07 May Trip to Hadrian’s Wall
Our first trip to Hadrian’s Wall at Bowness-on-Solway was not entirely what we expected – there was no wall as such! Most of the remains have been incorporated into various other buildings over the years, but there is a beautiful mosaic in the shelter that marks the beginning (or end) of the ‘Wall’ at Bowness-on-Solway.
It would also appear that it was not just Hadrian’s stones that had gone missing during the mists of time – the two bells from St Michael’s Church were taken by border raiders in 1626. In their haste to escape, the party of border reivers dropped the bells into the Solway and in retaliation the Bowness villagers ‘obtained’ replacements from Dornock and Middlebie – it is still the tradition for any new vicar of Annan to request that their bells be returned.
We were all rewarded for our efforts with refreshments at Wallsend – a lovely tea room and garden, which is also a great B&B close to Hadrian’s Wall.
What also made the drive worthwhile up from our B&B in Portinscale were the beaches along the coast, such as this one at Beckfoot – really beautiful and great fun looking over to Scotland.
Our second trip was much more successful in terms of seeing an ancient stone wall. The wall itself is truly remarkable – it is so straight and hard to believe it is nearly 2000 years old! In the best tradition of exploring England we took the opportunity of visiting the Slack House Farm café and farm shop – fabulous cheese and delicious cakes aplenty.
After walking on the wall we headed to the fort at Housesteads, which is wonderfully bleak yet highly atmospheric. This really was the end of civilisation as far as the Romans were concerned.