Jo’s Monday walk : Arbeia Roman Fort

Meeting friends for coffee in South Shields, nothing was further from my mind than a Roman Fort.  Remember Crossing the Tyne when I took you inside the National Centre for the Written Word?  It has a nice little cafe with a view (and strawberry and rhubarb cheesecake), and this particular day there were Monsters in the exhibition space.

It’s a good starting point for an amble south of the river and, once outside, my eyes lit up when I read on a signpost ‘Arbeia Roman Fort – 1 mile’.  Now that’s a destination you won’t find every day!  Farewells were bid.  I was on a mission.

The area was once a hive of industry, rich in pubs for slaking a good thirst.  A well placed mural brings it all back to life.

The Metro now runs across the High Street, a straggle of shops, pubs and restaurants with a few allusions to the past.

I almost missed the clue, but a left turn took me in the direction of the river, and a few minutes later I was staring at the reconstruction of the West Gate of a Roman fort.  Slightly incongruous, but impressive, in the midst of a South Shields housing estate.

Arbeia Roman Fort, standing above the entrance to the River Tyne, guarded the main route by sea to Hadrian’s Wall and was thus of great strategic importance to the Romans.  It was a key garrison and military supply base to other forts along the Wall.  It  surprised me to find that this reconstruction, on the exact site of the original fort of AD160, was recreated 30 years ago.

There are numerous information boards around the site and, within the West Gate, models of how the fort once looked and an Armoury.  You can climb to the turrets of the gate to look down upon the ruins, and north to the Tyne and Wallsend. (Segedunum in Roman times)

In addition to the West Gate there is a Commanding Officer’s house, partially rebuilt using some of the original floor and foundations.  It includes a palisade and summer dining room, with lovely frescoes on the walls.  The Barrack Block was built using traditional Roman techniques from the 3rd century.  Soldiers usually lived here, 8 to an apartment.

I was very lucky to get inside.  It was still pre-season, but a school party were paying a visit.  Excavations have been ongoing at the fort since the 1870s, with significant finds enabling us to piece together the life of a Roman soldier.  The website gives details of opening hours and how to get there.   It was a lovely afternoon as I headed down through the park to the mouth of the Tyne.  On the far shore, Tynemouth Priory and, looking south, far along the coast, distant Souter Lighthouse.  The day had not turned out at all as I expected.  Extraordinary, in fact.

I hope you enjoyed accompanying me along the Tyne.  Our heritage is fascinating, isn’t it?

Lots more walks to share this week, so pop the kettle on and have a good read.  Many thanks to all of you for keeping this going.  Join me any time.  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.


How’s morning where you are?  Come and sit harbourside with me and Drake!

Idyllic maltese mornings

You really wouldn’t want to hurry if you could spend time in Bhutan, like Ann Christine :

Walking Home – Slow Contemplation

My mother always loved lupins and Lisa’s are in a lovely location :

Return to Lupin Hill

Marsha takes some rather odd walks, don’t you think?

What you Should Know about Alligators : Instructions at Gatorland

Kathrin’s post epitomises sunny California.  Spot the ‘hidden’ beach!

Point Lobos State Reserve

Let Dippy-Dotty Girl brighten your day.  I can promise you a smile :

A Day in Lund

Never a dull moment with Jesh, either.  Anyone identify the flowers?

Enjoying The Park

I may be giving away secrets, but I hope Emma won’t mind :

Walking the Gower Coast : Pwll Du and Hunts Bay

You’ll be ready for food after all that walking.  Where else but Jackie’s place?

Luscious Lemons

Save some for the ducks and swans, with Lady Lee :

Swan Lake

Time spent with Pauline and Jack is always interesting.  Check out their sketches :

Time in Tenterfield : Road trip day 3

And day 4 takes us adventuring with boulders :

Into the Mountains : Day 4 of the road trip

When a photographer finds me, I have to reciprocate.  Meet Avirup at Walk of Life :

Photowalk at Territy Bazar – Kolkata

A sad little place?  Take a stroll with Irene :

Never Ending Trail

Now, for something completely different, a walk with my favourite beaver.  And Carol, of course!

