JOE'S JOURNAL

2001


Tuesday 1/2/01

Well, we're back in the saddle again. Jake and I have returned for parte deux of our Arthurian research. Jake will travel with me for 15 days and fly back, at which time my dad will join me in London for another 10 days.

Our flight to Gatwick from Atlanta was delayed about 2 hours, which put a little kink in our travel plans. We ended up leaving Gatwick at 11:30 AM. We tried to make up for the lost time, but, in the end, we did not get to revisit Cadbury. This was not too bad of a loss since we only planned to take one or two distance pictures, which are not a necessity.

We pushed along until about 1:30 PM and stopped for lunch at a small town in Dorset. We ate at a small pub named the Wheatsheaf. The place had a small gathering of locals around the bar chatting about local gossip and national soccer titles. It's unfortunate that American society finds it more acceptable to drink alone at home than together with friends for a few drinks at a bar.

Anyway, I had a half-pint of some cider and a gammon steak. I decided that I wasn't going to risk bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) until I learned more about the risks.

After lunch, I started to feel the fatigue of my trip overtake my excitement. I experienced a few "micro-sleeps" behind the wheel and scared the hell out of myself. I rolled down my window and began taking deliberate deep breaths. This helped the problem to a point, and we made it to Badbury Kings.

The hillfort was one of the most impressive that I have seen. In some places, the earthen ramparts were 15-20 feet high. There were three of these rings surrounding the now-forested hilltop. These incredible defenses would have slowed any invading forces. If this is indeed Badon, it is easy to see how Arthur could have worn down and repelled the Saxon dogs. The cow flop definitely kept me on guard.

The driving has not been as fun as last year so far. I think it's because the car we got is so weak. No acceleration, poor handling, the windows stay foggy… I miss the other car.

We finally reached Bath after dark. When we got to the B&B, no one was home, just a note and our keys. Well, at least this year we got a note.

Jake and I walked up the road to the Weston. I got a pint of ale and the bangers and mash (I'm still afraid of mad cow). After dinner, Jake challenged me to a game of pool, and I challenged him to a double scotch. He beat me twice at pool, but at least I enjoyed the scotch.

I guess I'll add here that we hope our work will one day become a book. We have contracted out a course on publishing our work with Dr. Hagen for next semester.

Good Night!

 

Wed. 1/3/01

Well, the computer kind of has us in a bind right now. It has refused to boot up all day. We have shutdown and restarted it numerous times, but it always starts back to the same frozen screen. We found a computer store down the way from Marisha's Guest House, so we'll try that tomorrow. If they can't help us fix it, then the trip will become the Joe and Jake Unplugged Tour. We'll just have to rely on paper maps and regular cameras. No Worrys!

This morning we had a huge English breakfast. Jake and I were both stuffed. We got up at 8:30 after a great night's sleep. After breakfast, we headed to a spot on Wansdyke. Robert Vermaat told us this spot would be great for pictures. Robert runs the Vortigern Studies Website and said that this was one of the best-preserved sections of the long earthen wall. To get there, we drove past a horse carved into the white chalk hillside. The town was called Labour-in-Vain Hill. What a depressing place to live.

Wansdyke, according to Ashe, was built about the time of Ambrose or Arthur and could have been a marker for the outer edge of the Cornish kingdom of Dumnonia.

We drove up a road that cut through the dyke at a farmhouse. I knocked on the door and asked the lady of the house if she minded us tromping around on her property. She pointed us to a place where we could safely cross the barbed wire fence. From the bottom of the ditch (North) to the top of the ridge (South) was about fifteen feet. Maybe it wasn't quite high enough to significantly hinder an enemy, but it does seem like a hell of a way to mark the property line. We walked the ridge to the top of a hill and got some great pictures of Wansdyke winding into the distance.

