I had a great couple of days off...but one of the hazards of loving military history and having a career in military history is that you can never quite let go of it all, and before I knew what I was doing I was proposing a day trip up to Hadrian's Wall "for a bit of a walk and to take some pictures for the blog". My better half is very tolerant of these excursions, which seem to litter all of our holidays. I seem to be able to locate the military museums in various countries without any hesitation - and consequently she gets dragged around them when she would much rather be sitting on a beach!
Still, we wrapped ourselves up and started driving out along the Roman road from Newcastle, till we crested a hill and spotted the first remnants of the Roman Wall. I have seen it many times before, but each time I first spot it I get the same thrill of excitement. I cant explain it - it's an old walls thing!
We parked up at Housesteads - one of the largest Roman forts that was built along the wall. It stands on the crest of a hill and has an impressive view over the rolling fields of Northumberland. It was a warmish, sunny day - but the wind was gusting around - and all I could think of was 'I'm glad I didn't have to live here through the depths of mid-winter'!
Just the building of the wall itself in an area which remains remote today was an incredible achievement. The small museum at Housesteads is little more than a single room with a few bits and pieces that have been discovered on the site over the years. But, as I walked in I was greeted by some very striking Embleton artwork, which covered the whole far wall of the museum - depicting what the fort may have looked like when it was a fully functioning outpost.
I wandered around, happily snapping pictures of old walls, heating and sewerage systems and of course Hadrian's Wall, and thought I had done quite a good job with my modest (and well aged!) digital camera. That was of course until I got back to work the following Monday to discover a copy of Fortress 83: Roman Auxiliary Forts 27BC - AD 378 sitting on my desk. I flicked through the book and stumbled across a photo that looked virtually identical to one of the ones that I had taken. It seems like Duncan Campbell was as equally taken with the North Granary at Housesteads. A`nd by the quality of the photo it looks like his camera trumps mine! Oh well - despite that, and for all those out there who like me love nothing more than some old walls, here are some pictures of my trip to Hadrian's Wall and Housesteads.
You must be logged in to comment on this post. Click here to log in.
Submit your comment