On the weekend between our digging days we try to organize something diverting to do. Weather and weariness permitting it often includes a walk, ideally to see a few minor sights that are not on the usual tour circuit.
On a warm but grey Sunday it was off and hiking.
First stop was along a section of Hadrian's Wall, where my friend Pete has all manner of inscriptions and such tagged on his phone. So he had no difficulty pointing us right to this:
He seems inordinately pleased with himself.
Next up was a cross country trek that took in the ruins of a minor castle, first recorded as have a "license to crenellate" in 1380. I wonder if you can still apply for one of those somewhere?
Another member of our party, Scott, has a dream of buying a home in this part of the world. This would be something of a "fixer-upper".
Shortly after leaving Tremaine Castle we went through a farm where one of the black and white sheep dogs took a liking to our party. She insisted on following us for the next five miles. We tried at times to leave her behind, reasoning that if we let her through some of the many gates we crossed through it might be hard for her to return home. But the dog, we later learned her name was Tess, would have none of it, simply leaping over every gate and wall along the way.
A trek off the beaten path has to have some excuse for a destination, and in our case it was a little notation on the Ordinance Map. It said "Holy Well, (Sulphurious)". We had heard tell that monks from the nearby Lanercost Priory used to come up once a year to bless the spring. Well, that seems worth a look.
It is a pretty little spot, right along a steam called Kings Water. It does smell quite a bit like sulphur. Note the pewter cup, it is attached to the rock with a little chain. The spring is crystal clear water running down but leaving that bright white mineral residue.
When given a chance to drink from a Holy Well it is probably a good idea to do so. First a little whiff...
Then a healthy swig.
I feel I should give a "wine review" of the stuff.
-Bouquet: A bit assertive. Definite tones of creosote with a hint of chlorine.
-Taste: It recalls an egg salad sandwich that you ate after it had been in the fridge a day or two too long.
-Aftertaste: A long swig from my water bottle.
But does it make you more Holy? Here Pete is doing his best at being Beatific. Not sure he is managing it well especially as he did not partake from the Well. He claims he had a nip on a previous walk through.....
Saint Peter the Very Lesser.