Written April 3, 2023, at Chollerford, England.
Today: Spectacular sunny weather (a bit cold at 30° in the morning),
a spectacular hike (seven relatively flat miles),
a spectacular preserved Roman fortress and museum,
and I was able to enjoy part of this with my spectacular wife, Christine. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Ok… our accommodations here at the George Hotel are less than spectacular but then almost anything pales in comparison to our stay at Langley Castle. Our room is marginally serviceable.
Perhaps the highlight of the day was not “spectacular”, just the most delightful 10 minute conversation at a coffee van located in the countryside along the hike. This is Jimmy.
Jimmy manages a coffee and snack van. Jimmy is managed by his wife of 36 years, Lorraine. Jimmy is originally from Glasgow, Scotland and he has traveled the world over. But his current 6 year mission is to troll a free pint of ale at the Crown Pub and Inn, located just up the road from the George Hotel.
Jimmy told me that he recently secured a promise from the proprietor of the pub that if he sent her 50 customers he would get his free pint. I promised Jimmy that we would visit the pub and say, “Jimmy sent us“. Jimmy would only need to find 48 more “customers”.
I bought a cup of coffee from Jimmy and upon learning of my recent birthday Jimmy gave me a free muffin, only regretting that he didn’t have a candle to stick on the top.
This is the Crown Pub and Inn and two interesting vehicles on display in front. Christine is doing her best “Let’s Make a Deal“ hostess impression.
This is Amy. Amy is the proprietress of the Crown Pub.
She immediately rolled her eyes skyward and shook her head when I said, “Jimmy sent us!“ I didn’t need to explain any further. Amy knew that we were part of Jimmy’s scheme to troll a free pint. Jimmy is a Friday regular at the pub which serves excellent fare. Seen here is my baked cod and Christine‘s Pasta Bolognese.
I don’t know if Jimmy is going to find 48 other folks willing to play along, but I so enjoyed being a part of this story that I paid Amy for Jimmy’s 1st pint when he stops in this coming Friday. My best wishes to both Jimmy and Amy!.
Chesters Roman Fort and Museum is only a half mile from the George Hotel.
I stopped at the Fort to tour the extensive grounds and museum. First, however, I sent Christine a text message telling her of my plan. She replied that she was walking up the road to meet me at the site.
This is one of the 16 major garrisons located along Hadrian’s Wall. It is also the best preserved and excavated.
I estimate the partially excavated grounds of this Roman cavalry fort to cover over 15 acres, plus sprawling civilian encampments outside the fort. Most of these fortresses garrisoned up to 1000 men. However, this one was dedicated to cavalry troop so it garrisoned 500 soldiers and a like number of horses as the standard complement.
The grounds included barracks. Each room was designed to house 32 soldiers and their horses…
the commandant’s villa…
…the command headquarters…
and some “interesting carvings” to ward off “evil spirits”.
Most noteworthy were the extensive Roman baths located near the river.
These are the best preserved examples in the United Kingdom. The small vaulted stalls are “lockers” in the changing room.
The baths include three chambers, a caldarium, tepidarium, and frigidarium.
The names refer to the temperatures of those chambers. The hottest room, the caldarium, has a stone floor heated by fires stoked from a cellar below. The tepidarium maintained a moderate temperature, and the frigidarium had cold bathing water.
There were more hikers on the trail today than previously seen by me. It’s probable that this is because of Easter break.
This white pylon, the third that I have encountered to date, may mark the highest geographic point within the district.
The pylon that I saw a few days ago marked the highest point along Hadrian’s Wall.
Early on today’s hike I came upon an excavated site of an ancient Mithraic temple. This area is rich in buried ancient history!
Tomorrow I hike into the city of Hexham where we will be staying for two nights. There are only three more hiking days after that. More glorious weather is predicted… fingers crossed!
Peace Everyone. Pete
P.S. Not exactly a “Go Fund Me”, but if you are ever by the Crown Inn and Pub be sure to tell Amy that Jimmy sent you. Let’s all give Jimmy a hand on his quest for a free pint!