Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Nick Wheeler - amazing speaker!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6jRyeQG98w&feature=relmfu (part one)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LCjBqzlP4k&feature=relmfu (part two)

Try and watch these if you can. Inspirational!

Sorry must rush - billions of jobs to do!

Why are we not seeing more of Nick on TV I wonder?

If you are thinking of setting up a business or in the middle of one...well worth seeing!

I saw him at the Entrepreneurs' Forum May 2011. Amazing stuff!

Nick's website: www.ctshirts.co.uk

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Birdoswald Burning Beacons with a Blip and a Blast

Anita's beacon up from West Gate opposite me - West Interval Tower within the Fort of Birdoswald (Banna)

The Moon Rose in Distance Wonderously (towards the South)

Managed to get good photo (without flash) of three beacons (Ann& David - at the South gate, (Left Beacon on Photo); David - at the SW angle tower (Middle Beacon) and Anita (Right Beacon) - at the West interval tower

Looks as if I am praying to the Gods - thanking them that my beacon lit OK
The full moon and Derek's Beacon - he's at the SE angle tower

Tom hiding behind his beacon - he was positioned at the East Gate (No.1 beacon in the sequence of lighting up at 10.12 onwards)

Derek and Tom at Tom's beacon

Derek and myself at Tom's beacon

You can see the remains of the East Gate beside Tom's beacon

Is it working? Have the Reiver midges gone yet?
Re-enactors warming up the crowd before the beacons are lit up


Members of the viewing public prior to the lighting up. The English Heritage buildings are in background

Looking towards the South with the fort walls beginning on left hand side


Looking at where archaeology has taken place - the posts represent where there used to be a great feasting hall after the Romans had left (possibly) or maybe they were still there. Was this the home/hall of a great tribal chief? Could it have been that of King Arthur? The West Gate was in use until the 15th century

Lots of sheep milling around, leaving their tell tale signs and calling to one another e.g. "What on earth is going on?"


There was a fabulous sunset....




Derek, Ann and David - Volunteer Hadrian's Wall Rangers and
 Derek is also  a volunteer guide at Senhouse Museum in Maryport

Looking towards Tom's beacon and set-up

The 19kg gas cyclinder is in place and not damaging any archaeology
The sheep are still wishing we would leave them in peace

Forgot to say that I am/was no.2 in the sequence of lighting up after Tom at 10.12pm and this is my beacon

I was based opposite Anita on eastern side potentially beside an interval tower

Yup! That's me


My beacon is lit and burning brightly and Tom's is in the distance


That's Derek's beacon and he had the Sky camera man behind him.We were on Sky Live News apparently

Derek's beacon again (sorry - without the flash - all my pictures tend to go blurry)

That is a beacon at Walltown Quarry in the distance on Hadrian's Wall In reality it looked more like a bonfire it was so bright

The night, itself, was absolutely fantastic. I wasn't sure what to expect when I'd be asked to volunteer at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee for lighting up the Beacons along several communities on Hadrian's Wall. I thought that I'd be at Housesteads Roman fort initially but got assigned to Birdsowald Roman Fort instead.

I was not disappointed! I got to light my own burner! Yeah! (At the Illumination of Hadrian's Wall March 2010 I got to light a flare which was exciting but this was even better...my own piece of kit!!)

At 7.30pm there were seven of us - "The Magnificent Seven of Hadrian's Wall Volunteers" were there at Birdoswald Roman Fort. Ann and David, David, Derek, Tom, Anita and myself. All artfully organised by Neil and Kerry of Hadrian's Wall Heritage Ltd.

Banna is Birdoswald's Roman name which means 'horn' or 'peak' which is a good name as it sits on a hill or promontory overlooking the river Irthing.

We all carefully assembled all the equipment in the designated areas within the fort...and we were careful not to damage any potential archaeological remains underfoot. If anything our main concerns were the midges, the sheep poo and would our beacons light up at the appointed time????

