Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Edinburgh to Leeds (via Hadrian's Wall)

Another morning in Edinburgh, and more entertainment with Edinburgh Camp Site's electrical problems. Fortunately, they seemed to have gotten most of the kinks out of the system -- we were able to run the tumble drier through two cycles without losing power!

Unfortunately, the internet connection was still too weak to connect. As we left, Juliette sat in the back with the laptop, and as we neared the reception, the signal quality improved dramatically. So we sat in their driveway for about half an hour, updating the blog and doing other interwebby things (like making sure the credit card didn't starve!).

Around 10, we finally left Edinburgh. Our original plan was to head for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, but the British Heritage Guide pointed us toward Housesteads, the best-preserved of the Roman Forts along Hadrian's Wall. It took us nearly three hours (the
route went west to Glasgow, then south to Carlisle, then back east along the A69) to get there, arriving about 1pm.

We walked along the track from the carpark for about 10 minutes -- dodging sheep and sheep-poo -- before arriving at the museum a bit puffed (the path was very up-hill and down-dale). The museum was interesting, though small, and had a model of what they think the fort looked like at its height, as well as bits and pieces of recovered masonry and statuary.

We browsed for a bit, then headed up to the ruins proper. Over the intervening centuries, the fort (indeed, the whole Wall) had been scavenged by locals, who used the stones to make everything from fences to churches, so all that's really left are the foundations of the walls. Still, you get a good idea of the size of the fort from the remains of the exterior walls, and the views northwards are amazing. And yes, you can still see the Wall trundling off into the distance.

Back in the museum, we went through the gift shop, picking up a couple of bits and pieces, before heading back to the van (now named "Vaughan the Van"). The next stage was the two-and-a-half hour journey to Leeds. I'm still not used to it getting dark as early as it does here at this time of year -- having to have the headlights on at 4:30pm feels wrong! Fortunately, most of the trip was on the A1(M) -- at least two lanes of traffic, though getting back to the A69 from Housesteads through narrow country lanes was not fun, and neither was the last 20 miles to get to the campsite.

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