Wall walking

I’m still a ways behind on the day trips of the last month or so.

When Jes and Tariq came to visit, they decided they wanted to see Hadrian’s Wall. They wanted to see Vindolanda, where I did my excavation in April and some other wallish things.

You can get to all the forts and landmarks on the wall on a bus from Newcastle, the AD122. But it only leaves once a day, at 9am. I wasn’t sure we’d be able to catch it on time, but with lots of coffee and a little luck, we boarded the bus and drove along the wall (literally, the road sometimes follows on top of the wall).

We started out at Vindolanda, where I gave them a tour from what I remembered of my orientation, told them what I’d found and showed them where I’d dug.

The original plan was to take the bus to Housesteads Roman Fort and look around. Housesteads is usually used as an example of the typical Roman fort plan and I hadn’t been yet.

We were waiting for the bus in front of Vindolanda. It was cold and windy and we were bored.

So we decided to walk to Housesteads instead.

I’m still not sure how far it was, but it wasn’t an easy walk by any means (though we were definitely the youngest and the most exhausted of the wall walkers that day - clearly the old people were in better shape!)

But it was beautiful.

What goes up must come down, photo by me

It looks nice until you realize that once you get to the top you have to go down again. And then up again. For at least 3 miles.

Climb me! photo by me

And sometimes the path would go over an old farmer’s wall and you have to climb over it on an Official Hadrian’s Wall Path Ladder (UNESCO approved!)

Jes and Tariq being a cute couple, photo by me

But the views from the top are spectacular. I think you can see Scotland back there. That’s Jes and Tariq, being cute.

Lake, photo by me

This was my second favourite view.

Milecastle 39, photo by me

The Romans had a Milecastle on every Roman mile of the wall. This is Milecastle 39, one of the best preserved on the wall.

Robin Hood tree, photo by me

Recognize this? This was my favourite part of the walk. This is none other than the iconic tree from the beginning of the Robin Hood movie with Kevin Costner. It’s somewhere between Once Brewed and Housesteads. Isn’t it a great tree?!

The three of us, photo by me

So we had to take a self portrait, obviously. My hair was escaping from its braids by this point. It was so windy!

Me and Jes walking the wall, photo by Tariq

All in all, it was a great day adventure and a good workout. My legs really hurt the next day.

Canada Day

Today is the 143rd birthday of my very young country. Big and beautiful, for sure, but young.

The more I travel, the more proud I am to be Canadian. I love Canada. I love what it means to be Canadian. I love that most people love Canadians.

And I know that Canada is home.

Other countries may be older, more historically interesting and even more beautiful.

But Canada is a country that I am proud to call home, even from across an ocean.