I'm now taking a few days off from painting to visit Northumberland and maximise my use of my English Heritage membership.
On the way up I spent most of the day revisiting three sites on Hadrian's Wall -Birdoswald, Housesteads and Chesters. Birdoswald was the only one I hadn't visited before but all three sites are better signed than in the past so interpretation is a lot easier.
I followed this with a day off cycling around Kielder reservoir and a quick visit to the battlefield of Otterburn, just a mile from our hotel, there was nothing of note except a couple of plaques and a Percy cross, seeing the ground did not help interpretation of the battle.
Next off to Corbridge to see the Roman town, quite a nice site museum with an interesting comment that lorica segmenta may have been used by some cavalry units. Then a side step to Hexham before Belsay castle and gardens. here the highlight was not the buildings but the sculpture by Stella Mccartney
On the way to our next stop on the coast it was into Alnwick for a quick look around, I didn't bother with the castle as it would have cost a fortune and it seems to be more like Harry Potterland. But I did find Barter Books a rather unusual second hand bookstore where I spent quite a while browsing the history section. Then on to Craster for the walk to Dunstanburgh castle and return to the local pub for crab sandwiches and a pint of black sheep.