I nearly voted myself into pole position for lighting up at 10.12pm - our appointed time for lighting the beacons along Hadrian's Wall - at least at this fort...but given my propensity for self induced drama I thought not....maybe I couldn't get the blasted thing to work....?!?

So I opted for the number two slot...which would be nearer the viewing area where my husband, Nigel, and children would be. That was my thought process anyway.

Around the 8pm slot (before any crowds had assembled) we had a test run..........

No.1. Click....Whoosh....flame! Tom's beacon lit up - no bother.
No. 2. Me....Click.......I went with my clicker (yes...I HAD turned on the gas...I had checked, I WAS standing down wind, I WAS clicking in the right place), click, click, click, click, click, nothing, nix, nil, rien, niente, zilch...no flame whatsover. Luckily Tom ran over and lit up my beacon for me. I felt such a fool.....durr....the ignominy. Ye Gods! eheu! Alas!
No.3. Click...Whoosh...flame! Derek's beacon lit up - no bother.
No.4. Click...Whoosh...flame! Ann and David's beacon lit up - no bother.
No.5. Click...Whoosh...flame! David's beacon lit up - no bother.
No.6. Click....Whoosh...flame! Anita's beacon lit up - no bother.

Oh heck! Maybe my nightmares will come true after all..............? Will I be on camera nationwide, nay internationally, as the non-functioning beacon lighter?????????

We went to have a cup of coffee and a natter. I was asked by some members of the public....why wasn't there an annual lighting up of Hadrian's Wall? Yes...that would be nice...even if it was only every five years. It would be nice. We pondered.

I said hello to my nearest and dearest. At ten to ten we wandered back to our posts.

My kit very fortunately included two other lighters (they are the same kind as those ones you would use for lighting up your cooker/hob - that sort of thing). I found one which did work (or seemed to work). I thought about putting the other one on top of the gas cylinder and nearly did until the thought of self-immolation on camera in front of millions strangely began not to appeal...so I put my back up lighter/clicker on the wall behind me.

The minutes ticked down to 10pm, then 10.05pm, (I am NOT nervous I told myself. Nobody is watching and nobody cares!!), then 10.10pm and then 10.12pm arrived. Still nothing happened. "Tom? Tom? Why haven't you lit up?" I quietly called across...then the re-enactors got the whole crowd to start counting down: 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.....

No.1. Click....Whoosh....flame! Tom's beacon lit up - no bother.
No. 2. Me....Click.......I went with my clicker (yes...I HAD turned on the gas...I had checked), click, click, click,("Ye Gods!!!!!" pro Iuppiter! By Jupiter!)...Whoosh!!!!!............Hadriana's beacon lit up - no bother. (Huge sigh of relief.....insanum bonum, jolly good show. It did work after all.)
No.3. Click...Whoosh...flame! Derek's beacon lit up - no bother.

No.4. Click...Whoosh...flame! Ann and David's beacon lit up - no bother.

No.5. Click...Whoosh...flame! David's beacon lit up - no bother.

No.6. Click....Whoosh...flame! Anita's beacon lit up - no bother.

We then relaxed and started taking photos. We were entranced by a fabulous night sky in the distance. The Reiver midges stayed away (at least from me - euge! Hurrah!) and we witnessed the full white moon slowly rising above the trees near the river Irthing. And yes! there - miles and miles away lit up once again perched on the crags on Hadrian's Wall....another beacon.....

                             What a marvellous sight! mirabile visu!
                              mirabile dictu! How splendiferous to relate!

(And if you click HERE it should take you to an ITV clip of the beacon celebrations at Housesteads.)

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Diamond Jubilee Beacons - Hadrian's Wall - Fire!






Running around yet again. Getting excited to be involved with the lighting of Jubilee beacons tomorrow night. I'll be at Birdoswald Fort. More details of what is happening in the region from South Shields to Ravenglass are here. Come along and join in! It would be great to see you!

