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Subject: Walking Hadrian's Wall (well some of it) any recommendations? rss

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Jim F
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Am going with a friend to amble along Hadrian's Wall - not attempting to walk the whole thing. We will be there from Mon-Fri in late August. Anyone recommend any must see/hidden gems to see while we are there? We are travelling up by car so will be fairly mobile.
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brant G
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We really enjoyed the stops at Housesteads and Vindolanda

Housesteads is a bit more touristy, but both are worth walking around for a bit.

There was also a really neat Mithraic Temple somewhere along the road, but I can't find exactly where it was. It was totally out of the blue, too - we were just driving down the road, saw the sign, and thought 'let's go check it out'. Turns out it was just a fenced-off temple in the middle of a field with a single sign there and parking for about 4 cars.


As a side note, not knowing which direction you're traveling, but we went East-to-West and ended up at Caerlaveroch, which is (1) not Roman, but (2) totally worth the stop, too.
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Andy Leighton
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It is a great walk Jim - I did it a few years ago although in May and there was snow on the ground one morning - not so good as I was just in a bivvy bag.

The area around Housesteads, and west from Steel Rigg has the best scenery. Steel Rigg is a bit more rugged.

Vindolandia is bit away from the path, but an easy walk. Chesters is a bit closer ISTR.

Birdoswald is worth it.

If you can afford the considerable time delay the 8 mile circular walk to Corbridge (+ time for the museum) is worth doing.

West of Carlisle can be safely ignored. Although fairly pleasant not much of interest. Similarly there is about 5+ miles of walking alongside a road just to the west of Heddon-on-the-Wall which can be pretty uninspiring after a long day.
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Charles Vasey
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Ashiefan wrote:

Am going with a friend to amble along Hadrian's Wall - not attempting to walk the whole thing. We will be there from Mon-Fri in late August. Anyone recommend any must see/hidden gems to see while we are there? We are travelling up by car so will be fairly mobile.


Boys, keep off the moors, stick to the roads. The best to ya...
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Confusion Under Fire
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I cannot remember the exact locations we visited, but we did visit Housesteads and Vindolanda. I am not sure if it was one of these but I have a feeling it was one of the other smaller sites that we found a museum which had an interesting video on what the wall looked like in Roman times. There are numerous stopping places and when we visited in 2010 you could use the same parking ticket in all of the car parks.

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Paul C
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bayonetbrant wrote:

There was also a really neat Mithraic Temple somewhere along the road, but I can't find exactly where it was. It was totally out of the blue, too - we were just driving down the road, saw the sign, and thought 'let's go check it out'. Turns out it was just a fenced-off temple in the middle of a field with a single sign there and parking for about 4 cars.


http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/temple-of-mi...
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Michael McCalpin
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I can definitely encourage going in April, particularly if you like sleet and the associated sympathy for the poor buggers stationed there before central heating.
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Jim F
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capracaligo wrote:
bayonetbrant wrote:

There was also a really neat Mithraic Temple somewhere along the road, but I can't find exactly where it was. It was totally out of the blue, too - we were just driving down the road, saw the sign, and thought 'let's go check it out'. Turns out it was just a fenced-off temple in the middle of a field with a single sign there and parking for about 4 cars.


http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/temple-of-mi...


The Mithraic Temple is a definite and we are strategically positioned in a pub that doubles as a Bed and Breakfast so all our alcoholic needs will be seen to as well
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Chris Stimpson
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A caution against not making the visit when too young (or if you do, don't go back years later).

When I was six years old, and knee-high to a ... what the hell does that mean, anyway? ... the family visited Hadrian's Wall. We debarked from the car, and my father confidently said to a young scamp who had been in the Ford Popular far too long anyway ("Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?): "Go ahead of us up that hill, and stop when you get to the wall that was built to keep the Scots out of England" (or words to that effect).

Up I went, and eventually found myself clambering over a few ill-arranged rocks no more than three feet high. Obviously not the mighty barrier my pater had described. I continued, and by the time the rest of said family arrived at the actual Roman wall over which I had scampered (it's what scamps do) I was half a mile further on, about to get lost in the Caledonian wastes. By the time I got back, (1) pater and sister had hiked out of sight and (2) I had no energy left to appreciate a wall that is definitely not visible from space.

And when I visited Housesteads more than 20 years after my first visit, all I could think was that "when I was a lad, I could run all the way along here underneath the hypocausts. Why can't I now?"