Into the Blue

And here’s Carol, all alone (well, not really because Glen will be about too) :

Taking a Break

Still on the beautiful Australian coast, a walk with Karen rounds us off :

La Perouse Headland Walk

No complaints this week.  The amelanchier is blooming beautifully in our garden, and any chance I get, I’m out there.  Wishing you a week full of sunshine and blossom.

Jo’s Monday walk : Interrupted, in Knaresborough

It was Mother’s Day back in the UK, and I was fancying a treat.  Somewhere I hadn’t been in a while definitely appealed, and Knaresborough fit the bill very nicely.  This North Yorkshire market town lies on the River Nidd, and an iconic railway viaduct carries passengers into town, high above the river.  Even on a rather murky English day, it’s a splendid sight.

We parked just off the A59, on the edge of town, and strolled towards the centre.  Almost immediately we become aware of one of the quirkier aspects of Knaresborough, the painted trompe l’oeuil windows that adorn many of the buildings.

Town Windows illustrate characters and events from the town’s long history, and you can download the guide to find them all.  Many of the Georgian buildings were designed with blank windows, to avoid paying window tax.  The town has no shortage of interesting characters, two of them sitting side by side on benches in Market Square.  Sculptures, of course!  Ursula Southeil, a medieval seer, was known as Mother Shipton, and was said to have been born in a cave south of the town.  ‘Blind Jack’, or John Metcalf, lost his sight following smallpox in childhood, but that did not prevent him going on to become an accomplished violin player, and later a pioneering road builder.

I followed my nose into Green Dragon Yard, in search of tearooms, but was immediately distracted by the artwork.  ‘Art in the Mill’ is a contemporary gallery situated in a former flax mill.  The manufacture of linen was a cottage industry in Knaresborough, and flax was combed by hand in the mill, which dates from 1808.

Castle ruins with a mighty history next.  Built in 1100 by a Norman baron, Hugh de Moreville sought refuge there in the 1170s, after assassinating Thomas Becket.  In 1205 King John invested considerable money strengthening the castle, to use as a hunting base for Knaresborough Forest.  It was here that the first Royal Maundy took place, on 5th April, 1210, with the giving of alms to 13 poor men.  Extensions and rebuilding, including the Keep, were completed by the King Edwards.  The castle survived intact until 1648.  It was taken by Parliamentarian troops in 1644, during the Civil War, and was largely destroyed by them, as a Royalist stronghold, by decree of Parliament.  Admission details here.

It’s in a wonderful situation, looking down onto the viaduct and the weir.  Most of the town is at this upper level, steps leading down through gardens to the riverside, far below. Our intention was to follow the river beneath the overhanging cliffs, find the Chapel of Our Lady of the Crag, and then to cross over to the far shore.  As it happened the chapel wasn’t open, but it’s a pleasant wander, with the river meandering below.

There was a house or two that might have suited, though probably not the fortified House in the Rock.

A text message disrupted further progress.  Might we be heading to Leeds, half an hour away, where our son was happy to be included in the Mother’s Day celebrations?  What else do you do when your grown up offspring has time to spend with you?  The other bank of the river would certainly keep for another day.  But first, a scone for sustenance.  Honey Bees at Hannah’s, on Castlegate- simply scrumptious!

And a few more murals.  They’re great, aren’t they?  I hope to get back to Knaresbrough in the Summer, and show you Mother Shipton’s Cave.  For now, we’ll pop the kettle on and settle in for a good read.

Please find a little time to visit these, especially if it’s somebody you don’t know.  Many thanks to all you lovely contributors and patient readers.  Anyone can join in.  Just see my Jo’s Monday walk page for details.


