northernvicar August 2023

We started the month with a trip north over the Border to Melrose, and a visit to the Roman Museum at Trimontium – It reminds us that the Romans did move north – by 79 AD they were pushing into southern Scotland and constructed their fort at the place of the three hills, the three peaks of Eildon. There were Iron Age forts here, indeed several thousand people may have lived in the area the Romans conquered. This same site was to be used several times over the next hundred years or more, as the site was abandoned and reoccupied according to the ebb and flow of fortune, both military and political. Its last occupation may have been by the emperor Septimius Severus as he marched north in 208/9 in a final effort to subdue the natives.

The museum had a good range of material, though much of the stuff excavated at the start of the C20 is in the National Museum in Edinburgh. Some beautiful finds, examples of Roman craftsmanship from elsewhere in the Empire, replicas and reconstructions, and some excellent videos and AV. They also had a wonderful bookshop which (as always) proved expensive. Must go on a day when they are doing some guided walks on the site, which is about a mile down the road, beside the River Tweed. There may well have been a thousand cavalry stationed here, so add on the hangers-on and all the others who gravitated to a Roman fort, and we are talking several thousand people. The Empire did not always stop at Hadrian’s Wall.

We also enjoyed Priorwood Garden and the Abbey, though I didn’t get enough photos for a separate blog.

We enjoyed Chesters Roman Fort, you can read a previous blog at

I had a Manchester trip on Tuesday 8 August and had a ride on the trams. I am telling myself I am having “railway adventures” – it sounds more fun than “hospital visit”

Cherryburn is a lovely little National Trust property not too far away – It was the home of Thomas Bewick, the engraver. The Bewick Society have a good website too – Lovely house and garden.

I have blogged Lanercost Priory separately. We drove north on Monday 21 August when we should have knuckled down to more unpacking, but it was a lovely day and we went for a drive.“We’ll head towards Bellingham and find a coffee … Let’s turn left and see if the café’s open at Falstone … Perhaps we could stop beside Kielder Water … Let’s follow the road on through Kielder …” We passed a house called “Deadwater”. “I’m sure there was a Deadwater station”, I said. Next thing I knew we were at the Border. This is not a major border crossing. As you can see, we parked in “No Man’s Land” between the stone England sign and the metal Scottish one. I seem to remember there was one occasion during Covid when the Scottish and English rules were very different and Nicola was threatening to have a police presence at every border crossing. I feel sorry for the panda car which got the Deadwater crossing! We continued to Jedburgh and had lunch, before returning the same way.

Who else would go to a hospital appointment in Manchester via the Colne branch line?

A trip on the Tanfield Railway on Sunday 27 August.

The month finished with a ride to Saltburn with my nephew.

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