Hadrian’s Wall Weekend – June 2007
In flaming June, as most of England struggled to keep its head above water, a group of recruits chosen for their fitness and also keen to fight for the glory of Rome were despatched to Hadrian’s Wall for an induction
weekend. Unfortunately since the barracks at Housesteads Fort
were full they were billeted at the Centre of England Hotel at
Haltwhistle, close to the line of the wall.
The Friday Walk
Twenty-six brave foot
soldiers, led by Centurion
Stevius Reynoldius rendezvoud at lunch time on Friday and in the
afternoon, with lovely sunshine, set out on a six mile training session
from Haltwhistle. On low ground, occupied by grazing cattle,
a couple of the recruits fell foul of the boggy conditions but
gamely continued back to base – needless to say, they were not
the first in the showers!!!! However it was observed that they could
have been the forerunners to the very expensive mud spa treatment now
enjoyed in the 21st century. After a wholesome
three course evening meal all retired to their bunks for a good
sleep ready for the main expedition the following day.
The Saturday Walk
Despite the threat of torrential rain the troops were mustered
by Centurion Stevius and ready to catch the wall transport (a bus)
at 8.17am to take them to Once Brewed, the start of the eight mile
march which included a visit to Housesteads Roman Fort and finished at
Vindolanda. One thing is certain, the wall was not built on level
ground!! but has many risings and fallings. However that did ensure
that the troops stayed fit. A highlight for one member of the
group was visiting a section of the wall used in a Robin Hood film.
Robin successfully fought the Sheriff of Nottingham and his men,
after landing on the south coast and heading for Nottingham, via
Hadrians Wall!! Obviously a compass or GPS would have been a
useful birthday present to Robin of Loxley, but it all looked authentic
in the film. After a morning of sun and fresh breezes the English
drizzle started in the afternoon, so refreshing cups of tea at
Vindolanda helped to revive the troops before they caught the
transport back to the hotel to bathe, use essential oils?, eat grapes?,
or put their feet up and then prepare themselves for the evening Roman
At the banquet a wide range of Roman delicacies (food not ladies) were
on offer – Panis Glires (stuffed Dormouse), Patina de
Piscis Fricta (fried fish in an egg and curry batter), Pullus Pathicus
(chicken breast in caraway and red wine sauce) being just a few of the
wonderful offerings. Replete with good food and muchius
wine they reclined gracefully for a Roman Army Recruitment Presentation
by Centurion Jefficus Flavius Courtantis.
Centurion Jefficus Flavius Courtantis.
Much essential information was obtained from this seasoned soldier and
after being told that weekly training would involve a 22 mile route
march carrying 45kg backpack whilst wearing full armour and with
leather open sandals on their feet (not Sherpa boots), the initial
enthusiasm to help Hadrian began to fade. The lessons on swift,
bloody but effective killing with various weapons revived their spirits
but the pay was not good, life expectancy was short and women were not
allowed in the barracks, so the general view was NO THANK YOU.
After another good sleep the troops packed their kit and then were led
on a gentle stroll round the town of Haltwhistle to learn more about
After lunch the main part of the cohort travelled on
to Lanercost Priory for a chance to add to their knowledge on
monasteries and, sadly, their destruction.
A BIG thank you to Steve and Anne, and all involved, for arranging such
a splendid weekend which was thoroughly enjoyed by all concerned.
Reportia Scribia to the Cohort – Judith Ridgway