Friday, 20 June 2014

What have the Romans ever done for us?

Breakfast view.
Our final morning in Seahouses dawned bright & sunny and there was no alternative but to rustle up a flask & head to the beach for breakfast.  Not that I needed anymore sun mind you - I currently have sunburnt ankles and lips, an odd but sore combination.

We needed to head for Greystoke so decided to stop along the way and "do some Hadrian's Wall stuff".  A quick scan of the English Heritage map and Corbridge Roman town caught our eye - the site looked fantastic in the books but would it deliver?  I'm not a great lover of suspense so I'll tell you now - it most certainly does deliver - but back to the journey...

There were plenty of brown signs to the English Heritage (EH) site but as none of them have mile markers on them let me tell you it's about 2 miles west of Corbridge so don't park in the town unless you're in the mood for a walk.  There is parking at the site which is unfortunately plentiful.  Why "unfortunately"? Because this site is so utterly superb that the 15 or so spaces shouldn't be nearly enough!  This isn't a dusty old monument - you can walk along 2000 year old streets, you can see ingenious aqueducts and fountain houses and you can hear a first class commentary which brings it all to life.
Seriously - Basingstoke town centre has several hundred car parking spaces which are rammed most days of the week, and all it has to offer is the same old boring identikit shopping centre as every other modern town - how can any of that be more interesting than walking down 2000 year old streets?!

When we arrived I was worried we'd be kept away from the ruins - but no! You can walk, crawl and climb all over them to really get a feel for what life was like.  (or you could power march through the whole lot like the woman we spotted who did it all in about 15 mins but probably missed the point.) I was more like a big kid than normal as I bounded around half expecting someone to tell me off at any moment.
It was a hot day so we paused for an ice cream and pondered how the Romans had developed underfloor heating while we were still slinging mud at each other.  The guy in charge of the shop was massively knowledgeable so I only wish I'd thought to ask him while we were there instead of 7 hours later when I'm writing this blog... 

Leaving Corbridge behind (but not before we'd bought half the bookshop - the Ancient Britain OS Map is fantastic!) we continued on to Greystoke.  Over the next 2 days Steve will be making a longbow from scratch at the Quirky Cycle Cafe and I'll be lazing in the shade and reading books.  Hopefully it will give my Mick Jagger lips a chance to subside but I'll be dosing them regularly with cold beer just to be on the safe side.