On Wednesday, I hiked to Vindolanda from the cottages. This decision was practical as well as intentional: there are not enough seatbelts in the vehicles for an extra person AND I like hiking. (For the alumni weekend at Vindolanda, we have a hired car and driver.) Alex told me the broad contours of how to reach Vindolanda by foot and left me an ordinance survey map.
The hike is about ten kilometres, and I had incredible weather. It was an absolutely glorious day to hike in Northumberland. This part of the wall is hilly, and the hike is fairly vigorous. It was my first encounter with Hadrian’s Wall, and one of the things that struck me was the sheer physicality of the construction: these are not small hills, and the wall is (still) high and thick. I am excited to learn more about who did the actual construction and how.
Until I hiked in Northumberland, I did not realize that “public walkway” really means “field filled with sheep.” Often with no marked trail. Happily, there are gates leading from one area to the next, so I got good at finding those as a way of orienting myself. The sheep avoided me, and I have some video footage of walking in their midst, which is a bit of a thrill for me.
I approached Vindolanda from the west, and then made my way to the North field site. Here is a picture of when Beth first noticed that I was standing outside the perimeter of the site.