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There really are so many things to see in the North of England that you could spend weeks here and only scratch the surface. Apart from having a variety of magnificent scenery, the whole area is steeped in history.
One of the most amazing structures ever built in Europe is Hadrian's Wall, which stretches for 115 miles across the border between England and Scotland. In 122AD the great Emperor ordered it to be constructed in order to keep barbarian tribes such as the Picts and Scots from invading his province of Britannia. Such was the skill and endeavour of the Roman military that they were able to complete the 6 metre high barrier in less than 4 years!
Later, when the Scottish Lowlands also became part of Rome, the Emperor Antoninus built another wall in the area between present-day Glasgow and Edinburgh, but Hadrian's has stood the test of time more successfully. Many visitors walking its length today probably try to imagine what life must have been like for the ever-watchful legionaries stationed so far from their homeland.
Southwest of Hadrian's Wall is the relatively new County of Cumbria, formed from part of Lancashire and territory once known as Cumberland. The famous poet William Wordsworth lived here, and captured its essence perfectly when he wrote:
"I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd, a host of golden daffodils,
Beside the lake beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze. "
Windermere is the largest of the many English lakes. Among others are Thirlmere, Ullswater, Coniston, Derwentwater and Buttermere. All are extremely deep. In 1967, Donald, son of speed-ace Sir Malcolm Campbell, lost his life on Lake Coniston while attempting to break the world record. His boat, Bluebird, was already travelling at over 300 miles per hour when it struck an object in the water and disintegrated. His body wasn't found until recently.
To the southeast of Hadrian's Wall is Northumberland, a county of ancient abbeys, medieval castles and spectacular cliffs. Continuing down the North Sea coast, we come to Yorkshire, England's largest county. It has holiday resorts such as Scarborough and Bridlington and pleasant valleys called Dales - but also tracts of windswept moors, where Cathy and Heathcliffe, the lovers in "Wuthering Heights" had their ill-fated affair. The book's creator, Emily Brontė, and her two literary sisters, Charlotte and Anne, lived at a stone-built rectory in the village of Haworth, where their father was the vicar. Charlotte is most famous for her melancholy classic, "Jane Eyre".
No visit to Yorkshire would be complete without seeing its capital, York (called Ebor by the Romans), and the elegant Regency spa town of Harrogate.
I can't finish these articles without mentioning the cathedral city of Chester on the River Dee. This is yet another place dating from Roman times, and the walls they built are still intact. Apart from being one of Britain's most beautiful cities, Chester is the gateway to the Snowdonia National Park and the resorts of Llandudno and Prestatyn in North Wales.
I hope you have enjoyed these humble articles about my part of the world. Please feel free to e-mail me any time with comments or questions - I'll do my very best to answer you.
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