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Friday, February 23, 2007

Here is re-post of previous Blog entry with improved linkage.

What a fantastic challenge and adventure!Five Roman Army enthusiasts from the U.S. travel to England to march the entire length of Hadrian's Wall ( 80 Roman miles) in full, Roman Army kit all arranged and managed by designated Quartermaster, Nigel Cole of Catswhiskerstours. Here are the people:Bob: Centurio Marcus Antonius Lucius-Cohors IV of Legio X Fretensis http://legioxfretensisblogspot.comPeter: Petrius Galginus Apollo ConallRomani: Marcus Flavius AvinniusJoe: Quintus Moravius SeverusJeff: Quietus Badudius GermanicusNigel: Primus (Quartermaster)Day 1. June 19th 2006 We arrive by train, plane and automobile at Newcastle upon Tyne. By kind permission of Newcastle Museums we are allowed to stay overnight in the reconstructed Roman fort at Arbeia, South Shields. This provides a flavour for the authentic conditions of Roman soldiers, sleeping on straw mattresses and making ourselves a basic breakfast with limited facilities. We try to stay as close as possible to the Roman diet-on which more later.Day 2: 12-13 miles Segedunum Roman Fort (Reconstructed Roman Bath House and Museum) to Heddon on theWall. This is a distance of about 13 miles entailing marching through Newcastle City. This proves tough going on footwear and presents difficulties for the quartermaster (in back up vehicle) maintaining contact due to road/parking restrictions. Some of the City office workers raise an eyebrow or two at the contingent of Roman soldiers marching through their midst! Two-way radio and/or cellphone would have been of help for the group to stay in touch-but hardly authentic! Using a combination of telepathy and luck we do all meet up and find our way to camping barn at Heddon on the Wall. This is good accommodation provided by Proprietor, Paula Lewis is a very helpful and friendly lady-and archetypal farmer's wife! That evening John Naylor of arrives in his van bringing various replica weaponry which he manufactured. John is ex-army and a fascinating guy to talk to. He specialises in historical replicas for film and TV. That evening Quartermaster, Nigel makes contact with Tyne Tees Television News via e-mail. They express interest in the march.Day 3: 10 milesHeddon to Errington Arms (or Portgate).With benefit of the new weaponry, the group is able to march with full compliment of equipment. At end of day's march visit Corbridge, which was a supply base for the Wall and developed into a prosperous garrison town.The museum contains fascinating finds and remarkable sculptures. Well worth a visit.That evening back to the camping barn at Heddon. That evening met up with a couple of lady hikers of a certain age-Connie and Chips- who proved very good company. Evening meal at local pub in military dress.Day 4: 11 miles.T.V. crew arrive 0845 at the camping barn and commence filming. That day's march commences at Portgate/Essington Arms where the film crew meet us for more filming. March on to via Chesters Roman Fort and Museum, the best preserved Roman cavalry fort in Britain which benefits from a delightful riverside setting and extensive remains of a bath house. There is also the Clayton Collection of alters and sculptures from Hadrian's Wall. That evening stay at the Old Repeater Station (camping barn) under management of the legendary "Les" who is a good and generous host with character. That evening we sit down and watch ourselves on the local T.V. news ( a full two minute slot)-what a unique experience! A recording of this news item will shortly be available for viewing on the Roman Tours page of Catswhiskerstours. Day 5: 7.5 miles. Hard marching over tough terrain to Housesteads Roman Fort and Museum.This is the most complete Roman fort in Britain located on a spectacular position with commanding views and incorporating granaries, barracks, hospital and ingenious latrines coupled with good stretches of Hadrian's Wall.Lots of photo shoots with walkers who are astonished to come across genuine Romans! At Housesteads we meet up with Dr. Julian Richards, a famous archaeologist and presenter of " Meet the Ancestors" and many other archaeological themed TV programmes. He is working a Timewatch programme on the Wall which will be shown in the autumn/fall. Dr. Richards kindly consents to a photo shoot with the legionnaires. We