On Friday we drove out of farm cottage near Tadcaster by 10:30am and headed north a couple of hours in the pouring rain to our hotel, the Best Western Derwent Manor Hotel in Allensford. It’s located just outside a small town in a rural setting and from the outside looks like a lovely old rural mansion. In side it’s your typical Best Western three star hotel, nice enough but not super flash. The kids love it so that’s the main thing. We arrived about 12:30 and were told we couldn’t check in until 3pm. We had a look around and went back to reception and fortunately a different person was on and after chatting to her we were given a different room which we could move into right away. That was brilliant as we wanted to run off to Hadrian’s Wall and look around. Not long later we set off to find Hadrian’s Wall. At the last minute we had a change of plan and went to Corbridge Roman Town where you could walk on a real Roman road flanked by the remains of buildings such as the granaries which stored grain, a fountain house, workshops and temples. Of course these were ruins and not the amazing buildings you see in present-day Rome but then this is Britain and having Roman ruins in Britain reminds you how large an area the Romans conquered and controlled until about 400AD.

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And did I say it was raining?

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Next we went about half an hour west to the Housesteads Roman Fort. On the way we had our first sight of part of Hadrian’s Wall which the kids enjoyed running along in the rain. By the way Hadrian was the Roman emperor from 117 to 138AD. The wall built under his reign marked the northern limit of the Roman Empire and in particular in Roman Britain. Work on the wall began in AD 122 and it reaches from the west to the east. It was 80 Roman miles which is about 120 km long and it ranges from three metres wide and six metres high in places, to 6 metres wide and 3.5 metres high in other places.

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When we reached Housesteads it was cold and windy and it looked like the rain would pour down again. We decided to brave the weather and headed up a farm track for about 10 minutes trying to dodge the muddy ground and the giant sheep poo which looked more like cow poo ….The uphill effort was rewarded by wonderful views over the area and a remarkable Roman Fort ruin. Before examining it up close we watched a short video presentation about the fort in the museum which was worthwhile as it helped us understand what it was like and what the buildings were used for. After the video we marched our way to the fort ruins and enjoyed working out what was what.

You should be able to see this photo larger if you click on it:

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I think these next two are of the remains of the granaries and the block posts Daniel and Amy are walking on would have been used to raise the floor of the ground so that, among other things, air could circulate under it to keep the grain fresh.

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To finish up the kids want to check out the multi-seater communal latrines.

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To help you get the picture take a closer look at this:

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Time for dinner so we headed back to the car and drove about half-an-hour to a suburb in Newcastle which had a massive shopping mall. I hate to admit it but after all the selections and possibilities we decided to go to KFC as Karen had started talking about a re-visit to this forbidden fast-food joint a week ago and then it just happened to be in front of us. To redeem the evening I found a great Mocha at a café and we made our way back to the car for an early night in the hotel. Its 11pm so I will stop typing for now …

Saturday morning we had a scrumptious breakfast at the hotel and then headed to the Leisure Centre for a swim. At last we used the togs we have carried around for four months! Before we knew it it was time to check out of the hotel. We loaded up the car and drove toward Scotland. Along the way off course we had a coffee stop:

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(Friday 6 July 2012 – Saturday 7 July 2012)