Hadrian’s Wall event brightens the sky

Michael Hunt

The illumination event across the 84-mile Hadrian's Wall path national trail, which links Tyneside to Cumbria, attracted over 25,000 people on Saturday night.

Approximately 1,200 volunteers, including people from as far as Canada, lit gas beacons or handheld flares at 500 points along the wall, with hundreds ready to help or in support roles.

 HadrianThe huge spectacle cost £300,000 to put on with funding being secured from Lakes Alive, Carlisle Renaissance, Culture10, and the Arts Council.

The event was being led by Hadrian's Wall Heritage which forms part of North East England's programme of festivals and events developed by culture and presented in partnership with Lakes Alive.

Each individual points of light were placed at 250 metre intervals to light up the Wall.

The first one was illuminated at a public event at Segedunum Roman Fort at Wallsend in the North East just after 5pm, with the line of light then making its way along the Wall to Bowness-on-Solway in Cumbria over the following hour.

 HadrianIn Carlisle, around 4,000 people took part in a torchlight procession, leaving the city centre just before 7pm to meet the line of light as it passed through Bitts Park. The event included street entertainers, music and the Heliosphere balloon with an acrobat suspended beneath it.

Organisers were delighted with the turn out and pleased with exposure the event attracted which included a helicopter filming the line of light as it passed along the wall.

Linda Tuttiett, chief executive of Hadrian's Wall Heritage, said: "We've been delighted by the enthusiasm that Illuminating Hadrian's Wall has generated. After all the months of hard work it was tremendously moving to see the line of light make its way along the Wall and to see the reactions of the illuminators and the people who came to watch the event from all across the UK and overseas, as well as the surrounding communities.

"Visitors to Hadrian's Wall Country add nearly £2bn a year to the economy of the North of England. Businesses across the area have had a very busy weekend and the event has also raised the profile of the Wall just ahead of the main tourist season. The line of light was seen by millions of people on television and there's already been coverage as far afield as Australia, South Africa and the Philippines.

"Working in partnership with local people, we've done something really quite extraordinary to bring to life Britain's longest and greatest World Heritage Site and celebrate the landscape of Hadrian's Wall Country. It's something that many of us will remember for a long time."

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