Friday, 16 October 2009
WALKING ALONG HADRIAN'S WALL
We journeyed north through Corbridge and Hexham to The Wall.
The grandeur of Hadrian's Wall persists in all weathers. The general haziness seems to be part of the "mists of time". Our guests were thrilled to be there and experience "the wall" even if it wasn't as enormous as they had expected from their childhood memories of pictures in school textbooks. This impressive stretch is at Cawfields a few miles north of Haltwhistle. This is about halfway along its route from Newcastle to Carlisle.
Much of Hadrian's Wall has been removed over time in order to be used to make other people's walls. Derek's wall, Trevor's wall and such. Surrounding farm houses, barns, field walls, chapels etc, contain stones originally put in place by Romans and other workers.
They even quarried away great quantities at certain places. This is Cawfields Old Quarry where large amounts of the volcanic Whin Sill ( HW was built along the top of the ridge the sill created) were quarried to provide road metal for Britain's expanding network.
There are still many sites such as the Fort at Housesteads where you can clamber about and shout abuse to the wind in the direction of Scotland. These days it is thought by historians, so I have heard, that the wall was more of a status symbol ( Our Empire is bigger than your Empire) than an actual barrier to the Scots who regularly traded along it. No battles were fought! But skirmishes would have been aplenty. Locals built fortified houses called bastles because raiders and armies ran and marched across the area to the north and south for hundreds of years.
The weather held, just and we descended the Pennines home to Bishop, via Alston in Cumbria and then along Weardale. The River Wear is a stream at Wearhead but grows quickly to become a wide river by the time Stanhope is reached. As we did the last climb and drop at Witton-le-Wear the sky cleared and we could appreciate the beauty of the view across the dale.
Home to a very successful Osso Bucco from the slow cooker.