Drake to start us off again this week, with a hint of North African sunshine :

Glimpse of Tozeur

It takes more than a bit of Scottish weather to put Anabel off a lovely jaunt out!

A walk on Great Cumbrae

Candy shares beautiful images of nature in the north of Portugal.  And there’s cake!

The NIS PR3 walk at Velada

It’s that gal with the long post titles again!  Cheers, Marsha :

Why you don’t want to overlook the Boggy Creek Airboat Ride

How to open a pomegranate!  You never know when you might need this.  Thanks, Jackie!

Let’s do Lunch

And to wash down all that food, Lady Lee has a solution :

Sunday at the Beer Garden

You know what I’d really like to do?  Join Irene in the desert :

Morning Walk

Or I know Elaine would make excellent company, in sunny California :

A flower power walk

I don’t know about where you are, but me and Shazza have seen a lot of this lately :

The Tolkein Trail on a Rainy Day

And I know Eunice has had her share!  Wellies at the ready :

Exploring on the doorstep

Emma combines history and art with the beautiful Welsh coastline (and a bit of sunshine  🙂  ) :

Walking the Gower Coast : Caswell Bay & Brandy Cove

I love it when a plan comes together!  Denzil finds a guardian angel :

GR571 Stage 6: Gouvy to Verleumont

Truly exotic and stunningly beautiful photography- don’t miss Aarti!

A Walking Tour of La Paz

While Pauline finds somewhere that does a little good in the world :

Road Trip Flashback…

And, still in Oz, Carol watches another lovely evening fade :

Down to the Sea

I know there are rather a lot this week, but they’re great reading!  I may have to take my laptop into the garden, if the weather matches up to the forecast.  Hooray!  Make the most of it!


Jo’s Monday walk : Hetton Lyons Country Park

The choices this week were another boring beach walk in the sunny Algarve, or a quick romp in the frozen north east of England.  Well, it’s no contest, is it?  Grab your scarf and mittens, and no loitering, please!  Except to feed the swans.

There’s a crisp beauty to it, as the frost nibbles at your ears and glistens on grass and fences.  Distant dog walkers embrace the morning air.

Out past the barn, I head towards the windmills, on a narrow lane.  A public footpath crosses the fields, the frozen earth firm underfoot.  Patterns abound, all etched in white, whilst solid puddles of ice line the path.

Despite the sun, the ice persists, tingling the toes, yet some of the fields are surprisingly green.  The blades whirr noisily above my head.

Fronds of bracken huddle beneath the hedge, the occasional, lucky one gilded by sunlight.  A forbidding, firmly-locked gate denies access.  No matter, as the country park lies straight ahead, just beyond the farmhouse.

The small pond is frozen solid, but most of the lake is clear and sparkling.  A path skirts the shore and the swans glide hopefully forwards.

There is a small cafe if you need a warm up afterwards.  As we drove through Hetton I saw a sign for homemade broth.  Sounded like a good idea!

I think the sign was on Market Street, but I was distracted by the mural.  Hope you didn’t get too cold walking with me.  I still have a few warm Algarve images that I may get to share with you before I go, but this is my last walk for a couple of weeks.

Many thanks for all your wonderful shares.  Please take a little time to read the following walks, especially if it’s someone you don’t know.  You may find a new friend.  There are lots this week but I’ll be in the Algarve for a few weeks, so you can make them last.  Once I get settled I hope to be back out with you again.


Let’s start with a little stunning alpine scenery from Drake :

From a peak

And here’s a fair bit of the white stuff from Anabel too!

The Birks of Aberfeldy (and other walks)

You birders will love this!  Take a walk in the wild with Lisa :

In Search of the Endangered Slaty Becard- (and finding so much more!)

Dom hosts a regular walk feature on Wandsworth Radio.  Why not have a listen?

