Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Epic Adventure in Scotland Day 5: Berwick-on-Tweed to Stratford-upon-Avon

We woke up in Berwick and made our way for Hadrian’s Wall; specifically, we went to Housestead’s Roman Fort, near Hexham.  In 122 AD the new Roman Emperor, Hadrian, toured the empire and decided, for various reasons that I will not go into here, to limit the expansion of the empire, thereby allowing for greater control and growth within the empire.  The result in Britain was Hadrian’s Wall, a 73-mile long stone and turf wall that extends the width of Britain’s narrowest stretch, starting near Newcastle-upon-Tyne and going west.

The wall is studded with various forts spaced out across the entire length of the wall.  Housestead is the best preserved of the forts, and once housed not only the 800 soldiers of the legion, but financially supported a village that sprung up around the fort.  The fort lasted until the withdrawal of Rome from Britain in 411 AD, when it was no longer run by an organized military system and fell into disrepair. 
After leaving the fort, Jamie and I headed home to Stratford-upon-Avon, in time for rehearsal.  It was a quick five-hour drive.

[The remains of the Commander of the fort's house.  He was lucky, he had under floor heating, everyone else had to deal with the cold of the northern English weather.]

[This is the under the floor heating I was speaking of.  Flooring would be placed on top of these pillars, and a fire would blow hot air in the open space beneath the floor, warming the entire house.]

[Jamie getting in touch with her inner Pict.  The Picts were a Scottish tribe first mentioned in 297 AD.  Very little in known about them, but they made raids against the wall.]

[The wall as it extends to the east, towards Newcastle-upon-Tyne.  I hope to walk the whole wall some day (it is isn't that long, compared to the Camino), as these people are doing.]

[The remains of one of the barracks.  Two have been unearthed so far.]

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