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From Aug 2006 - Nov 2013 WeDig provided a live forum for diggers & fans of Vindolanda. It has now been mothballed and will be maintained as a live archive.

Here you will find preserved 7 years of conversation, photos, & knowledge about a site many people love. Vindolanda gets under the skin. (Figuratively and literally as a volunteer excavator!) It's a place you remember, filled with people you remember!

Thanks for 7 great years!

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2012 Barcombe Hill walk
I did promise to get an initial version of a guide to my walk onto WDV by about now. But when I came to write it, I realised there are issues about directing people unfamiliar with the area which don't apply when I'm there myself. So I find I need to do a bit of scouting about before I publish anything :( . When it's done, Harry will put it on the walks bit of WDV. In the meantime, my apologies to anyone who might have wanted to go next week :$ . The week after, I still plan to lead a walk on the Wednesday (9th). As I rather suspected, a visit to Edinburgh and other things are most likely to scupper a walk the following week (w/c 14th), so I'll bring some printed information for anyone who would like to go without having to listen to me droning on. The 23rd is still looking good.

Only 9 days now before we're back in Northumberland. Can't wait :)

Mike

Layers of history
Nowadays, the name High Fogrigg (High Fogridge on Google :$ ) applies to the large house about 250 metres to the SW of Vindolanda. But there are ruins down in the valley bottom to the east which may well be the original site.

Badger, I think one of the ruined buildings you passed will be Cockton, after which the Cockton Burn is named. Another farm that's gone, although it's just outside Harry's 500m radius.

Mike

An early lover of Chesterholm & its setting
I'm very fond of this particular article. Harry, sorry I've only just discovered you put it on WDV. I think it's very evocative and beautifully written by someone who was obviously delighted by Chesterholm and it's surroundings in Anthony Hedley's time.

Sylvanus Urban was the pseudonym of Edward Cave (1691-1754) who launched the Gentleman's Magazine in 1731 (see Cave's entry on Wikipedia). After Cave's death, subsequent editors of the GM took the same nom de plume. Hence Hodgson's article is addressed to "Mr Urban".

The article was reprinted in 1851 as an appendix to a book of reprints on the subject of Treasure Trove by John Fenwick. Although the article is just signed V.W., Fenwick comments that "I have no doubt of it's being from the eloquent pen of Mr Hodgson, the accomplished Historian of Northumberland".

A few comments about the text:-

Note that at this time it was still thought by many that Septimus Severus was responsible for the Wall. Only the vallum was thought to have been constructed in Hadrian's time.

The "Brooky-burn" is nowadays marked on maps as Brackies Burn but is known locally as the Cockton Burn. Cockton was a farmstead about 100m north of the burn at NY763668.

The "Crag-lough" burn is nowadays known as the Bradley Burn.

I have considerable doubts whether the water which bubbles up into the Chineley Burn below Chesterholm originates from Grindon Lough. Grindon Lough is above a different limestone stratum from that on which Chesterholm sits. Note that on maps this burn is marked as Chainley Burn, and I have seen yet other spellings.

What Hodgson refers to as the "Causey" or "Cawsey" we now call the Stanegate.

When Hodgson talks about the "pillar-crowned mountain of Borcum" he is referring to the Long Stone on Barcombe Hill. Robin Birley explained to me that the Long Stone was erected in the late 18th century as a memorial to a quarryman who was killed extracting stone for drystone walls during the enclosure of Thorngrafton Common. The date of the article (1833) is further proof that the quarrying fatality did not occur, as is sometimes thought, when the big Barcombe Quarry was re-opened in 1837.

Harry, thanks for all your work on the Vindolanda background material on WDV.

Mike

2012 Barcombe Hill walk
In principle I'd be very happy to do a walk all three weeks. That way I get lots of useful suggestions and interesting questions. But I shall have quite a lot to do on the stones project. In particular have to make a long day trip to Edinburgh to consult with my professional geological advisors at the BGS and I don't know yet which day this will be. It may be not until the Monday's (14th and 21st) that I shall be able to say for sure if we are on for 16th and 23rd respectively. But the 9th will definitely be on unless our old friend force majeur intervenes. Anyway, I'm very pleased that people are interested and I shall do my best to meet demand.

Mike

2012 Barcombe Hill walk
Yes, happy to put up a map. It'll be based on part of OS 1:25,000 sheet OL43. I'll put it up in the next few days all being well. Initially the route and points of interest will be based on last year's walk. By the time we come to this year's, I hope to be able to improve the route somewhat and will then update the map and add a short guide.

I agree it's a long haul up from Vindolanda - tough guys those Roman squaddies! The map will include the "softies" parking arrangements, which require at least two cars. If you have access to just one car, my usual practice is to park wherever I can get just off the road close to the road junction at Crindledykes. A short way south of the junction (NY781669) a gate gives access to a footpath leading at an angle up the slope towards the Long Stone. After that you have access to all the top of the hill with very little up and down. The only other climb will be on the return route if you have visited the two big quarries.

NB Map OL43 is only 7.99 (well, it was last year) and in my view is a Hadrian's Wall area "best buy". To save me any worries about copyright, could I urge anyone who follows my route to avail themselves of the map from the Vindolanda shop.

Mike

2012 Barcombe Hill walk
Fiona. No problem for anyone to bring a partner/relative/friend/whoever.

Glad some of you enjoyed last year. It makes it all worth while!

Mike

2012 Barcombe Hill walk
All being well, Malise and I will be at Vindolanda for 3 weeks this May - from 7th to 25th. Last year at the same time I led a couple of walks on Barcombe Hill - you know, the hill that overlooks the site and has the quarries on it. Last year's walks were well attended so I propose to do the same this year. The first will be on Wednesday 9th, with a repeat on the 23rd or possibly the 16th if there's demand.

The good news is that over the intervening year I've managed to get a much better understanding of some of the main features. So it should be of interest even for those of you who came last time. Plus it's a fine walk in all but the worst weather and a chance to get a different perspective on Vindolanda and it's place in the archaeological landscape of the Roman Frontier and of 19th century industry.

The file attached gives some more information about what the walk will include and the arrangements. The most important thing to note is that although the walk is aimed at Vindolanda volunteers, it does not form aprt of the Volunteer Experience provided by the Trust.

Anyone is welcome just to turn up on the day, but it would help to have any views in advance about the arrangements or content. So feel free to post a reply to this if you have any comments.