Because you're about twice as tall now, d*ckh@#d.
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Fraser
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There's an awful lot of the wall visible as nearby fences for farms

Years ago we visited a spot along the wall that had a good Roman History museum. I don't actually remember what it was called, but it was relatively close to the towns|villages|place names of Once Brewed and Twice Brewed (those names I remember!).
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Mike Smith
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Hi Jim. Echo previous comments and add a few:
The most dramatic stretch, and the one where you can see how the wall fortified zone functioned is the one around Housesteads (caution: there are many arguments about how it functioned, the most ridiculous of which says that it was all a piece of power theatre, with a bit of customs barrier thrown in, with no practical military function... as a local history teacher its a hobby-horse of mine to attack that nonsensical view whenever I can!). Birdoswald and Vindolanda are definitely worth a visit. I would add the Roman town at Corbridge and the nearby bridge site.

Take your waterproofs...
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Mike Smith
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"West of Carlisle can be safely ignored..."

Oi, wiseguy, some of us live there....
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Andrew J
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cstimpson wrote:
"Go ahead of us up that hill, and stop when you get to the wall that was built to keep the Scots out of England" (or words to that effect"


I hope you reminded your dad that when the wall was built there were no Scots or English in Britain!
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Jim F
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Hi Mike. Agreed on the wall theory. I taught the role of the wall as part of the 'Classical Civilisations' course by OCR (now abandoned I believe by them due to lack of take up). Lots of interesting theories.

We are thinking of going to the Tullie House museum in Carlisle while we are up here. Is it worth a look?
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Mike Smith
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Tullie House? Yes, I would say so, though there is plenty of flash and a bit less substance, there is still enough substance. They used to have a reconstruction of a Roman cavalry saddle (with the four horns to hold you in your seat) that you could actually get on. Probably still there.

When are you coming up?
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Magister Ludi
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I have never been, but this book seems to be a pretty good guide..

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Eric Dodd
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I just picked up Hunter Davies A Walk Along the Wall second-hand. It looks like things have changed since he first walked the wall in 1974, though I haven't read it yet.
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Jim F
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Aussie550 wrote:
I have never been, but this book seems to be a pretty good guide..



It's sitting in my 'to read pile'!!!

(@Mike) We are doing the 22nd to 26th August
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Mike Smith
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In France then. Lanercost Priory, and its valley, make a nice visit. Its near Brampton. Like many buildings around there it used some stone robbed from the Wall.
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Jim F
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We looked at the Priory and thought some of the stonework had a familiar look to it

Obviously some confusion over mine and thine.
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Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
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cstimpson wrote:
...and stop when you get to the wall that was built to keep the Scots out of England...

Hi Chris,

This is not quite true. Yes, Hadrian's Wall was built by the Romans to keep the Scottish out, but in actual fact it lead to the Scottish being the only pure race in the British Isles since those south of the Wall got well and truly screwed by the legionaries (not legionnaires as you obviously know, being the well educated man that you are).

The outcome of this was that there are now very few pure English with 90% of the population being half Italian.


Regards,


Jim......mb
Est. 1949

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Andy Leighton
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Mantuanwar wrote:
"West of Carlisle can be safely ignored..."

Oi, wiseguy, some of us live there....


I was just talking about the Hadrian's Wall Path and I think many would agree it isn't the best bit of the walk from either a walking, scenic or history viewpoint.

For 5 days walking I would probably start at Carlisle and finish at Corbridge. Although the amount of time you spend at the touristy bits will probably eat in to that, so might end it at Chollerford and the Chesters fort.
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Paul C
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Charles Vasey wrote:
Ashiefan wrote:

Am going with a friend to amble along Hadrian's Wall - not attempting to walk the whole thing. We will be there from Mon-Fri in late August. Anyone recommend any must see/hidden gems to see while we are there? We are travelling up by car so will be fairly mobile.


Boys, keep off the moors, stick to the roads. The best to ya...


I would often travel that road as the scenic route home from works meetings in Newcastle. On occasion, heading towards the sunset, with the mist rising in the fields, not a living soul in sight, it was a beautiful- yet eerie- experience.

Hours spent looking at PowerPoint slides can do odd things to one's imagination...
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Mike Smith
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Just joshing!

The Roman thing west of Carlisle worth seeing is the Roman Museum in Maryport - but rightly with limited time go ahead and ignore us Solway Plainers - we are indeed a drab and plain bunch.

Incidently, the very extension of the Wall along the shore of the Solway Firth demonstrates that it was built for a real military purpose not just as a piece of showmanship.
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