Hadrian's Wall Walk, Day Six
Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
574Trip End Ongoing
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Once this was decided, there was a little countdown, and a week after our French trip, we were on our way up north.
The first port of call was Chesters Roman Fort in Chollerford. Inside the grounds, at first it didn't look like there was much there, but as we walked through the grounds, the ruins were quite extensive. The bath house was apparently the most complete in the UK. It all seemed to look good, including the walls. The last part that was there was the museum. There was Roman findings discovered by John Clayton. They were pretty impressive.
Down the road, was a piece of wall that we had seen from afar and so we had a quick look before we went to see our last Roman site of the area. Across the river from Chesters was the leftovers of a Roman bridge, but all that is left are the abutments. They were pretty impressive but we were here to see a phallic symbol that was carved into the stones to ward off evil. As nobody was around I thought about measuring up to it, but as it was really muddy everywhere, I had to give that thought a miss !!!
Back on the road, we followed the line of the wall. It was interesting seeing where we had walked, and it made you feel like you should get out and do the whole thing again !!!
The next stop was in Once Brewed. There is a Roman fort there called Vindolanda. Our walking guide book had said that there isn't much there, but that makes it special is that the amount of finds found here. They have found writing tablets and according to the British Museum, these are the most important finds in all of the UK. Some say that there is still at least 100 years of digging, and as the finds are at least six metres underground, the anoxic conditions at these depths have preserved thousands of artifacts that normally disintegrate in the ground, thus providing an opportunity to gain a fuller understanding of Roman life - military and otherwise - on the northern frontier.
We drove onto Birdoswald to see more of the wall that we had walked past. There were two more phallic symbols and some writing. The first one I found easily. Eventually the second one came into view. As I had spotted all three, Lucy started to worry about my penis fascination !!! The script engraving was not much to see, so we drove on until we found a campsite.
We pitched our tent at Burgh-on-Sand in a farm. The lady who ran it said that the next morning she would follow us to Bowness-on-Solway, drop our car off, and as she had an equestrian event in Perth, she would drop us off in Carlisle. Bonus
Start - Finish
Carlisle - Bowness-on-Solway
Distance - 25 Kilometres
After being dropped off, it took us an hour before we could find the track !!! There was no wall, and we followed the line of the vallum. The villages that we walked through were nice, and there were churches built out of the wall so we took the shots. After a while, the wind whipped up into our face. It was hard work, trust me. Not long after, we reached our goal. We took our photos, and the local pub gave us a certificate of achievment, which was an added bonus.
Now would I walk it again? Simple answer. Yes.
The following morning, we packed and left and made our way down to Chester. Another Roman town, as you can tell by the name, plus it has the most complete wall surrounding a English town.
The town itself, inside the walls that is, there are loads of Tudor style buildings, with a massive cathedral, but we were here to walk the walls. Half of them are Roman, whilst the other half are Medi-evil. The Roman ones were great, and as we moved onto the next section, we read our guide that we had and at the race course, it stated that the river use to come up to the walls, and down below us, was an old Roman wharf. As we made our way around, we eventually came across what was the largest Roman amphitheatre in the UK. There wasn't much to see, but it was another ticked off of the list.
And with that done, it was time to leave
Completion, it was great, but Chester was an added bonus.