GLW1507 : Hallin Fell after the Romans

7th & 8th September 2015

We hadn't intended to visit Hallin Fell when we set off.  In fact we hadn't intended to be anywhere near.  Our objective was to walk a section of Hadrian's wall plus visiting Vindalanda and Housesteads Roman forts whilst we were there.

It was a beautiful afternoon as we drove to Penrith, up the hill to Alston then on to the South Tyne. 

The roads were bedecked with bunting and yellow bicycles as the Tour of Britain would be passing through two days later.

Unfortunately I didn't take any photos but this one taken by Michelle who runs the edenfound website is typical.  

Thanks Michelle for the use of the photo.

Rather than check in at the B&B we went straight to Vindalanda and it is a good job we did. 


The museum is excellent and we spent well over an hour looking at the many, well displayed and explained exhibits. 

In fact we were the last in and the staff were anxious for us to leave as it was closing time. 

However there was no need to leave the site so we had the whole of the excavated (and unexcavated) fort area to ourselves. 

Quite special on a beautiful evening.

After checking in at the Huntercrook Lodge we went to the Twice Brewed Inn for our evening meal.  It was very good but I got arrested.  Preparing to leave, I walked down the room to visit the gents. As I opened the corridor door, I was apprehended by a big, strong, off-duty policeman.  My crime?  Being the uncle of a big, strong, off-duty policeman.  Ian and his pals were cycling the Hadrian's Wall coast to coast route and were staying in that very hotel.  Small world.

Breakfast next morning was excellent but the weather was not.  It was quite thick mist; cold and damp.  A revised plan was called for.  We decided to drive the length of the wall as far as Chesters fort.  This site also has a museum but what a contrast. 

Whereas Vindalanda was very modern, this museum was itself like a museum exhibit. 

The display was very much as it would have been a hundred years ago.

The site was possibly even larger than Vindalanda but it seemed less excavated. 

The scale, however, was impressive and the barracks and bath house particularly interesting.

No, she is not sat on a Roman loo!  

She's on the seat in the changing rooms- the floor level having risen over the years.

The mist hadn't lifted.  We drove back along the wall's military road in the hope that it would burn off but it didn't.  A lot of miserable looking people were trudging along.  Many had no option as their belongings had been transported to their next overnight stopping place.

However we had no such problem and could see that it seemed brighter to the south west.  We decided to return to the Lake District and visit Ullswater.  Our stop for lunch at Pooley Bridge was a bit of a disaster as I spilt a pint of orange juice over Margaret who was alreadyMrs Grump as the steamer times were not suited to us travelling on board to Howtown then walking back.  Or vice-versa.  Fortunately the shining sun spread its charms to her disposition and a Plan 2 evolved which she later agreed was rather better than Plan 1.

We drove to Howtown and walked the circumference of Hallin Fell. 

Some of this we had done before on The Westmorland Way.  What particularly perked her up was seeing the steamer go by, heaving with folk sardined together and looking jealously at us looking down at them.

We could see Gowbarrow, which we had visited recently on GLW1506

The circuit is only a short walk but very attractive, just as much so on the non-lakeside of the hill. 

The drive home via the back roads around Askham and Bampton in the early evening sunshine was a bonus.  

Even Shap looked not without its attraction!

Hadrian will just have to wait until the Time Lords and The Sun Gods present us with the right opportunity to see Housesteads and explore what is supposed to be the finest section of wall- Steel Rigg

Don, 8th September 2015


Distance: 3.5 miles        Climbing: 526 feet



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