The weather this morning was beautiful, if a little windy. We found our way to Little Solisbury Hill, a reputed site for Badon (another). The hill was very thick with mud, but we trudged up. The computer had already told us off, so we had only 15 pictures to use on the digital camera. This was plenty to get the ramparts and the view of Bath from the summit. The sky began to look like rain, so we worked our way back to the car. Jake and I agreed that even at 2:00 PM we weren't hungry for lunch, so we tried to go directly to the Roman baths. Of course, we got quite lost in the city, but eventually we parked and set out on foot. Somehow, we happened to end up in the right place (as is usually the case).

The Baths were pretty interesting, but I couldn't help but think that I would be using very similar facilities in the bath houses in Hungary. I called Laura tonight, and she told me that we have been accepted to the Central European Teaching Program to teach in Hungary next year. I'm excited, but it's too bad she had to tell me over the telephone.

The BSC email is down, but Laura says it should be up again by Friday. Computers and especially the Internet seem to have become much more popular in the last year. We used an Internet café this evening, and it seems that all the ads and commercials now include web addresses, which was not the case last time around. The pub where we ate dinner is even getting a computer. They said it would be the first place in the county where you can get a pint while you surf the web. Cheers!

 

Thurs. 1/4/01

I woke up this morning somewhat worried about the computer problem. After breakfast, Jake and I went to a computer store in Bath. For L11 ($15) the guy at the store showed me a different way to reboot my computer. Well, he got us back in business in short time, and we were on the road.

After this first small victory, the day went smashingly. We drove up around Ganarew in South Wales. Once again we stopped by Tintern Abbey for a bit. We could see most of it so we decided not to pay the admission.

We returned to Ganarew on a quest to locate Arthur's Cave. We had come here last year, but had failed to find the true cave. Instead, we found a cave and just took pictures of it, knowing it was the wrong one.

After talking with one of the locals, we found that we had been searching in the entirely wrong place. Instead of on the hill, the cave was, in fact, at the base of an adjacent hill. We found the cave in no time. I felt stupid considering how we spent two hours searching last year. The cave was much bigger than the one we found last year and much more interesting. There were three entrances of various sizes in the wall of the rock outcropping. Inside there were 3 or 4 largish chambers and a few smaller passages to the sides. This is not to say that the cave is a large one, but much larger than the standing-room-only number we found last year.

After the cave, we proceeded to Little Doward Hill (where we originally searched for the cave). At the top is the little Doward Fort, claimed by some to be Voritgern's ill-fated castle (burned by Ambrosius). We parked behind the same house as last time, but we hiked up. The mud was thick and slippery, but we were rewarded for our perseverance by the many deer we saw as we neared the top of the hill. The actual remains of the fortress consist of two partial ramparts. Not much to look at really. The embankments are overgrown with prickly thorn bushes and ferns. On the Southwest side, though, the natural defenses are quite impressive. The hilltop ends in a 60-foot drop before rolling somewhat less steeply to the valley. The view was incredible with the River Wye cutting through the valley and the city of Monmouth in the distance.

Once again we got so tied up we forgot to get lunch, so the drive to Shrewsbury in the early evening was a bit strained. Our host at Lythwood Hall made us tea and buiscuits before giving us directions to the Bridge Inn (a bit of a drive, but a nice meal!).

That's it then.

 

Friday 01/05/01

For the third day straight, I stuffed myself at breakfast. I never got this full in the mornings last year. I guess I just can't eat like I use ta' could.

We drove first to the town of Wroxeter. Here are the remains at the fourth largest Roman city in Britain. I must say that Jake and I expected a bit more. The ruins were very interesting, but only consisted of a handful of buildings (bathhouse, exercise hall, and market). I reckon the rest of the ruins are either buried under the surrounding fields or incorporated into the area's older buildings. The main sight is the Old Work, the structural remains of one of the bath walls (I believe the frigidarium). It was one of the largest pieces of Roman architecture still standing. You can see the outlines of the vaulted ceilings and supports. There was also a small outdoor swimming pool.

