Friday, 6 August 2010

Great North Fun Day 9


Sycamore Gap

It was built to keep the Scottish out. Sorry Scots.  It was apparently 15 feet high when it was built and it stretches for a blooming long way (an ancient archaeological standard of measurement.).  Pretty impressive that parts of it still remain along with some forts etc.  It's a shame the Romans didn't leave more behind when they went like clear instructions as to how to make a proper pizza and legislation controlling the excessive use cream in carbonaras. Have you ever tried a proper Italian carbonara? A million times nicer than the stodgy creamy thing us Brits have turned it into.  Anyway, back to Hadrian's Wall. We parked up at the visitor's centre in the wonderfully named "Once Brewed" and took a stroll along the wall to Sycamore Gap. This is a rather picturesque spot where a single sycamore tree has grown in a sharp dip next to the wall.  It was used in Robin Hood (the Kevin Costner one) and was depicted as a spot where he saved a young boy from a pack of dogs.  Interestingly it was supposed to be on his route from the south coast to Nottinghamshire so I can only assume he was using the same standard of maps as we were yesterday.

Monty seems to be settling into life on Delores.  He spends much of his time curled up asleep in various nooks he's found and is always quick to explore new and exciting areas like the saucepan storage area under the cooker.  We've struggled to persuade him to use his scratch pad though. Having tried various tricks and techniques he finally used it yesterday so we showered him with praise and treats. 5 minutes later he used the sofa again. I know you can't win them all but it would nice to win one occasionally.

We arrived at the site in the early evening - Seldom Seen - another great place name.  It's nice enough and the owner seems lovely but it's situated right next to a railway line and the freight trains come through every half hour or so. Not sure what they're taking where but whatever it is someone needs a lot of it!

Tomorrow we're off to see more of Hadrian's Wall, well we will if there are any more free bits. At around £5 per person for entry into most sections it can quickly become an expensive day out. It does make me wonder again about why it was built. Maybe it has nothing at all to do with keeping the Scots out. Maybe it was actually put there by a forward thinking Roman general who realised that several hundred years hence this part of the world might be glad of something to attract the tourists?  Whatever the reason and whatever we do tomorrow I think we'll be doing it in wellies - we've been lucky with the weather so far but it's definitely looking like rain is on the way.