UK/Ireland 2018 travel blog

First glimpse of Hadrian's Wall - 122 AD

A watchtower - one every 1.5 miles (approximately)

Wall close to Birdoswold Fort

Gilisland Spa

Overview of Fort at Housteads



View from the fort - in the middle of nowhere isn't it?

View from North gate - the wall moving off in the distance...

Up early again so we could get to Brampton, England and look into finding Hadrian's Wall (built in 122 to mark the northern border of the Roman Empire and keep out the "barbarians"...who got in anyway). This wall spans the width of the island

We were both particularly sad to be ending our time in Scotland - we enjoyed it so much. There is certainly more to explore and I'd like to go back...gotta find that McConnell tartan after all.

Anyway, we headed south. It was a relief to be on the highway instead of the tiny small roads from the last few days...until I had to make a bathroom stop and one wrong turn and it was rural FAST! It took us a ton of time to find our way back to the freeway. Lesson learned about bathroom stops off the highway!

Anyway, we found Brampton and what we thought was our B&B a couple of miles outside of town. But no one answered the door, so we weren't 100% sure...and having trouble calling UK numbers and not being able to find a website (only the listing), I'll admit, I was a little concerned, wondering if we had a room for the night. Had to remember - worst case scenario, we find a different place. So we decided to head out to see if we could find the wall. Of course, I woudl have liked to do some planning and read up on it, but Patrick had a hunch, so we headed out. And his hunch paid off in spades. We found it in just a few moments and signs were laid out wonderfully. While many people walk the 73 miles of wall from sea to sea, we could drive to quite a bit of it and see some major landmarks. We saw the wall (once 9 feet tall and 6 feet wide), watchtowers, a spa where people came for healing, and a full-fledged fort, which would have housed 1000 people...all in the middle of nowhere crossing people's farms.

We wondered as we were wandering, how someone discovered it and knew it was something different than the many stone walls in the area, so we asked the question at one of the museums. The docent's answer was "well, it wasn't 'discovered'. It's always been here. we've always known what it was". This was a mindbender of an answer. Of course - duh...but that didn't dawn on us. It's always been here...of course.

We spent all day at the various locations on the wall and probably covered about 1/3 of it. We headed back to our B&B and with great relief the owner was there - we did have a room...and it was quite nice. After we got settled we headed in to town for dinner. We popped in to a pub called The Shoulder of Mutton, if you can believe it. And it was free juke box night. People kept streaming into the bar and they all seemed to know each other (and maybe they did - the population of Brampton is 4600). I loved the community feeling of the pub. People from different groups kept switching up and talking to people from the other groups. Among the characters in this pub there were the following:

-lady with the weird dog that looked like the dog in Something about Mary

-Juke box lovers of ABBA and Tony Orlando & Dawn

-Dart Players (brought their own darts)

-Person talking to himself

-the people I dubbed the "intellectuals"

-The crooners

We both wanted to stick around longer, but needed dinner. The bistro that had been recommended was closed for the day, which left precious little in town to choose from - it was either take out (which would have been difficult in our B&B); fish & chips (which would have disappointed after seafood in Oban); or a place called the Howard Arms. So Howard it was...for the weirdest meal we'd ever had. I could describe it, but the weirdness of it would not come through. But it was memorable.

Miles walked: 4

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