After Viriconium we headed back to Shrewsbury. We stopped at an electronics shop to buy a tape adapter so we could play MP3s from the laptop through the car stereo system. We're not listening to music, but rather the BBC radio production of Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Good fun listening to books on the road.

It certainly breaks up the monotony of driving. The drives are much longer this year as we are accomplishing the same distance of travel in 2/3 the time.

The second site we visited today was the Berth and Berth Pool. These were the fortress and burial place of the kings of Powys, respectively. Authors Phillips and Keatman propose that Arthur was, in fact, the Owain Ddantgwyn. Owain was the king who united both Powys and Gwynedd, creating a very strong kingdom in northern Wales.

The pool is at the foot of the hill of the berth. We tried to come at the site pool-side, but were stopped by a stern-looking "No trespassing" sign. Normally I would hop a fence, but I don't like disobeying a direct order. We drove around to the other side of the hill and found a path only slightly less forbidding. I drove our little car down a dirt path that quickly became a muddy swamp. Jake went ahead to scope the place out, while I attempted the near impossible task of backing up a muddy one-lane road. More than once the ruts dropped deeper than the little Micra's ground clearance, prompting a frustrating shuffle between gears.

Finally, I parked at the top of the road and returned on foot to meet Jake. We walked through a damp field, cleaning the muck off our filthy boots. We hopped over a small stream and a few barbed wire fences with relative ease. Unfortunately, the hike quickly became more difficult. Our feet began to sink further with each step. Under the thick tufts of grass lay a well-flooded field. I guess this flooding is the reason Phillips and Keatman see this hill as a possible Avalon. The water was in some places a foot deep, soaking my pants and sloshing over the tops of my boots. Yet we continued on! What people do in the name of the King!

My shoes and socks are soaked, so I have spent the rest of the day in my moccasins. We had a nice lunch, and then hit the road towards our B&B outside of Dolgellau. At lunch, I had a seasonal beer called Befuggled Santa. The ride was beautiful as we entered Snowdonia. This is the most incredible place I've seen in Britain, so it's nice to return.

Our B&B is on the side of a hill overlooking an inlet from the Irish Sea. The view is wonderful, and the room is nice as well. Right now, we are sitting in a nice pub after a good meal and a few drinks. Things are all right.

 

Sat 1/6/01

I didn't sleep too well last night, but morning came around just the same. We started the day at 7 AM, checking the clothes drying on the radiator. Breakfast was served in a room over looking the estuary. It was nice to watch the sun rise over the water and mountains, burning off the thick mist that covered the alley.

First, we headed to the Gamlan River. Easy. We pulled up by a bridge and took pictures of the waters flowing down the mountainside.

Next, we continued on to Caer Gai (Cei, Kay). This was one of the more disappointing places we've been. We knew a farm occupied the top, but we didn't realize that was it. There were once Roman and Dark Age settlements, but nothing remains now. The entire hill reeked of the sheep and cattle that populated the muddy slopes. Jake took a few pictures of nothing in particular before we decided to get a picture below of the hill as a whole.

Later as we were driving north towards Mold, Jake said that he had just seen something that said "Arthur." I turned the car back and pulled off the road. Under a granite shelter stood a stone. The inscription on the granite monument claimed that the indention in the rock was made by Arthur's horse, hence the name Carn March Arthur. What a lucky find, we had no clue this was here. Looking in our books, we found that there was another Arthurian stone in a town we had passed a few miles back.

We turned back to Ruthin and visited Hueil's stone. Here Arthur beheaded Hueil, the bother of the historian Gildas. Maybe this is the reason Gildas failed to mention Arthur, some terrible grudge.

We ate lunch in a pub called Y Pentan (Welsh for the fireplace). It was a nice place with a rock music theme, but it was subtle. I had a cheese, bacon and onion grilled baguette…marvelous!

Anyway, we got into Southport about 3:30 PM, our earliest arrival yet. We went into town to look at some of the shops. It is cold, but the town is beautiful. It's right on the water, and the buildings on the main street are friendly and busy.

