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Day 5, Hadrian’s Wall and Glasgow

After a very warm night of fitful sleep we emerged weary and hungry. It must have been close to 30 C in our room. Around 3 am i opened the window and risked the bugs. Thankfully it cooled off and no bugs. After a good and large breakfast we checked out and hopped into the car. About 9 km into Once Brewed (yes that’s the village name) we parked in the parking lot up the hill and saw the wall. We went up and down with the wall for a couple of km over the big bump and down the hill into Sycamore Gap for lots pictures and great views. Sycamore Gap is where Robin in the Prince of Thieves is seen walking on the wall. That’s a big no no.

This is in the middle of our hike but I’m putting the photo here for context.

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Here is the video link of the scene if you don’t remember.

Prince of Thieves

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The Boys also got to see their first Thistles.  Lots of choose from photo opp wise.

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I hadn’t realized how much seeing the wall meant to me. I knew I wanted to but not how much it was on my bucket list. Really glad we did. The boys were impressed but still managed to talk about Mine Craft for some of the hike. Hadrian’s Wall is not actually on the border of Scotland and England – it is 9 miles south of Scotland in the west (near Carlisle) and 68 miles south at the east end. A defensive fortification built in the time of the Roman invasion in England. Built by 18000 soldiers and indentured slaves. Begun in 122 under the Roman Emperor, Hadrian. A military fortification, but the many gates were a way to regulate customs and levy taxes. Was 117.5 km long and possibly from 7 – 20 feet tall depending on the section. Was meant to separate Romans from “the barbarians” to the north. Abandoned around 383 as the Roman Empire crumbled.

And at the end of our walk there was a nice view of a Loch (lake).

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Back down the hill to Once Brewed for lunch at Twice Brewed Inn. Yup, the Northumberland folk have a sense of humour.

Then it was a quick (90 min) drive to Glasgow. We wanted to grab a photo of the big rock at the Scottish border but on the M you whiz right by the border with nowhere to stop or even see. Oh well, we’re much later than planned and the Glasgow Cathedral closed at 5.

We did make it with 45 to spare and so had a nice choral background/church service while we wandered around inside. That organ is HUGE. The organist played something that had low notes. Nice how your body rumbled along with whatever that was. The Glasgow Cathedral’s present building dates from 13th to 15th Centuries. The only medieval cathedral on the Scottish mainland to survive the Reformation of 1560 virtually intact. Built on the site where St Kentigen (or St. Mungo), the first Bishop within the ancient British Kingdom of Strathclyde (celtic) is said to have been buried in 612 AD.

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Right next door is the Necropolis. Pretty rundown but then all old graveyards tend to be. Necropolis is a Victorian era cemetery. Up to 50,000 people buried here, but as was typical for the age, not all graves have a stone, nor do all monuments have names on them. Maybe 3500 monuments. Bridge at entrance was called the Bridge of Sighs.

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We were all now hungry so it was time to park, walk 3 blocks and check in. We suspected the Millennium Hotel might be a little bit of a dump because it is so cheap. Nope, just cheap 😀 Nice clean and large rooms. A very chatty night manager to boot. He used to work at the Royal Bank of Scotland, now a night manager. I knew the RBS took a hit in 2008 but it hadn’t sunk in how much.

Across the St George square is La Vita Pizzeria. We had planned an Indian food night but since Ryan didn’t each much lunch and was starving, we went safe. Nice food and pretty cheap. Italian is pretty safe here, food wise. We finally got a chance to pick up a small cooler and some freezer thingies. Tomorrow AM we’ll buy some water to keep in the car. We could have used some today for sure.

Tomorrow we’re off to see Loch Lomond (for you Space Balls fans) and off to Fort William. As Eric said “We’re in Scotland for real now.”

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