Hadrian’s Wall

Leaving the beauty of Wales behind, we drove through the Lake District, stopping at Windermere to buy supplies.

1-windermere

The weather was not conducive to sightseeing

2-windermere

so we were soon on our way to Carlisle for a two night stay at New Pallyards Farm. The next day, we set off to discover Hadrian’s Wall. Built from 122AD, it was the northernmost boundary of the Roman Empire until early in the 5th century. There were many forts along the 80 miles between the Irish Sea and North Sea

3-hadrians-lookout

and the lookout at Greenhead rewarded with spectacular views across the countryside.

The section of wall at Walltown Crags was impressive

6-hadrians-wallwalltown-crags

as it snaked its way along Whin Sill

7-hadrians-wall-walltown-crags

a spectacular rock formation formed millions of years ago.

8-hadrians-wall-walltown-crags

The view down to the car park and the landscape beyond was stunning.

9-hadrians-wall-walltown-crags

We drove on to Housesteads Fort and climbed the hill

10-housesteads-fort

to the Visitor’s Centre.

11-visitor-centre-housesteads-fort

Originally named Vercovicium, meaning ‘the place of the effective fighters’, Housesteads is the most complete Roman fort in Britain.

12-housesteads-fort

The foundations include a hospital, barracks, granaries

and even flushable toilets.

20-latrines-housesteads-fort

From the ridge, the most preserved part of the wall disappears into the distance

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and the remains of a gate can be seen.

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The panorama across Northumberland National Park was magnificent

23-northumberland-national-park

and the locals seemed very contented.

24-local-inhabitant

We continued our drive to Newcastle,

25-newcastle

eager for a drop of the namesake brown ale. We were so disappointed to learn they don’t serve Newcastle Brown Ale on tap in Newcastle! We chose another brew and enjoyed a delicious lunch overlooking Tynemouth Bay

26-tynemouth-castle-priory

and the majestic 13th century Castle & Priory.

27-tynemouth-castle-priory

Unfortunately, the ruins were closed to visitors for the season so we returned to our cottage in Carlisle for another cosy night.

Welsh Hawking Centre

Birds of prey have always held a fascination for Michael. When we realised the Welsh Hawking Centre was not far from Penarth, it was immediately added to our list. Once October arrives in Britain, the tourist attractions slow down and the tourists disappear. We were the only visitors and were treated to the experience of watching the training of two falcons. One was put through the paces

1.falcon

while the other waited patiently on the sidelines.

2.falcon

After a few passes with the lure, there is a reward.

3.falcon

You can’t help but admire these beautiful creatures.

After more training with the lure,

7.falcon

we met some other residents

8.eagle9.kite11.barn owl

13.chook14.horse15.rabbit

Returning to Penarth we dined for a second time at The Railway. The meals were amazing – for £2.99, how could we resist?

16.The Railway

Cosmeston

After wrenching ourselves away from Cornwall, we continued on our travels to Wales. Staying in Penarth, we were able to explore the surrounding Vale of Glamorgan. We discovered Cosmeston Medieval Village.

13.Cosmeston

The remains of 14th century stone buildings were unearthed during the development of Cosmeston Lakes Country Park in 1978.

1.Cosmeston

A unique archaeological project restored the medieval village of Cosmeston on its original site and foundations. We were greeted by a man dressed for the year 1350, then left to roam at will.

2.Cosmeston4.Cosmeston

5.Cosmeston

The pigs had a very cosy house.

There was plenty happening in 1350 – Britain was in its twelfth year of the Hundred Years War with France

9.Cosmeston10.Cosmeston

and was slowly recovering from the Black Death of 1348, which killed almost half the population.

13.Cosmeston

Some of the pigs were shy

17.Pig

but the sheep seemed contented.

18.sheep

We wandered around Cosmeston Lakes, with 12 hectares of open water

19.Cosmeston

there was plenty of birdlife.

The park was beautiful

24.Cosmeston

and the autumn colours quite spectacular.

We had worked up a bit of a thirst and luckily, stumbled across the Traherne Arms. Situated on a hill called the Tumble, overlooking Cardiff, it was actually a very busy restaurant. The gentleman behind the bar was initially not very happy but took pity on us and served us a pint. He took the time out for a chat and then gave us a souvenir ‘Brains’ bar towel!

27.Traherne Arms

I like this story. Until the 19th Century it was known as the Tumbledown Dick Inn. Named after Richard, the son of Oliver Cromwell, following an ample lunch in the company of the Jones’ of Fonmon Castle, fell off his horse while descending the hill, giving him the alias of Tumbledown Dick.

Cornwall conclusion

There were so many beautiful places in Cornwall, it was difficult to decide where to go next. Our last day loomed and we made the most of it. Padstow was traditionally a fishing port, situated at the mouth of the River Camel estuary.

1.Padstow2.Padstow

It is now a popular tourist destination and yachting haven.

3.Padstow

The former customs house offers accommodation in a gorgeous old 3-storey building.

4.Padstow

Restaurateur Rick Stein owns several restaurants and businesses in the town, in fact, we have heard the town referred to as ‘Padstein’. There are also many eateries not owned by him.

