Saturday, 29 August 2015

Publius Aelius Hadrianus Muri iterum....Aug 28th
(or William in murum Roman)(Hadrian's Wall)
   William was quite excited, he had been invited out by the gadgies again, but this time for a walk on Hadrian's Wall. He had heard about the wall in history at the acatemy, it had been built by Emperor Hadrian in AD 122 to keep the wild cats of Scotland out of the Roman Empire's most northerly province, Britain.  He thought he had better practise his Latin in case they met any legionnaires on the walk so he sat chanting quietly to himself; "Amo, amas amat, amamus amatis acat" although he wasn't too sure about the last bit. He also practised the mantra he had learned from Rene Descat:
" Ambulo, ergo sum" a useful phrase when out walking. He had taught himself a few poems by Catullus also but thought they were a bit risque so kept them to himself. He packed his rucksack again, this time with a small tin of sardines in oil and a tub of fresh cream. Early on Friday morning he, with his friend Helen, were picked up by the gadgies and off they went. There were only three gadgies out today, John H,, the musicmeister Dave, the stonemeister and the blogmeister himself. The first part of the journey was by car to Hexham where they parked for free all day in the Wentworth car park which has a sports centre as well as a Waitrose.
                                      It was the biggest car park William had ever seen.

  From the car, once booted up, they walked to the bus station and caught the 10.10 am AD122 bus that runs along the wall, but only in the summer months. William was glad he had taken his pusspass, which allowed free travel all the way to Greenhead where the walk was due to start. He had also brought with him a pawometer which would count his steps and measure the distance he walked.
They got off the bus at Greenhead and started the walk. Going uphill on a minor road, not the one the bus had just come down, they soon found the signpost that pointed left through somebody's yard, down a lane, across a couple of fields to the junction near Thirlwall Castle where they turned west on the Hadrian Wall Path proper.
                                                  Through the yard..............
                                   The acorn is the sign for a long distance footpath, the arrow tells you which way to go.
                                                      Thirlwall castle, meaning "gap in the wall" apparently.
Almost immediately they crossed the railway line, very carefully of course, trains are big and fast.
Once across William headed for the signpost on the other side of the road but Dave told him not to follow that path, it was the Pennine Way and he would finish up in Derbyshire, which is a long way away.
They walked along, crossing fields until they came to the first real Roman ruin, the mile castle at Poltross Burn near the village of Gilsland. There was an interesting ruin, a mile castle at the burn and a more modern ruin in the village.

                                                 Poltross Burn Milecastle

William thought it looked nice but draughty.
  Having crossed the railway again, carefully, they followed the line of the wall to Willowford. On the wall farm they spotted the stone taken from the Roman wall during building but still with an inscription!
                      The wall near Willowford, facing stones and rubble core. Experts will notice that it is a section of narrow wall on a broad base.
 William used his knowledge of Latin inscriptions to translate without the plaque
Just beyond the farm they came to the remains of the Roman Bridge that had once crossed the river Irthing. Still impressive, but, like the river, the bridge itself had gone, moved several hundred yards north over several hundred years.

                             Roman Bridge at Willowford

One of the few information boards currently on display on the wall. It is a disgrace, where have they all gone? Answers please from English Heritage.

Not long after the party arrived at Birdoswald  (Banna to the Romans). The fort is an English Heritage site and has a shop, cafe and picnic tables so the team called a Herbie Spot and sat in the courtyard for lunch.  Another feast, Helen's home made lemon muffins, flapjacks, fruit bars and Pork Pies! Plus a sandwich and tea. The sardines were good too.
As they ate a Roman legionnaire appeared and gave a talk on life in the Roman Army. It sounded good  to William at 300 denarii a year and he considered taking the Emperor's offer until he found that your kit and food had to come out of your pay and you had to sign up for twenty five years.
                              Helen considers the military life

                                           Birdius Oswaldius, tells a good yarn, but was his pronunciation of Caesar as Kaiser with a hard c correct? Who knows.
                                        Birdius with his gladius and pilum  (sword and shield)
From Birdoswald the path heads more or less straight west, some times on the road, sometimes in fields. Originally this part of the frontier was a turf wall replaced later by the stone one. Not far from Banks the team left the Hadrian Wall Path and headed downhill along a road to the priory at Lanercost, which also had a shop and cafe and various entertainments, as well as a rather fine church. Somewhere on the wall  of the cottages is another stone with an inscription but they failed to spot it.
                                             This fragment of wall near Banks is supposedly almost the full height

                                       William met a friend on the wall
                                                           Lanercost Priory
Leaving the priory the team walked along the road and crossed the river Irthing by a very old bridge next to its modern counterpart. William was confused when the gadgies spotted a green and yellow tractor and called out "John Deere". He prefers Caterpillar machinery. Walking up the road the blogmeister was hit on the head by a branch which inexplicably fell out of a tree. It also cut his arm but fortunately John had some plasters and Helen some tissues so they stopped the flow of blood even though it looked bad.
At a road junction the team turned left and followed a public footpath sign which led through woods until finally descending into Brampton. After a few minutes wait the bus for Hexham appeared and the tired walkers were driven back to the car. But of course, before leaving for home they visited the local Wetherspoons pub for beer or lemonade.
Another good day out for all, especially William.

William enjoyed a prawn cocktail in the pub

The Matrix MMXV  RR
                                                               steps                                miles
LIDL3D                                              30647                                11.46
Dave's LIDL3D                                  25069                                 11.87
Daves USB                                         24731                                 11.71
OUTDOORS GPS                                                                         11
Etex 20                                                                                            11