Anyway, I'm finishing this up because I have a very neglected whisky sitting in front of me that I must tend to.

 

1/7/01

Not a bad day. We hit Pendragon Castle between 11 and 11:30 this morning. We drove up through the surrounding hills and mountains on a wonderful one-lane road through expansive fields of rock grass and brush rolling into the distance.

The castle itself was quite interesting. The structure was built in the 12th century by Normans, then refortified 200 years later. The building was a surprisingly small (50x50 feet) square. The plateau of the hill was surrounded by a ditch and embankment, and the rubble, and soil has been removed from the base of the castle. Inside, though, the building is filled with about 10 feet and 800 years of mud, rock, and assorted debris. Jake took the panorama pictures for the webpage, while I climbed along the interior walls. Though small, the castle seems to have had at least 3 floors, as evidently in the remaining structure.

Legend says that Uther Pendragon once resided in these walls (an earlier structure). To build his fort, he had attempted to divert the waters of the adjacent River Eden, but failed. As the rhyme says "Let Uther Pendragon do what he can/ The Eden will run where the Eden ran." I took a great picture of the Eden through a window of the ruined walls. There were numerous passages, cubbies, and holes to explore, so we had a grand time trying to figure out what everything used to be. There was one tower that I believe was once the toilet, with a chute running straight out the back of the castle.

We ate lunch at a hotel in the town of Kirkby Stephen. It's really cool how much they love their dogs over here. People just walk into a bar with their dogs and order a pint; sometimes they don't even keep them on the leash. I wish I had a dog that obedient, and a pub I could take him to.

We were making good time up into Scotland, so we thought that we could knock the Mote of Mark out of the way early in the evening (4:00) before it go too dark. I won't get into too much detail, but we took the wrong pictures and we have to go back tomorrow.

The woman that runs the house we are staying at is very smart. Any place we mention that we are going to or have been to she can rattle off a dozen facts. She told us of a Loch Arthur nearby where the locals believe Excalibur lies. We must check it out before we move on. Good Night.

 

Mon. 1/08/01

Mrs. Bardsley made us porridge and farm fresh eggs for breakfast this morning. The eggs were nice, and the porridge was a welcome departure from our morning routine.

In order to fit in Loch Arthur, we changed the order in which we hit the sites this morning. First, we went to Trusty's Hill. We had to park and hike through some low, brushy hills to get to it, but it was well worth it. At the top, we found some circular remains of some kind of man-made structure. Also, there is a stone bearing pictish carvings. One of the figures is of a sea serpent creature. A rusty iron cage to prevent damage by visitors covers the stone.

After this, we drove back to Rockcliff to see the real Mote of Mark. This was a hill we came to through a cow pasture. The cattle were very polite and let us pass though freely. According to the sign and Mrs. Bardsley, the fort has been vitrified. Jake and I had no idea what this meant until we came across the term in a book I bought at a charity shop. Supposedly, when a fort is burned down, the fire can sometimes heat rocks to the point that they fuse. We found an old stone wall surrounding the hill, but it seemed no different than any others we had seen.

On the drive up to Dumfries, we stopped by the side of the road near Beeswing. Loch Arthur was a pretty lake nestled in the hills between grazing land and a small forest.

We ate lunch in Dumfries and stopped by a few charity shops while we were in town. Jake and I each bought a few books.

Pushing on, we drove up through Glasgow. After checking in at the Gowanlea House, we went out to the Outlet mall. It's pretty neat, residing in the old Argyle car plant. At the bottom floor is a museum of the factory's history. At the museum gift shop I bough a MG postcard to sent Dad and a small bottle of Scottish mead. Somehow, I have misplaced my bag, so I may never get a chance to use either.

We ate dinner at Balloch Hotel, and then walked along Loch Lomond on a dark path before returning to the Hotel for after dinner drinks. That's where I stand now (or rather sit). Tomorrow, we head up Loch Ness towards Inverness.