5.Padstow

We had a bite to eat in the sunshine at The Shipwrights

6.The Shipwrights

while taking in the peaceful surroundings and magnificent view.

7.Padstow8.Padstow9.Padstow

Our next port of call (no pun intended) was Port Isaac, a fishing village since the 14th century. We explored the narrow, winding streets lined with old white-washed cottages,

glimpsing the majestic cliffs across the harbour.

14.Port Isaac

On top of the cliff, this impressive Victorian house, now a B&B, would have the most stunning views.

15.Hathaway B&B

True to form, we found a pub. The Golden Lion dates back to the 18th century and has a smuggling tunnel leading down onto a causeway on the beach.

16.The Golden Lion

We found a sunny spot on the terrace with a different perspective of the cottages

17.Port Isaac

and a fabulous view of the harbour.

18.Port Isaac

Those who have seen the TV series Doc Martin are probably thinking this is all familiar.

Bert Large’s restaurant was incognito

21.Port Isaac

but there was no mistaking this well trodden path.

22.Port Isaac

I don’t know how the Doc could be so grumpy with this outlook from his house.

23.Port Isaac24.Port Isaac

The time had come to move on, we were too late getting to Tintagel to walk up to the castle ruins.

25.Tintagel Castle

The legend of King Arthur has surrounded Tintagel since it was named as the place of his conception in the 12th century.

26.Tintagel Castle

This may have inspired the Earl of Cornwall to build a castle on this site in the 13th century.

27.Tintagel Castle

In the cliff below Tintagel Castle, Merlin’s Cave can be explored at low tide

28.Merlin's Cave

but not today.

29.Tintagel

The Old Post Office in the village of Tintagel was built in 1380 as a farmhouse. It has served many purposes but has always been a home, its final use as a letter-receiving office for the village during the 1870s.

30.Old Post Office

The nearest village to our accommodation at Trevigue Farm was Boscastle. We had ventured there the previous night and dined at The Wellington Hotel, one of the oldest coaching inns in Cornwall dating back to the 16th century.

31.The Wellington Hotel

The steaks were mouthwatering.

32.The Wellington Hotel

We returned to Boscastle for a closer look.

The area was settled in the 12th century and, being the only safe harbour along 40 miles of coastline, was a commercial port throughout most of the 19th century. The houses along the River Valency were idyllic

35.Boscastle

belying the devastating floods of 2004.

36.Boscastle

There were a few dining options

including The Cobweb Inn, an off-licence since the 1700s.

40.Boscastle

We had a wonderful meal at The Riverside, built around 1854. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo.

Eden Project

We had been told about the wonders of the Eden Project by, believe it or not, a friendly parking inspector while visiting Bath. On an overcast morning, we drove to St. Austell to see for ourselves. Created in a reclaimed Cornish clay pit, the 35 acre site was a spectacular vision.

1.Eden Project

White domes bulged from the surrounding landscape,

2.Eden Project

their magnitude truly appreciated the nearer we walked.

3.Eden Project

Eden Project is intended to make us think about the relationship between people and plants, as well as the sustainability of our planet. The tropical biome is fifty metres high and four of the world’s rainforest environments are re-created in nearly 4 acres.

4.rainforest biome

I was reluctant to expose my camera to the hot, steamy atmosphere

5.rainforest biome6.rainforest biome

and very relieved to enter the Mediterranean biome and a more agreeable climate.

7.mediterranean biome

There were some interesting installations

8.mediterranean biome9.mediterranean biome10.mediterranean biome

including sculptures depicting the Rites of Dionysus.

11.Rites of Dionysus sculptures

The Greek god of the vines and his followers seem to be enjoying themselves immensely.

12.Rites of Dionysus sculptures

The outdoor gardens represent the temperate regions of the world with more than 3,000 plant varieties.

13.outdoor gardens14.outdoor gardens

Meandering our way along the paths, we encountered many surprises.

15.outdoor gardens

The living sculpture of Eve is made mostly of clay from Eden, she looks very relaxed amongst the trees.

18.Eve

The Giant Steel Man sculpture keeps an eye on the Hemp exhibit

The Industrial Flame Plant is a comment on fossil fuels. We are warned that most varieties of the genus ‘Industrialis’ extract energy stored in fossilized plant remains from ancient forests. They convert raw materials into a variety of useful products and harmful emissions. Widespread overplanting causes environmental damage and climate change.

21.Industrial Flame Plant

WEEE Man is a 3.3 tonne, 7m high structure representing the amount of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) the average British household throws away in a lifetime.

22.WEEE Man

The Core building is an education facility with interactive exhibits, the structure of which is based on a sunflower.

23.Core building

The Nutcracker was designed to get us thinking about how much energy and resources we often use to do simple things. A wind of the handle transports a hazelnut through a series of cogs, wheels, pulleys and cranks before it is eventually cracked.

24.The Nutcracker

Seed was fascinating. The 70 tonne sculpture is at the epicenter of the Core building and is carved from a single piece of granite. The complex pattern of protrusions are based upon the geometric and mathematical principles of plant growth.

25.Seed

There was so much to see at Eden Project, I’m sure we missed some of it. We shall have to return one day.