Plans have been unveiled to create a spectacular line of light from coast to coast, along the length of Hadrian’s Wall, next year.
This once in a lifetime event will take place on Saturday 13th March 2010 and will follow the route of the 84 mile long Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail.
There will be around 500 individual points of light, placed at 250 metre intervals. The first one will be illuminated at Wallsend in the North East, with the line of light then making its way along the Wall to Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbria over the following hour.
Illuminating Hadrian’s Wall is an ambitious project led by Hadrian’s Wall Heritage Ltd, which forms part of the world-class programme of festivals and events developed by culture10 in the North East of England and the Lakes Alive programme in Cumbria presented by Kendal Arts International and Manchester International Arts. Illuminating Hadrian’s Wall is also a flagship event of British Tourism Week 2010.
Linda Tuttiett, the Chief Executive of Hadrian’s Wall Heritage Ltd, says: "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?"
The Romans built fortlets, known as mile castles, along the Wall at intervals of one Roman mile. Between each mile castle, 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 mile fortlets and turrets were located, with an additional point of light between each of them.
The event is being produced by John Farquhar-Smith, who was the technical director for the 8-minute ‘handover ceremony’ for London 2012 at the closing of the Beijing 2008 Olympics. His experience also includes organising a football match in winter 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle and the Royal Gala Opening of St Pancras International by the Queen.
He says: "I’m delighted to be directing this extraordinary event. It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to create a line of light stretching from one side of England to the other."
"Our aim is to capture the public’s imagination with an event that will show the immense scale and beauty of Hadrian’s Wall and the countryside, villages, towns and cities that it runs through. It will be a celebration of a truly iconic piece of World heritage."
A camera crew will film the line of light as it makes its way from coast to coast from a helicopter and the pictures will be beamed to giant screens as part of two major events in the north east and at Carlisle to celebrate the illumination of Hadrian’s Wall. There will also be a number of stewarded points along the Wall where people will be able to view the line of light.
Stella Hall, Creative Director of culture10 said, "We are delighted to celebrate the lighting of the iconic Hadrian’s Wall, and hope that audiences will join us on the evening of 13th March at the events in Carlisle and Wallsend where we can share in this once in a lifetime experience. "
"This festival of landscape and light is undoubtedly a highlight in our Landscape and Heritage programme for 2009/10, and is the culmination of months of hard work by all our partners, participants and the talented artists who have contributed so innovatively to the shaping of the events."
"We would especially like to thank our Cumbrian partners from the Lakes Alive programme, who have enabled us to cross the Wall’s invisible boundaries between the North East and North West, linking audiences and allowing the line of light vision to be fulfilled."
Julie Tait, director of Lakes Alive, says: "Lakes Alive is delighted to be creating and directing a special event in Carlisle to welcome the line of light to Cumbria which, we hope, will enable local people and visitors to truly feel part of this unique event."
"Illuminating Hadrian’s Wall is an important and exciting part of our four-year programme building up to London 2012, which is all about bringing to life the rich and spectacular landscapes and heritage of Cumbria through inspiring world-class outdoor arts events. We feel privileged to be part of this celebration of one of the UK’s few globally-significant landmarks. This has been made possible through a dynamic North of England partnership with Hadrian’s Wall Heritage Ltd and the exceptional culture10 programme in the North East."
About Hadrian’s Wall
Hadrian’s Wall formed the Roman frontier across the north of England for almost 300 years. It was built in AD122 by the Roman army on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian. In 1987 it 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. Today it attracts visitors from all over the world.
The Hadrian’s Wall National Path closely follows the original line of Hadrian’s Wall. It includes a variety of landscapes such as the vibrant cities of Newcastle upon Tyne and Carlisle, and runs through some of the most beautiful parts of the country, from rolling fields to rugged moorland. Some of the highlights are a riverside route in Tyneside, beautiful countryside in Northumberland National Park, the richer pastures of Cumbria and finally the open salt marsh of the Solway Estuary.