 11:17 am by

Hadrian’s Wall — Photo credit: Michael Vouri

I was impressed when friend and local his­to­ri­an Michael Vouri set out to hike Hadrian’s Wall across north­ern Eng­land. Hik­ing the wall is a pop­u­lar trek that fol­lows the Roman Emper­or Hadrian’s mas­sive mason­ry wall and forts. Dur­ing the Roman occu­pa­tion of Britain, the wall defined the edge of the Roman Empire leav­ing the trou­ble­some Scots on the far side of the wall. It spans the nar­row waist of Britain at rough­ly 100 miles across.

Mike doc­u­ment­ed his trek in a bril­liant series of arti­cles in the San Juan Islander. Here you can ben­e­fit from an historian’s take on hik­ing the wall as you fol­low along over farmer’s stiles and through the bog­gy spots in sun­shine and in soak­ing rain while tak­ing in mag­nif­i­cent scenery. How­ev­er, you don’t have to be quite that ambi­tious to gain health ben­e­fits from walking.

Adding just 10 min­utes of walk­ing to your day is very like­ly to extend your life. So says a recent study pub­lished in JAMA Inter­nal Med­i­cine and writ­ten about in the New York Times by Gretchen Reynolds. The results of the study indi­cate that even a lit­tle extra phys­i­cal activ­i­ty can poten­tial­ly stave off pre­ma­ture death.

I was not in great shape before the pan­dem­ic. Spend­ing the first two years of it stay­ing home by myself indulging in toast, cheese, and the inter­net did not help. Final­ly, my phys­i­cal ther­a­pist assigned me two-minute walks on the hour. It has been a chal­lenge to moti­vate myself that often. What has inspired me late­ly is that I have embarked on a vir­tu­al hike of Hadrian’s Wall.

That’s right — I count my steps right here in Fri­day Har­bor. At the end of the day I post my dis­tance on my Conqueror’s Chal­lenge app. I can see my progress along the wall on a map, in a satel­lite view or street view. There are vir­tu­al post­cards along the way. While obvi­ous­ly I’m miss­ing some of the plea­sures of hik­ing in real life, at least I don’t have to locate a bed-and-break­fast before I can sleep at night and I can make my steps in small incre­ments through­out the day.

Once I have com­plet­ed my vir­tu­al hike I will get a fan­cy medal for my achieve­ment. This was paid for when I signed up and pur­chased the app for $29.95. Oth­er vir­tu­al hikes through the Conqueror’s Chal­lenge that I have my eye on are the Road to Hana on Maui, the road from Marathon to Athens, and the Great Wall of Chi­na. There are many more, plus a Face­book page occu­pied by sup­port­ive fel­low travelers.

What­ev­er your lev­el of fit­ness, find­ing what keeps you putting one foot in front of the oth­er is a good thing.

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One comment...

  1. Great arti­cle! I agree adding a lit­tle exer­cise to each day is key to health. This arti­cle has inspired me to walk or bike Hadri­an’s Wall. I’m going to build up my sta­mi­na with the goal of achiev­ing this in the next year. Thanks Peg­gy Sue!

    Comment by Sue on November 10, 2022 at 1:28 pm

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