Our next stop was in the beautiful county of Northumberland. Here the greenery had returned with the added bonus of rolling hills. We are certainly feeling the temperature slide downwards, only a month or so ago it was in the 30s in London, now it is around 14’C and we have had to pull out our winter gear. We stayed in a nice airbnb in Rothbury which was a good central location to explore. On our drive in we spied the Angel of the North – a modern sculpture just outside Newcastle. We finished our day with a quick pause on the way home from doing our food shopping to take in the beautiful sunset over the fields.
Edingham Castle and Church
The next day we stopped off at an old ruined castle (Edingham Castle) and its Norman church (that was close to 1000 years old itself). We enjoyed watching the happy cows and admiring the old ruins that looked like they were going to fall over! A lot of the buildings in this area were fortified back in the Middle Ages due to wars with the Scots. As we left we spotted a bird stuttering across the road – we think it could have been a pheasant or a grouse.
The town of Alnwick (pronounced Anick we were told) was nearby and we had researched that the castle there had been used in the first two Harry Potter films as Hogwarts. So we decided it would be fun to check it out. We were surprised by the ornate gates and oversized gardening equipment outside the gardens. There was a fun looking mini golf course complete with animatronic animals. We walked through the meadow to see the castle – very impressive. We decided not to spend the money to go in though.
A big highlight for us (and especially Rob) was seeing Hadrian’s Wall. The Romans had control of England up into Yorkshire – but the tribes to the North had proved too difficult to conquer – so their solution was to build a wall across the whole of England – coast to coast – over 100 kilometres long (Brisbane to Sunshine Coast!) – with guard towers every 1.5 kilometres. Thousands of men manned the wall. And this was almost 2000 years ago. So impressive. There were parts of the wall that you could pay to see but we found a section on the side of the road (and also later at Heddon on the Wall) that we could wander across. We also stopped at the Temple of Mithras – a small ruined Roman temple built by the soldiers. As we left, we said goodbye to the cows and the beautiful heather that has been following us through this part of the world.
On our way back to our Airbnb we stopped off at Hexham Abbey. There has been a building here for 1300 years – and we were impressed by the medieval paintings (including some scary skeletons) and we couldn’t resist some amazing ginger wine to have to finish off our day!