Category Archives: England

From Sea to Shining Sea

Our walk along Hadrian’s Wall Path last summer took us from Solway Firth on the west coast of England to (after a short metro ride from Wallsend) to the North Sea at Whitley Bay.

At the start of the 12 day walk we were up late (sunset was around 10 pm) and early, due to a combination of jet lag and adrenaline. The day after the walk we just went out after breakfast.

For Nancy Merrill’s Photo a Week: horizons.

Pull up a Seat Photo Challenge-Week 17

A PHOTO CHALLENGE OF PLACES WE SIT…OR MIGHT SIT…OR ART ABOUT SITTING

Welcome to week 17 of Pull up a Seat. Take a load off and share a favorite perch by linking your post to this one, either with a comment or ping-back. For more detailed directions go to Pull Up a Seat page.

Thank you to everyone who participated this week. It is always fun to see the variety of ideas.

 

Here are my contributions for the week, taken last summer in northwest England in and around Carlisle.

 

Over to you.

Pull_up-_a_Seat-Badge

Pull up a Seat Photo Challenge-Week 16

PHOTO CHALLENGE OF PLACES WE SIT…OR MIGHT SIT…OR ART ABOUT SITTING

Welcome to week 16 of Pull up a Seat. Take a load off and share a favorite perch by linking your post to this one, either with a comment or ping-back. For more detailed directions go to Pull Up a Seat page.

Thank you to everyone who participated this week. It is always fun to see the variety of ideas.

Here is my offering for this week, pictures from Bath England taken last summer.

Over to you.

Pull_up-_a_Seat-Badge

Squares of the Times

20181204-Times_Squares-01Advent wreaths count down to Christmas, in reality they probably predate the concept of Christmas and are part of “pagan” celebrations of the solstice. I like the idea of advent, gradually preparing for our celebration of the change from darkening to lightening (Christmas is fundamentally that: a celebration of the return of light to a dark and weary world) and have “celebrated” it in my own ways for many years now.

This year I decided that I will try to add to that celebration participation in the “TimeSquares” Photo Challenge by each week during Advent.

From our visit to London last June:

From this past week, time passes so quickly:

20181203-Times_Squares-01
A vest I made last weekend for my son, beside two I made for him when he was a child.

 

Back to the Wall

I never finished the series of posts I intended to write about walking Hadrian’s Wall last June. 

Here is a gallery of pictures from the Hadrian’s Wall National Trail between Housesteads Fort and Chester’s Fort.

In this stretch, while not including the highest point on the walk, it passes something equivalent to the Continental divide in North America, the texture of the clouds changed, and it got way less windy.

Sheep with its fleece being blown by the wind.
The wind blew so hard it was shearing the sheep.

Son of a Beach’s Which Way Photo Challenge

The Sycamore of Sycamore Gap

The sycamore of sycamore Gap along Hadrian’s Wall in Northumbria is the most photographed tree in all of England. No surprise since it is perfectly framed by the dip in the terrain, which allowed it to grow by protecting it from the sometimes brutal winds of the area. The day we were there was a little blustery, giving us just a little taste of reality.

Here are my takes on this famous tree.

Black-&-White-Banner

 

Hadrian’s Wall Walk: Steel Rigg to Housesteads Fort

We took an extra day on our walk in the middle of our trip, an area which is remote and therefore more intact sections of the wall and forts. If you ever do the walk think about it. It give you lots of time to enjoy the area, and to take a break during the storms.

In this area the wall is built along the edge of cliffs. It is fairly vigorous walking, and some of the steep, rocky areas are a bit treacherous when wet.

This section contains a lot of lovely scenery, even on a cloudy day, including the most photographed tree in England: the sycamore of sycamore gap. It is a striking site: a large healthy sycamore tucked into a gap in the cliffs.

The walking part, for us, was from the Steel Rigg visitor center to Housesteads Fort.

We took the bus from Housesteads past Steel Rigg to Vindolanda. Vindolanda is not to be missed. If I had it to do over I would have opted for 3 nights at Henshaw Barn so we had a full day there.

Vindolanda is a very large fort and the civilian settlement that built up around it, still under excavation, along with a well done museum of the finds. Including personal letters, miraculously preserved and located that give insight into daily life.

 

Traces of the Past

Our recent walk along the Hadrian’s Wall National Path in north England was a bit of a scavenger hunt for traces of the past, specifically sign of Roman Britain.

Sometimes it could be seen in the shape of the land, with lines just a little too straight to be natural, or bumps and lumps where there were none others nearby of the same shapes.

At other times jagged stone piles jutted out.

KSM-20180616-Hadrians_Wall-01
Poltross Barn, a milecastle in Gilsland.

 

At the easiest times the National trust provided outlines of what was where and informative signs that made it easy.

For Paula at Lost in Translation’s Thursday’s Special: Traces of the Past

A coddiwomple to Whitby

Great new word from the Ragtag Daily Prompt: Coddiwomple. It means “to travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination.”

I coddiwomple through life, especially when I travel. I tend to be very business-like and organized, but I am often a little (or sometimes a lot) vague on exactly what I want to accomplish. I’ve become more comfortable with it as time goes on, might as well not stress on my own goals when I keep getting hit with sudden needs to spend hours collecting documents for Grandma’s VA and DSHS reviews or take Dad to the doctor, etc.

When traveling I like to get out and be where I am and that often means hustling myself ready and getting out, then deciding which direction to head. Usually I make a list of possibilities for each location so I can adjust for weather, transportation snafus or just feeling a bit lazy.

On our recent trip to England we took a couple of day trips to places chosen because they were the end of the line for train rides. One of these was to Whitby. We were staying in York to get to the Esk Valley line we had to change twice, in Darlington and Middlesbrough, which meant planning well since the Esk Valley line only has a couple of runs a day.

The Esk Valley line is a small, two car train, more like a tram. It runs from Middlesbrough through the North York Moors National Park to the coastal town of Whitby.

We didn’t know what to expect, but learned that Whitby is basically a tourist trap. Very picturesque and very crowded on one of Yorkshires hottest days. You have about 4 hours to explore if you aren’t going to ride the same train back that you came on.

We sat on the opposite side of the train going and saw a bit more of the river than we had on the trip out.

 

It was a nice coddiwomple in many ways. We both enjoy train travel and the scenery was lovely. Whitby is a charming town.

Even my careful planning couldn’t cover everything: the day we had for the trip was exceptionally hot for Yorkshire so a lot of people were headed out for a day at the coast, including a very large school group. The kids were well behaved, and the adults had the outing well organized, but the kids were, understandably, excited and chatty and the train was very crowded. They were also on the train coming back, again well behaved, but excited and even more chatty from a day of sun and sea and sugary treats. The silence when they got off was welcome.

Advice for if you ever get the chance to take this trip: on weekdays, even if there are no school groups, the train back is used by students of the local schools on their way home so it is normally more crowded than the one going out.