In Search of (H)adrian’s Wall

Brampton Travel Blog

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Driving to Hadrian's Wall

After hiring the car and negotiating the streets of Edinburgh, we drove down past Rosslyn Chapel, which we had visited the day previously.

Now made famous by Dan Brown and his worldwide phenomenon book ‘Da Vinci Code’, it is here that (** spoiler alert don’t read this paragraph if intend to read the book and haven’t **) that Brown claims the St Clair family is the offspring of Jesus after the Knights Templar escorted the family through to France. It is the third church built on this site and during the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell used the chapel as a stabling block from his troops.

Entry to the chapel is £6 (student discount) and this includes the entry to an exhibit, an informative video and into the church itself.

Meeting some of the locals
Although never completed, it is quite breathtaking. Of course this is due to it is so being so cold and after sitting down for just under an hour on the wooden pews listening to the informative and often humorous talk, even my toes were beginning to numb up.

The chapel doors are kept closed ‘to keep out the warmth’ and they weren’t kidding. Walking around to try and get the blood pumping gain was quite the effort. I had all my clothing on and I was cold! This was not boding well for the trip. If I couldn’t keep warm in a frozen and damp chapel with air as cold as Antarctica, how was I survive the rest of my time in Scotland? My answer – harden up lassie.

When you walk around the chapel, there are a lot of carvings and perhaps this is the secret of the chapel.

Robert the Bruce’s funeral mask is carved into the stone as are the Seven Deadly Sins, Virtues, Green Men, possible Masonic symbols and the not so secret Star of David which was seen on the film.

This star was never found in the chapel until Hollywood came to town. Now there is a mark on the wall above the stairs that go down to the priest living quarters because when the film released, the chapel didn’t have this detail and they added it. Moreover, when Hollywood was finished filming on site, they pulled it off the wall leaving a souvenir of their efforts.

Historical records state that in 1592 Rosslyn was forced to close down after being used in secret for Catholic mass by local followers after the Reformation, but in 1862 Queen Victoria reopened it as a Scottish Episcopal Church.

Quite the history and now it gets to see some more.

Prior to the book release, Rosslyn Chapel was visited by between 8,000 – 176,000* people per year (* at its height in the 1980’s), but after the release it now gets numbers of around 1,000 people per day. Quite the phenomena especially since Dan Brown had never visited the chapel.

Leaving Scotland for the warmer south (?) of the British Isles meant a visit to somewhere I had always wanted to go, but had always been too far; Hadrian’s Wall.

Located all around Cumbrian and Northumberland, the Roman wall can be seen from various parts of the countryside, in a range of forms. Debris, crumbling, falling, deteriorated or restored – there are a myriad of forms to capture anyone’s interest.

Me on the wall with my Jazz Hands
The area of the wall we drove to was Birdoswald Roman Fort, in what was the northwest frontier of the Roman Empire.

Birdoswald was one of 16 forts on the wall, which was originally up to 3.1 metres thick and 4-4.5 metres in height and the reason for this wall was for protection. The fort was constructed here on this site as it provided a natural vantage point.

You can spend a lot of time walking around the site, taking in the country scenery or breath in the country smells. But one thing to remember is to watch your feet! Country smells come with country presents …. little country presents shattered around the site from the sheep.

So now I will continue on my journey of discovery of this part of the British Isles, but at the moment I’m in denial - heading back up north I know that it will be cold, very cold and I’m such a softie. Still I have my icebreaker thermals on, as well as my canvas shoes, which seem to attract the wet and cold like a white shirt attracts pasta sauce, but I know there is still one thing I know I can do to deal with the weather … I can harden up lassie.

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Driving to Hadrians Wall
Driving to Hadrian's Wall
Meeting some of the locals
Meeting some of the locals
Me on the wall with my Jazz Hands
Me on the wall with my Jazz Hands
On the wall
On the wall
Me in front of Rosslyn - you cant…
Me in front of Rosslyn - you can'…
Outside Rosslyn Chapel
Outside Rosslyn Chapel
Brampton
photo by: Saskia007