Monday, October 01, 2012

Northumberland (again)

There are more pictures on a Picassa album here

This is the view from the cottage - with fabulous windows
Sitting on a convenient bit of ancient momunent
The height of the escarpment along which the wall runs
Here we are at the highest point of the wall

We had a fabulous holiday - as Boo has said.  We did about a third of the wall - from Birdoswald to Chesters, and walked west to east so that the prevailing wind was behind us.  Oddly most people go east to west but we were advised by our landlord so followed his advice.

As we had 2 cars we left car 1 at the destination car park, then all drove to the starting car part in car 2, and that worked very well because there are are car parks conveniently placed most of the time.  We did one long walk of 9 miles ( Chris - it was long by our standards) but mostly were 5 or 6 and covered about a third of the wall, certainly we did all the interesting bits because there is no wall to see for most of the rest of the route.  Some of the rocky bits were dry but other bits, especially in week 2 after the heavy rain, were very boggy.  At times we were doing huge zig zags round ponds, leaping from tussock to tussock.  We had a variety of stiles - lots of ladder stiles, most with cricket bat handles which were pretty easy to climb, though as they often had bogs at the foot on both sides they could pose their own challenges.

We also went to Vindolanda and the Roman Army Museum, both of which were fantastic.  The Roman army museum had a 3d film of the army and how they built the wall, along with a story of how the individuals were affected. Vindolanda is a site of international importance because they have discovered lots of items buried in peat, which has preserved it all completely.  There are leather shoes for adults and children, and the really unusual thing is small very thin wooden postcards, which have invitations to a birthday party, or little letters to say thank you for a present, small everyday things which normally do not survive.  It is such a domestic collection of information and makes them seem much more everyday.  It is fascinating.

We also fitted in a bit of touring by car on a wet day, Carlisle and Newcastle or Durham on other wet days, but generally we were really lucky with the weather.

It was a fab holiday and my tummy is complaining about the absence of cake and wine in too generous amounts now I am back on the straight and narrow!