visit the famous Vindolanda fort and museum at Chesterholm which has excavations in progress. Home to one of Britain's top ten treasures-the famous Vindolanda letters, which were the e-mails of the day and preserved in wet conditions thereby providing us all with a unique insight into the minutiae of Roman life. There we met up with another Roman re-enactment group from Yorkshire who are camping on site.Overnight at the Old Repeater Station, with our genial host. Les.Day 6: 10 miles Steel Rigg to Birdoswald Fort via the Roman Army Museum. Birdoswald is a Roman Fort and residential centre. This is where the Wall, fort, turret and milecastle can all be seen. The Roman Army Museum ( Carvoran) is well worth a visit and provides a valuable insight into the daily lives of Roman soldiers. Final half mile proved a very sharp, uphill climb.Overnight at Bankshead Camping Barn, which is very basic-but then Roman soldiers did not have 5 star accommodation!Day 7: 7-8 milesTo Sandysike Farm. Easier marching with mostly level terrain. Saw first views of Scotland across the Solway Firth and finally leave the masonry wall behind. However, mile upon mile of ditch and Vallum is evident ahead.Evening meal at local pub, appropriately named the Centurion!Overnight at Sandysike Camping Barn. Well looked after by hosts who are descended from Clive of India!Day 8: 10 miles. To Carlisle finishing at the Sands Sports Centre. Good marching with benefit of the gentler landscapes of Cumbria. Continuing interaction with other walkers.Overnight at Hillside Farm, Very well looked after. Friendly dog and host kindly provided some running repairs to equipment using blacksmith skills.Day 9: R & R. Visited Carlisle including Castle, Tullie House Museum, and Cathedral. A fine city with lots of history.Day 10: 15 miles-the longest day!!Sands Sports Centre to Bowness-on-Solway finishing at The Banks, a restored Edwardian promenade. March nearly all at seal level with expansive views across the Solway marshes towards Scotland. At finish we sign the visitors book at the Kings Arms pub to verify having completed the Trail. Well done to all participants!Good interaction with local school children who have the day off school due to a burst water main. Excellent hospitality from Maureen at www.oldchapelbownessonsolway.comIn the afternoon we visit the Grand Turke, a replica tall ship visiting Silloth. A somewhat unusual experience to round off the grand adventure!Overnight again at Hillside Farm Camping Barn.Day 11: back to Arbeia, South Shields by motor transport.Interaction with visitors at the Museum during the afternoon. In the evening we enjoy a Roman feast in the re built fort, fantastic ambiance to round off the great adventure. We are joined by John Naylor, his family and Time Tarts crew all of whom are dressed in Roman costume. A final overnight at Arbeia and then fond farewells and commence journeys home. All appeared satisfied with this unique experience provided by Catswhiskerstours.Here are some Roman recipes as used on the march, courtesy of Centurio Marcus.Roman Sour Wine: 40pct pure dark grape juice40pct water5pct Red Wine Vinegar or White Wine Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar15pct Comparable Wine-Red or WhiteRoman Hard Tack. Equal amounts of White Wheat Flour and Oatmeals-mixed dry.Add a small amount of salt-mixed dry.Add water to make it a dough like consistency.Optional: add Sunflower seeds.Add honey to tasteMix thoroughly out dough to desired thickness Cut to desired triangular size/shape.Preheat oven to 350 F Bake 15 to 20 mins per side (depending on size and thickness)Baked thoroughly to desired consistency.Enjoy!! PercipioBeef Jerky (marinated strips of dried beef) supplied by This is similar to the dried meat used by Roman soldiers. It is light, high in protein and keeps for a long time. Excellent food.Special Recognition
The kind and generous help from the undernoted contributed enormously to the success of the venture:-
Stephen Farthing of English Heritage
Alex Groom of Tyne and Wear Museums
David McGlade of the Countryside Commission
Fiona Briggs of Antonine Wall Cottages
John Naylor of Time Tarts
Please contact Catswhiskerstours for similar expeditions along Hadrian's Wall or the Antonine Wall or, indeed, any other aspect of Roman Britain.


posted by Catswhiskers @ 8:09 AM 


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