 

Tuesday 01/09/01

Today we began the drive up to Inverness; it was beautiful.

This morning our hostess returned the bag I though I had lost. Another guest had brought it in from the roof of our car. Inside we found Jake's bottle of scotch, my bottle of mead and some postcards.

We drove up along Loch Lomond to the town of Luss to get pictures of the islands of the Loch. Monmouth says that Arthur cut off his enemies and forced them to the islands until they capitulated. The sun was shining brightly, yet great patches of fog still clung on the still water.

Further up the Loch we stopped at Glen Douglas, a candidate for Nennius' River Douglas battle site.

The fog began just north of Loch Lomond and has been a (nearly) constant companion through the highlands. At one point, we were driving though hills of mossy boulders and low brush. We hit a thin patch of fog and suddenly realized that the hills were actually a bit taller that we had expected. We had been driving through snow capped mountains for at least five miles. We pulled over at the same place as some Australian girls. They took a picture of Jake and myself. They weren't too keen on talking though, so we headed to Fort William for lunch.

Fort William was a nice little town, if touristy. We stopped in a bunch of shops along the main pedestrian street. They sold tartans and whisky along with wonderful shortbread cookies. We ate at the Grog and Gruel pub. The chili was the pub's signature food, so we each ordered a cheese and chili baguette. It was spicy! I don't know whether it was because it was objectively hot, or if it was just spicy in comparison to regular British food. I eventually recovered and ordered a dram of single malt for desert. I got a Ben Nevis 26-year-old single barrell. It was incredible. I must say it is one of the smoothest and sweetest whiskies I've ever had. It tasted a lot like butterscotch with a kick.

Driving up Loch Ness was strangely exciting. In grade school, I had a short-lived obsession with the monster and read everything I could get my hands on. Since then I have maintained a keen interest in the unexplained. This might also explain why interest in a long-dead (if ever-living) King.

We stopped at a Nessie gift shop for a bit and paid to see a video they had on the Loch Ness monster as well as an interesting collection of photos.

Jake and I decided to finish these up early tonight so that we may enjoy the rest of the evening with our good friend John Barleycorn.

 

Wed. 1/10/01

And on the 10th day they rested. We have done nothing of any value today.

We slept until 8:30, missing breakfast. We made tea in our room and ate biscuits (cookies). We had decided to visit a distillery today and chose the Tomatin for its proximity to Inverness. The distillery is not currently in production, so we couldn't take a tour. Instead, we watched a 15 minute video. On the up side, I did get my first drink before 10:30. The gift shop gave us each a Tomatin 10-year-old single malt, which we drank during the video.

When we got back, we walked around town looking in charity shops as well as touristy places. Surprisingly, there were very few cheesy tourist places, which made it difficult to find a gift for Rumsey.

Anyways, we wandered around the shops in circles before we decided to head back. We used the Internet at a Mail Boxes Etc. and then went back to the B&B for a nap.

The nap was sensational, one of the best I've ever had. I slept for a little over an hour and a half.

Now we have returned to the Blackfriar's Pub for dinner (we ate lunch here). Supposedly they have traditional Scottish music tonight. I'm waiting.

Later...

I ended too soon. The dancing was exhaustive, though we danced just once. The rules were simple, but required spinning down a line of people dancing with each girl. It was fun, but I sure miss Laura.

Thursday 01/11/01

Today we started back on our research in earnest. We woke up at 7:15 AM for an 8 o'clock breakfast. The breakfast was one of the largest we've ever had, and the political ideology of our host was exhaustive. By 8:45 we were headed south. In some places, the snow was still thick on the ground. I had to stick to the slow lane to avoid the ice that still clung on the road--it looked like glass. We took some pictures of a valley with snow and fog from a mountain road above. We drove for hours down to the town of Meigle. Here in an old church cemetery, we found Ganore's (Vanore's/ Gwenevere) Grave. We took a picture of the small mound and walked around, looking at the gravestones. Some of them dated back to the 1600's and sat adjacent to graves from the 1940s. Most of the older tombs were carved with a skull and crossbones, something we have seen on numerous Scottish graves.

