Date & Time: Tuesday 12th February 2008. 3 pm start.
Location of Start : Steel Rigg Car Park, Northumberland, Uk. ( NY 750 676 )
Places visited : Steel Crags above Once Brewed, Mile Castle 39, Crag Lough and back.
Walk details : 2 mls, 500 ft of ascent (level but lots of ups and downs), 2 hrs.Highest point : The crags above Crag Lough.
Walked with : Family: Paula with Thomas and Abi, Gareth, Ann and our dogs, Harry and Bethan.
Weather : "Wall to wall" sunshine (pardon the pun) !
A close up of the Roman Wall
After visiting the fort and museum we pile in the car and travel a mile north for a walk along the Roman Wall itself.
The weather was great . . . "Wall to Wall" sunshine through till sunset.
That tree featured in the " Robin Hood " film. We set off to walk the wall till we found it for real.
Our starting point was the Steel Rigg car park from where it was a short grassy walk to the first big view of the Wall.
The Romans decided to build a wall across the country to define the limit of their Empire.
Originally a turf wall, it was rebuilt in stone in the reign of Emperor Hadrian.
The route they chose was defined here by the cliffs formed as a result of the intrusion of a layer of volcanic rock, the Whin Sill.
The strata has been folded over geological time and the appearance of harder rock at the surface led to the formation of vertical cliffs, a natural defensive structure.
These wall turrets were interspersed between the mile forts and had a communications as well as a defensive function.
Did someone say the walk would be flat ?
This is the flat part, so she can walk the wall as I hold her hand.
In Roman times the wall may have had extra layers of stone.
It certainly would have had a wooden or stone barricade on top too just like the replica in Vindolanda.
Three generations photo - a rather mixed three - with Granddad, Uncle, nephew and niece . . .oh ! . . . and Harry the dog.
The enormity of the work involved in constructing the wall can only be guessed at as each of these stones has had to be quarried, cut, shaped, transported to site and then built into an interlocking whole. This could be a scientific shot, or maybe it's art ?
Come on says Thomas - stop taking silly photos !
In the next dip is Mile Castle No 39 (numbered east to west by the way)
The foundations marked the site of a minor Roman fort suitable for holding a border guard of twenty men. They often had a gateway through the wall as it was as much a customs barrier as a defensive position and local people were allowed through to continue their normal lives, trade and to journey north or south.
Thomas stands guard in the entrance.
In the next dip was the tree we saw from Vindolanda.
I think it's a Sycamore Tree - difficult to tell at this time of year with no leaves.
One more rise and we were up on the high ground above Crag Lough.
Being so far from any centre of population, this section of the wall along Steel Rigg is the best preserved.
There was a great tendency elsewhere to rob the stones to build housing and farm walls. Here they remain intact to hint at their former glory.
Family shot in the afternoon sun - photo courtesy of Gareth.
Time to make our way back . . . Harry leads the way.
It's that tree again . . . a second one has been planted in the small enclosure but it's not growing very well.
Rather than climb every up and down we opt for a slight diversion from the wall along the grassy slopes to the south.
Easier going for the little one.
Back to the wall for the last section as Gareth helps Abi across the stile.
Late afternoon sun casts a shadow part way up the crags.
As we walk west into the sunset . . .
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with my Canon G7 or Ann's Ixus Digital cameras.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . More of the same fine weather please.
Previous walk - 12th Feb 2008 Wall to Wall Sunshine - Roman Style