Thursday, July 27, 2017

Hadrians Wall vacation 2017

This year's Summer vacation brought us to Hadrian's Wall country. The trip across the North Sea proved quite eventful. Sometimes the sea lulls you to sleep in your bunk. This time it tossed us about! 

But it was all worth it. Our first stay in Oakwood Park Hotel in Brampton was filled with superlatives. The house looked like a Victorian Manor that had housed a hospital in WW1 and turned out to have been both! Hospitality, comfort and menu were all off the charts. When staying in Brampton: stay there!

Walks along the Gelt river were still as beautiful as we remembered. The abandoned Roman quarry looked as untouched as 5 or 500 years ago. One was tempted to look for the tools that the workmen might have abandoned there when they left, 16 centuries ago.

Brampton also houses a brilliant hobby shop: Hadrian's Hobbies, where we spent time chatting, drinking his excellent coffee and adding some much needed stuff to the wargaming collection. Don't forget to stop by if you ever get there!

We visited Carlisle and spent more time in the cathedral this time, talked to a bishop and with a guide that shared many a yarn with us, learned in the 20 years he had spent there.

There's always work to be done in a Medieval piece of property.

In the Tully House Museum we encountered this impressive diorama of an entire Roman Ala (cavalry unit) in 15 mm scale ( I suspect). Beautiful cavalry helmets stared at us from their glass cases. It was a taste of the evening program to come!

In the evening we attended a re enactment event of Hadrian's Cavalry. The Ermine Street Guard and 30 (!) cavalry troopers performed Roman drills. A spectacular sight!

Meet Cookie :)

A Roman camp surrounded the parade grounds. All kind of shoppings could be done. Of course girls need to add to their wardrobe....

Here I am chatting with a jovial Batavian auxiliary who was glad he met someone from the home country amongst all those Romans and Britons.

There were hardcore historically approved chariot races :)

And many demonstrations and shows.

And this of course was a sight never to be forgotten.

Next day we returned to the Wall near Gilsland. Here resting in Birdoswald.

Some knee problems had us fall back to the car and lunch-with-headgear in Lanercost Priory.
The helmets were not for sale, unfortunately. Visitors were encouraged to handle and wear the helmets. You don't need to tell me that twice!

We then visited this most singular little church in Wreay. Designed and built in Victorian times by a very rare and highly educated character, a Miss Losh, it contained the most surprising interior, decorations and stories. Easily passed by on the road this really is a must-see if you are ever near. Almost pagan in its decorations with echoes of Roman temples.

St. Mary's church in Wreay.

Miss Losh had a sense of humour as well. This dragon used to function as a chimney as well, belching out smoke all the time!

The Church's architect, miss Losh.

Classical British weather on our walk to Vindolanda. It was virtually pissing with rain and still there is this British guy walking around in shorts, a fleece sweater and sandals.....

We did attempt to appease the Weather God Jupiter Dolichenus, but apparently he wasn't taking calls anymore. The rain continued unabated....

And in a climate like that, being humorous about the weather is perhaps your only, but still a good alternative...

And already it was over and we left again from Newcastle.

The morning we arrived back in the Netherlands, we saw this big yellow thing hanging above the North Sea. A quick Google search showed it to be the Sun! Who would have thought that one was still around...?

Can't wait to be back....