The gravestone for Ganore's mound had been removed to a small museum in a building two doors down. This museum supposedly houses one of the finest collections of Pictish stone carvings in the country.

At this point, I should relate that according to local legend, Gwenevere came to the north after Arthur's death and changed her name to Ganore. The stone cross that once sat on her grave mound is now kept safely in the museum. Unfortunately, the museum is only opened during the summer, and we were a few months late (or early). The townspeople who we spoke to pointed us to the house of the woman who keeps the keys to the museum building. She turned out to be less than helpful, saying that she had just lent out the keys that morning and couldn't we come back in April.

Instead, we took pictures through a window facing the churchyard. Then we knocked on the door of a house to the other side of the museum and took some pictures through the window facing their yard. The pictures look damn good, considering. We took pictures of the River Alan, another possible battle site, as well as pictures of a Pictish standing stone, the significance of which presently eludes me.

After this work, we took some time off to visit the National Wallace Monument. This Gothic-style tower stands on a hill above the city of Stirling. It was built in the mid 1800s. The coolest thing about the place is that it now houses William Wallace's actual sword. It was incredible to see the blade that caused such havoc and upheaval. Wouldn't it be great if Arthur's sword had been so well preserved? If a sword could last 700 years, why couldn't it last twice that? The view from the top of the tower was great, but I must say that I have a healthy respect for heights, so I didn't stick around the edges too long.

We walked up to Stirling Castle from our Guest House for dinner at a pub called The Portcullis. My dinner was excellent as was the selection of beer and scotch.

Cheers!

 

Friday 01/12/01

This morning I showered and called up a local riding school to see if Jake and I might have a short trek up to Dumayat. The woman said that she had an availability at 12:00 noon, so we took it. We drove down to Falkirk to see the suburb of Camelon. This area used to be a town and has been suggested as the northernmost site for Camelot. Nearby, we visited a Roman hillfort along the Antoinine wall (Northernmost Roman wall).

Now, according to Jake's maps, we parked in a little inlet of a small road. The car park was littered with bottles, wet magazine pages, and broken appliances. To one side of the parking lot, stood a sign, which read, "Rough Castle Community Woodlands." On the map was a guide for lovely walking paths. I have never been so perversely misled as to surroundings. The hill we began climbing consisted of plowed gravel and rock. Between the small clumps of brown grass that had inexplicably sprouted were small black clumps that we soon identified as coal. The place looked like an uncharted level of hell. Green slime rested thickly in rows between the parallel mounds of sludge. We hiked over hill and vale of this dump before we realized that we would have to cross the railroad tracks to get to the fort. There were almost no trees. We walked past the rusted remains of sundry mining equipment. Apparently, this was a former strip mine, and the "woodland" path was some kind of effort to give back to the community. This was one environmental wasteland, and the community effort was pathetic.

Eventually, we crossed under the bridge and made it to the fort. As we crossed the fence off of the mining property, the grass literally turned green before my eyes. The familiar roll of hilltop fortifications was comforting as I stepped over the fence. It is incredible to consider that this fort was nearly 2000 years old, and that the field adjacent had been destroyed in only a few decades. Maybe it will look better in two millennia.

We looked up the side of the hillfort and saw a carpark right on the edge. While Jake took pictures, I walked back through the belly of hell to get the car. Somehow I managed to find the trashy carpark and even more inexplicably I managed to wind down the road and work my way up to the completely unmarked park around the fort.

Luckily, after this struggle, we had the horse trek to look forward to. We drove up through Bridge of Allan to Dunblayne Riding School.