Walking Wandsworth Episode 6- Battersea Arts Centre

And you could munch along with Jackie while you do :

Comfort foods

“One of the most glorious landscapes I’ve ever been fortunate to have hiked in”, says Nicole :

A Magical Hike in Chile’s Parque Andino Juncal

Kathrin’s in a very happy place and I think you’ll like it too :

Hopfen am See aka my Happy Place

‘There’s gold in them there hills!”  Well, there was once, wasn’t there, Carol?

The Ten Dollar Town

You can just picture Pauline and Jack, having fun with all these folks!

Meandering in Uki Market

Lady Lee is back from her holidays.  You might be jealous!

New Year’s Eve and Day in Manila

Cornwall can still compete with most places, if the weather behaves.  In French, and English :

Hike around Lizard Point, England

And while we’re down that way, a sort of revisit, from Jude :

Garden Portrait : The Lost Gardens of Heligan Part 1

This time last year I was getting very excited about a trip to Tuscany.  Thanks for the memories, Woolly!


This year I’m just days away from an extended stay in the Algarve.  Thanks for a lovely reminder, Becky :

There’s a pig loose

And just to thoroughly spoil you, here’s that warm beach walk I know you fancied, courtesy of Meg :

An early morning walk and an act of gross disloyalty

Lovely skies here this morning but still slippy stuff on the ground.  Take care out there!  I’ll be keeping an eye an you, and I’ll let you know when I’m walking again.  Bye for now!


Six word Saturday

Has anyone dropped a stitch lately?

On the bleakest of Winter days, I still couldn’t resist a little yarn bombing, this time at Saltholme Nature Reserve.

The details are amazing, aren’t they?  I couldn’t see a dropped stitch anywhere.  I had to keep on the move too, because it was SO cold!

It wouldn’t be complete without a tea party, would it?  (Hover over the smaller photos to see the captions, or click to view them in a gallery).  Have a great weekend, whatever the weather, and don’t forget to join Debbie with six words.



Six word Saturday

Taking a step back into childhood

What to do on a grey day in January?  Why, visit a Lego exhibition, of course.  A walk through time, in bricks, at Preston Park Museum.

Lascaux cave paintings

Copernicus discovers Heliocentrism

The railway’s coming!

China on the rise

Amazing what you can do with a few bricks, isn’t it?  The captions should help if you’re bemused.  All part of Saturday’s rich entertainment, as is Debbie’s Six Word Saturday.  Enjoy your day!

Six word Saturday

A hangover from the old year

Scarcely were my feet back on English soil, last November, than I was scampering up to Durham to see Lumiere 2017.  The consensus was that, in comparison with previous shows, this one was a bit of a disappointment.  It’s hard to maintain such standards as were set in November 2015.

I’ve been so busy sharing my Algarve exploits that I’d almost forgotten about the show.  I thought it time to show you a few of my highlights, before I move on.  As usual I started my tour in daylight, curious as to what I’d find. Below we have ‘Dome and Arches’ in the Market Place.

One of my favourite light installations took place in Durham University Botanic Garden.  ‘For the Birds’ was very clever and wonderfully atmospheric, but extremely difficult to reproduce in photographs.  Softly tweeting birds, suspended on fine wires, swooped through the trees in the darkness.  Patches of dramatic colour illuminated the valley, leading you on a magical journey.

Castle and Cathedral next.  ‘Our Moon’ smiles, blinks, twitches and frowns as the faces of Durham’s residents animate the facade of the Castle.  The Cathedral complex came in for a lot of criticism.  The Nave of the Cathedral was flooded in an eerie light, while the cloisters featured ‘Entre Les Rangs’, illuminated ‘flowers’ intended as a tribute to shimmering fields of wheat.

In all there were 28 installations, scattered throughout the city.  My opening photos were taken inside St. Oswald’s Church and were probably my greatest challenge.  ‘What Matters’ features thousands of hand-blown glass pieces, depicting the birth of light in the universe.  Incredibly beautiful.

I hope any hangovers are long gone. and that you enjoyed this look back with me.  Don’t forget to share your Six Words with Debbie.