Tag Archives: Roman Wall

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.

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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

Hadrian’s Wall Walk-Gilsland to Steel Rigg

Gilsland to Once brewed wasn’t the original plan. We were supposed to go to Housesteads Fort, another three or so miles. After looking at the weather report (wind and rain) and studying the terrain (turning to the steep side) and maps I proposed that we shorten the day and use the following day (supposed to be a rest day where we just visited Vindolanda) to do just the section between Steel Rigg and Housesteads Fort. Boy was that a good call!

View of Poltross Barn, Milecastle 48, on Hadrian's Wall.
Poltross Barn, a.k.a., Milecastle 48

In Gilsland there is a ruin of a mile castle, number 48, it’s called “Poltross Barn”. The marked trail had a detour around this mile castle but the woman who ran our bed and breakfast told us to ignore the detour because it was passable and the “barn” was worth seeing. It was.

You can see the Roman’s effect on the landscape…and the current guardians.

This stretch has a lot of wall…and a lot of hills. But the hills are unusual: from the south they rise gradually then drop down abruptly. The Romans deviated from the straight shot across the narrowest part of Britain to take advantage of the unusual landscape running the wall along the crest of the hills. The military road was to the south where the landscape was easier to navigate and travel was both quicker and could be done on horseback. Frodo is played by my husband.

The scenery was beautiful and I was glad that we cut the day shorter, especially when a rain squall came at us as we started the steepest segment. We could just wait it out. By the end of the day the sky was looking innocent with a lot of blue and fluffy white clouds, as if there had never been a storm.

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