Since I had made all of the calls, I asked for the larger of the horses. The beast was HUGE! Sampson is a mix of thoroughbred and clydesdale. I had to stand on an empty beer keg just to mount him.

The ride up was really cool, except for the riding helmets. My helmet kept sliding down over my eyes, but what I saw was beautiful. Sampson was a gentle giant and quite timid. He wouldn't go anywhere unless the guide horse went first. Our two guides were very nice, as well as attractive, but the view was spectacular. We could see the Wallace Monument from above and the Mountains of the Highlands to the Northwest. In front of us, Dumayat rose to its peak, but the trails were too icy for the horses. I took off my helmet so Jake could get some pictures of me that weren't too lame. On the ride back, we saw a weasel killing a rabbit on a nearby hill. The weasel looked like a small, thin ferret and made me miss Bart. I was interested, though, watching such a small animal taking down a rabbit three times its size.

After the ride we went to lunch, then slept off our saddle pains for about two hours until 6 PM. The nap was needed and deserved. We were planning to eat at the Hogshead and have drinks at the Portcullis, but we have decided to head back from the Hogshead after whisky.

 

Saturday 01/13/01

Today we left Scotland. This morning we headed south of Falkirk to a ford on Bowden Hill. This is Scotland's claim to Arthur's victorious battle at Badon. We found the little dirt (mud) road that led up the hill, but thought better than to push the little Micra inextricably into the muck.

Instead we chose to hike up. Normally the walk would have been relatively easy, bit, as we had been on horseback the previous day, our backs were fiercely aching. We made it up the frozen mud of the road and found ourselves at the bast of Bowden Hill. To the left were three tumbling stone huts that might have served shepherds in years long past. Interestingly, at the base of the hill was a weird stone wall with arched tunnels that had collapsed a few feet within. We never could figure out what it was, but it had been around long enough for some relatively large trees to sprout impossibly between the stones.

Jake and I struggled up the hill through dense patches of knee-high dead fern. We stepped gingerly testing for firm ground. At the top, we found walls that were still visible after years of disuse. The walls seem in keeping with the dark age ramparts. There was evidence of two or three edifices on the plateau. Unfortunately, the ferns and grass were so thick as to obstruct any view of the fort as a whole. This was truly one of the most interesting hillforts we had seen, with rock piles tumbled over from long collapsed towers.

After this, we headed down to Hadrian's Wall. We stopped at the town of Rocester on the way down to see if we could find the actual High Rochester that we tried to find last year. It turns out that we had driven right through it. The remains of a Roman wall now surrounded a farmhouse. We had driven through the farm property last year and continued up the hill in search of the fort. Today we walked around the Roman wall and witnessed how these ancient hewn stones have been incorporated into modern sheep walls.

We continued down to Hadrian's Wall and drove along side the earthen work ridge to the housesteads Roman Fort (the best preserved fortress on Hadrian's wall). We walked around the ruins and took pictures, but it seemed quite evident to me that our work was quite over. This fort had nothing to do with Arthur, and we visited it solely for personal entertainment and enlightenment. The only site we have left to visit is the River Glen in Lincolnshire. I have quite a drive ahead of me tomorrow, so I must get to bed now.



Sunday 01/14/01

Today I drove through fog. Lots of fog.

The driving was dull, so we continued listening to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books on MP3 routed through my laptop to the car stereo. We ended up in Lincolnshire at the Riverside Hotel on the River Glen. This is a site for one of the battles mentioned by Nennius. The rooms are ok, and the owner runs a great pub downstairs with a pool table and darts. We haven't left all night.

Oh, on a side note, we got news from home that our article in the Birmingham News has been published. Supposedly, the story and picture take up a good part of the front Local page. The article talks about our research and travels, as well as the website.

Pretty good publicity.



Tuesday 01/16/01

Well Jake has headed home, which means our Odyssey is over. What remains is to see if we can pull the whole thing together. If all goes well, in a few months we'll have a book that may or may not be fit for publishing. Only time will tell….