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Hadrian's Wall

Exploring Hadrian's Wall just short of the Scottish border is a wonderful day trip. During the spring and summer, there are bus routes in and out of all kinds of sites along the wall, but they end somewhere around Oct. 1 (check with a local TI for the exact date). For non-drivers, there is luckily a great option. There is a retired history teacher, Peter Carney, who is available for half or whole day tours anywhere you want along the wall. He will listen to what you want to see, if you have specific requests, and tailor the time to you. His tour of Vindolanda, a roman fort currently undergoing excavation and restoration, is not to be missed. We really enjoyed our time with Peter and are sure that you will be pleased and impressed with this local expert. Visit his website at http://www.hadrianswall-walk.com/. Peter picks you up at your local hotel or B&B and returns you at the end of the time. It's a delightful expedition.

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Autumn is a great time to walk the Wall. No crowds. We stayed at a Farm B & B that we booked from the Tourist Information and were to arrive while the landlady was out at a Church Harvest Festival and she said to just let ourselves in and she'd see us in an hour or so. While we were still alone another traveler from New Zealand called and said that she had booked a room and could she come now. We said as far as we knew OK. We all had a great time chatting. The best thing was that the landlady brought home little cakes for our tea. The next day while we were walking the Wall a fighter jet flew low doing a turn around to go back. Evidently the Wall is used as a landmark by military jet on training flights.

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I should add that there are wonderful places to stay all along the wall. We stayed in Hexham, renting a cute little house called Sammy's Hideaway. It was immaculate and very well-furnished. You can find information on it at http://www.sammyshideaway.com. The owners, Sue and Ian, are as close as a phone call and very responsive to questions. I believe they have another property for rent as well. We enjoyed Hexham and the wall so much that we wished we had stayed an extra week.