H is for Hadrian's Wall

Published August 8, 2010

Hadrian’s Wall is quite confusing. It’s a big long wall, obviously, but I wasn’t sure if just seeing it counted as part of the alphabet, as most of the visitor spots are Roman forts that come under another name. To combat this, I chose the Housesteads Roman Fort. Win-win!

To get there, I had to travel along the amazing Roman roads. You know, you drive along a straight road and you joke about it being one of them Roman roads. They’re nothing like the roads running parallel with Hadrian’s wall. They are as straight as an arrow, and so incredibly bumpy, up and down, just like Postman Pat in the opening sequence. Anyway, suffice to say, it was so much fun that I almost missed the Housesteads Fort. From the road, it is just a carpark with a little hut selling ice creams.

Housesteads Roman Fort

You have to walk across through the hut, out the other side, and over a hill before you get a glimpse of the fort, and even then you have to go up another hill and past a lot of sheep before you get there. It’s quite the trek.

Housesteads Roman Fort

Housesteads Fort is quite literally just the foundations of what it once was. Very few tall walls, and mostly just stones littering the ground. I don’t know whether it’s because I don’t know much about the Romans, or because it was a windy day and the sheep were putting me off, but I just couldn’t get a sense of what life was like back then. A visit to the Roman Baths is far different and you do get that sense, but here, it was just like looking at some stones in a field.

Housesteads Roman Fort

I was a tiny bit disappointed. There were signs all around to try and help, but the only rooms that I really could understand were the barracks. And my only real thought about them was they look very, very small!

I also couldn’t tell which bit was actually Hadrian’s Wall, and for a while I was worried that I hadn’t seen it at all. I thought they might have made more of a fuss. However, I came home and looked at a map with my mother, and between us we figured out that this was it.

Housesteads Roman Fort

Not that exciting, I’m sure you’ll agree. As ever, I’m not disappointed I went there at all, but it certainly wasn’t my favourite trip of the Alphabet Adventure so far.

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