The three day Classics trip to Hadrian’s Wall set off at 7:30am on 27 May 2017. There were 13 boys in total, 8 from Year 8 and 5 from Year 9.
We arrived at the Roman fort Arbeia in sunny Southshields where we had lunch and visited the museum which displayed replica stone tablets engraved in Latin describing historical figures of interest. We then also walked into the card shaped fort itself, imagining how tall the walls would have been. Another part of the museum depicted a mini reconstruction of the fort and taught us how to distinguish between the granaries and barracks.
We then visited Segedunum in Newcastle where we gained perspective by seeing an overview of the fort from a platform as if we were a commander at headquarters, and compared this with the view of a solider in the barracks by continuing through the different rooms of the fort on foot.
As our first day drew to a close with a downpour, we visited the Roman fort Banna where we tried to use our knowledge of distinguishing a granary and a barrack from Arbeia. After our walk around the fort, and a brief glimpse of the wall, we retired to the hotel where we had dinner and watched a topical film about the last Roman Emperor, and how a rebellion had tried to capture him as a child and take Britannia for themselves.
Our second day came around with a 7:00am start and we headed out to the Roman fort Vindolanda. Here we toured the fort and saw two watchtowers, one reconstruction of stone, the other of wood. We ascended to the top and imagined what it would be like during a real attack from barbarians.
We then decided to try and climb up one side of the stone tower attacking the fort as barbarians. Luckily for us, there were no Romans to try and stop us as we all would have been instantly defeated!
We then took a guided tour which led us around the rest of the fort with the guide giving insightful explanations of objects and their historic uses. After our tour and a brief look in the Vindolanda museums, we visited the Roman Army museum and ate lunch. At this museum, we saw some wax tablets that had actually been used in the Roman era. This museum also gave us a chance to see if we could have joined the Syrian archers that made up part of the Roman Army.
After the museum and the obligatory visit to the shop we walked approximately 8 miles along the wall taking 3 hours. On our journey we also visited the partly excavated Roman fort Aesica. We enjoyed some breath-taking scenery along the way with plenty of photo opportunities.
After dinner at the hotel we watched another film about the Romans in Britannia that took place before Hadrian’s Wall had been constructed. This film, however, made us feel sorry for the barbarians and how their homeland had been invaded.
Our final day began with our last walk along the wall and a photo point at Sycamore Gap. We visited the Roman fort at Housesteads seeing the Roman toilets, and we read about what they used for toiletries!
As our walk along the wall continued we visited other forts, such as Brocolitia and Mithraeum, where we saw shrines dedicated to gods. After our lunch and the final leg of the walk, we arrived at Cilurnum fort and museum, our final destination before our journey back. Here, we saw different tiles and their various uses.
In total over the three days we walked approximately 23 miles.
Year 9 Classics Student