Europe Photoblogging, Part 10: Carlisle and Hadrian’s Wall
By Dwip September 17, 2014, 12:09 pm Comments (0) RSS Feed for this post

This is Carlisle Castle, one of the major features from my trip to Carlisle and along Hadrian’s Wall, 5/6 to 5/8/04. This was the last and longest leg of my Spring Break trip through England, as chronicled here.

This is one place I recommend the attached blog post be read – there were Adventures had here.

This is the main gateway of Carlisle Castle. The castle itself is 12th century, and you can tell by the somewhat rough stonework and massive construction that it’s a frontier thing meant to deal with the troublesome fact that Scotland was full of Scots.

The bottom bit is of a rather more gunpowdery vintage, meant to discourage via lead ball people trying to gain access to the main gate.

Access to same seems as if it would be rather difficult, given both the ditch and the wide expanse of cleared ground around the castle. Looking at these sorts of things you begin to get the feeling that castle assaults really must have been somewhat perilous affairs, even if the only thing being shot at you are arrows.

Skipping over my various adventures in Carlisle, this is the old Roman fortress of Vercovicium, now known as Housesteads. It was one of the cohort-sized legionary forts along Hadrian’s Wall itself, which is sorta-kinda visible at the top of the picture as its northernmost wall.

This is a rather more recent model of the thing. There’s one of these at Housesteads itself, and another one in the Roman Britain room in the British Museum, which means I have this exact same picture twice. Here you can more easily see Hadrian’s Wall, along with what the fortress actually looked like when it was a going concern, plus attached settlement.

This is another one of those thousand years of sheep sorts of places. You want the frontier, this place is the frontier. There is all of absolutely nothing going on for as far as the eye can see.

Pretty country though.

Again with the whole thousand years of sheep bit, with a bit of my name is Ozymandias, King of Kings thrown in to boot. What was once a thriving legion fortress is now home to a whole lot less soldiers protecting the far border of the empire and a whole lot more sheep.

On the balance, it must be said that the sheep are tastier.

This is what remains of the foundation of the commander’s house at Housesteads, which is pretty representative of the fort as a whole. There’s not really a whole lot here, but it is very cool to see what a real legion fort looks like after having read about so many of them.

After Housesteads I walked my way up to Vindolanda, another cohort-sized legion fort south of Housesteads. The big draw there were the recreations of what Hadrian’s Wall probably looked like. This is one of the turrets placed at very regular intervals along the wall, plus a section of the wall itself. Pretty cool.

This, along with a recreation of a wooden turret from the turf wall and a recreation Roman settlement, all form a much larger museum complex that’s much more involved than what Housesteads has to offer.

That’s Walltown Crags, a very well preserved and dramatic bit of Hadrian’s Wall that I saw while at the Roman Army Museum near Greenhead. If you read the blog post on this one, I had ever so much fun around here.

This is part of the vallum at Walltown Crags, one part of the Roman defensive works along the Wall that included extremely large ditches on both sides as well as a roadway. Crossing all that must have been rather exciting.

And once again we come to the detritus from this trip, of which there is a great deal. Left to right, top to bottom:

* My three bus tickets from various sojurns to and once even from Hadrian’s Wall.

* A pamphlet from the Tullie House, essentially Carlisle’s city museum. Lots of fun stuff here involving the Romans, as everything around here must in some way involve the Romans.

* A bus schedule for the various Hadrian’s Wall busses. This thing was a huge lie. Opposite, on the other side of the castle booklet, another pamphlet of the various forts and museums.

* My ticket to Vindolanda, with my ticket to the Roman Army Museum opposite.

* My train tickets from York to Carlisle and from Carlisle to London.

* My train ticket, in orange, from Bardon Mill to Carlisle. I had a very, very exciting adventure getting from Vindolanda back to Carlisle.

* My English Heritage booklet from Carlisle Castle, which is one of my favorite things from the entire trip – it’s got lots of floorplans and photos and descriptions of the castle.

* A flyer from Carlisle Cathedral, which I apparently visited but remember nothing of now. Like the castle, however, it’s a very nice red stone structure that I’m only declining to show you because ye gods, man. Do you have any idea how many churches I saw on this trip?

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