Today was fine for touring. Whilst cloudy and overcast there was no rain and little wind.By pure chance I had selected our overnight at the three star Angus Hotel in Carlisle which actually sits on the line of Hadrian’s Wall and on top of the fort named Petriana.First tour stop was Birdoswald which was a major fort, housing perhaps 1000 soldiers on Hadrian’s Wall. There is a good visitor information and interpretation centre with audio-visual. After exploring the site we walked across a field to observe an archaeological dig in process at a Roman burial site connected with the fort.Next we moved on to Vindolanda, a combined civilian and military site, the establishment of which pre-dates the Wall. This is one of my favourite sites, incorporating not only hundreds of years of Roman archaeology but also a replica section of the Wall and -most importantly-the famous Vindolanda Tablets. The latter were voted one of Britain’s top 10 historical treasures. They comprise hundreds of routine personal and military communications which were discarded in a waterlogged pit and thereby preserved and affording us a unique insight into daily life in the Roman era.Next we visited the nearby Housesteads fort which is an integral part of the Wall. This is in reasonable condition and affords classic views of Hadrian’s Wall as it snakes across the landscape (see image below). The site includes granaries, Commanding Officer’s residence with hypocaust, latrines , complex water supply and drainage system and barracks for the soldiers. Location affords superb views over the local landscape.Next and final stop was Corbridge, which like Vindolanda had a history of occupation by both the military and civilians. I always describe this as a ‘Mini Pompeii’, an exageration but not wildy inaccurate.The site includes granaries, civic buildings and even a safe for the military. Alongside is a very good museum and interpretation centre run by English Heritage.With our tour concluded we moved on to our lodgings for the night at Newcastle upon Tyne.Overall, a very satisfying day. I obtained a good supply of images and videos for future use.
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