From cow to Moscow…

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     I’ve just arrived back from a couple of days in Northumberland…or maybe it was Cumbria (a mixture of both, actually)… Anyway it was Hadrian’s Wall, a part of the country that I have driven through but where I have never quite managed to stop. There seem to be a few people that don’t think I should have done. After all, it rained a fair bit, and we were camping in near zero temperatures, and the general consensus is that I’ve taken leave of my senses. But I’d beg to differ (especially the senses bit). The campsite (named, what else but “Hadrian’s Wall Camping”?) was a gem of a place to pitch our tent – friendly (like everywhere in that area) with excellent facilities, peaceful and with the most wonderful views across to The Wall itself….oh, and I nearly forgot the chaffinches, ducks, cats, dog, woodpecker…and numerous other birds.

As soon as we had set up base camp, there was time for a quick recce and to introduce ourselves to a local resident…

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This is the scenery for me! And note the weather, or should I say, nota bene , seeing as we are in historic mode…

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Unfortunately, the next day, as we follow the line of the wall, it isn’t quite as kind to us…

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Nonetheless, the views are wonderful, and it’s sort of dryish by the time we reach the Roman settlement of Vindolanda…

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This is another must-see, including the wonderful museum which displays some amazing writing tablets retrieved from the excavations which provide an astonishing insight into life in Roman times. These ruins, by the way, are only the top layer of up to five metres depth of settlement – seemingly, the Romans built on top of their old forts – their version of highrise?

Next day, we are less ambitious in our planned walking, for which my legs are eternally grateful, and we hike up from Gilsland village (half-Cumbria, half Northumbria) to the “Popping Stone”, where Sir Walter Scott is said to have popped the question. Very beautiful spot it is too…

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….but note how bare the trees are still in this neck of the woods! Plenty of wild flowers, though – wood anemones, sorrel, violets, primroses, celandines, wild orchids, marsh marigolds…the list goes on!

It’s shortly after this point that my own beloved, who also happens to be navigator, leads me astray in a different way.

“Over this bridge,” he assures me.

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He has decided to depart from the guide book….and we end up only a mile and a quarter from Moscow…

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Never mind, we aren’t lost for too many hours, before we arrive back  in Gilsland to a hearty all-day breakfast at Meg’s café. And guess what? It’s so mild and sunny, we eat al fresco!


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