Hi Ho, Hi Ho, Along the Wall We Go

The team at Sycamore Gap, along Hadrian’s Wall.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the live posts from our hike! Now that you’ve seen snapshots of the highlights, I’m going to change things up a bit and lead you down a more mystical path about one of the iconic locations on Hadrian’s Wall-Sycamore Gap. In English folklore, the sycamore tree behind us is believed to be a fairy tree.  Among Celtic Legend, the Aos Si were spirits of nature who were driven into hiding because of human invasion.  The places where they hid, such as groves and trees, became sacred. throughout the course of time these spirits became the basis for our conception of fairies. A fairy tree is similar to a sacred grove, it is where the spirit lives. It is meant to be protected and it’s thought that those who harm a fairy tree will suffer the fairy’s wrath.

However, the sycamore’s mystical roots do not end at fairy trees. Sycamore trees were also revered in ancient Egypt.  Ancient Egyptians believed sycamore trees made up the east gate of heaven, where Ra would travel through each morning. Since the trees made up the gate between Heaven and Earth, sycamores where thought to have a semi-divine quality. Furthermore, they believed the goddess Hathor created the world on top of a sycamore tree. People would bury their deceased in sycamore coffins, hoping that it would connect the soul of the deceased to the mother goddess.

And as you can see from the picture below, for us it is an all-important shady spot to rest on a hot day! I hope you enjoyed this little folktale. Until next time, cheers.

Laying under the sycamore tree. From left to right: Prem, Justine, Shannon, and Me (Ben).


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