Road trip to Northumberland

Yesterday, John and l left the gentle landscape of Suffolk and headed to The North.

We stopped for lunch in Doncaster, a gloomy, old industrial town and quickly headed toward the North York Moors which were worth the drive.

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Then we traveled on past Newcastle to a small village called Heddon-on-the-Wall — so named because it resides along Hadrian’s Wall — to visit with Hazel McMurtry, the widow of one of John’s good friends.

Hazel was born in Belfast, but her home in Heddon-on-the-Wall featured a lovely garden which makes me think the Irish know a thing or two about gardening as well.

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We left Hazel’s hospitality late this morning to visit Housteads, the most complete Roman fort in North England.

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The fort dates to around 124 AD and was one of 16 that resided along Hadrian’s Wall. Emperor Hadrian had the wall (16 to 20 feet high and 25 feet wide) built about 90 miles across Britannia to keep the Picts (Scots) from raiding on his frontier — think the U.S Cavalry trying to prevent the Plains Indians from raiding and you get the picture albeit almost two millennia later.

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The Romans occupied the fort for almost 300 years.

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I found the remnants of the communal latrine, pictured above, very interesting. The stone sinks are in the middle. The gaps on either side were covered with wooden seating with holes in it. A drainage system brought a steady flow of water in to flush the latrine out. Pretty hi-tech for the 2nd century in a military outpost on the frontier.

Enough about potties…..We left  Hadrian’s Wall and headed southwest into the Lake District. What an enchanting landscape! My photographs don’t do it justice as it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen.

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