Beacon Lighting up time on Hadrian's Wall: 10.12pm Monday 4th June 2012

Some of the beacon lighting photos are mine from the last beacon lighting event...March 2012. I blogged about that in this post and this post.

The marvellous Caw Gap photo (second from bottom) was taken by David Taylor and is reproduced here with his permission.

More to follow...........

valete! Bye for now! Hadriana :-)

PS: I've sneaked in a photo of our B&B, Four Wynds, as well. We are full up as are most places around here. Fantastic news! It should all be great fun tomorrow night!

PPS: Check out my Twitter feed for links and events. Will try to post them here too:
  Guardian writing about Hadrian's Wall
 UK beacon lighting up times and places tomorrow night
 This details where the beacons will be along Hadrian's Wall - tomorrow night!!!!

There will also be some beacons locally at Greenhead Village (just down the road from the B&B) and at Herding Hill Farm - top of Shield Hill, Haltwhistle. Some at Hexham and Carlisle too!
Full list:
Hadrian's Wall World Heritage Site beacon locations, east to west, are:
Arbeia Roman Fort, South Shields
Segedunum Roman Fort, Wallsend
Hexham (including Acomb, Anick & Sandhoe)
Housesteads Roman Fort
Herding Hill Farm, Haltwhistle
Greenhead
Birdoswald Roman Fort
Banks/Lanercost, Burtholme Parish Council
Bewcastle
Carlisle Castle (is a closed event but other things happening in Carlisle)
Maryport at Senhouse Museum and Milefortlet 31/ Senhouse Museum
Ravenglass/Eskdale

More details are as below............................................each event has its own details.......

You might need to bring a torch (especially up on Hadrian's Wall at the forts).  You are invited at the forts (Housesteads & Birdoswald) from 9pm-10.30pm.

The official lighting time for Hadrian’s Wall beacons is 10.12pm. The beacons will be kept burning until 10.35-40pm. The Queen lights her beacon at 10.30pm.

 (All the writing in green is where you can click on the links for more information.) 

I've copied the following from hadrians-wall.org website (which is my first link above marked 'here'):

"Celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in Hadrian’s Wall Country with this unique opportunity to see 60 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Beacons in the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage site as part of the official Beacon lighting celebrations.
There will be 60 official beacons hosted across the World Heritage Site, each beacon representing a year of the Queen’s reign.
All Hadrian’s Wall events will be lit simultaneously at 10.12pm. All events are free. More details for the public events can be found by following the links, but in brief the primary viewing areas east to west along the World Heritage Site for visitors will be:


Arbeia Roman Fort, South Shields - entertainment and Roman re-enactors from 8pm. Click here for more detail.

Segedunum Roman Fort and Museum, Wallsend - various activities during the day, and then entertainment and fireworks from 8pm. Click here for more detail

Hexham, The Abbey Grounds – music, entertainment and beacons from 19.30
Hexham, Anick - Hog Roast and community celebration at the award winning Rat Inn

Housesteads Roman Fort & Museum, Nr Hexham – free open admission to the fort from 9pm with a dedicated viewing area of the beacons that will be placed around the perimeter. Visitors are welcome to bring evening picnics to enjoy along the Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail or around the forts. Visitors advised to bring a torch and good footwear as it will be dark on completion. Click here for more.

Herding Hill Farm, Haltwhistle - an afternoon tea party serving local produce at the tea rooms, with evening beacon lighting. Click here for more detail

Birdoswald Roman Fort & Museum, Nr Haltwhistle/Brampton – free open admission to the fort from 9pm with a dedicated viewing area of the beacons that will be placed around the perimeter. Visitors are welcome to bring evening picnics to enjoy along the Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail or around the forts. Visitors advised to bring a torch and good footwear as it will be dark on completion. Click here for more.

Bewcastle, Cumbria - throughout the village and in the old Roman fort/Church, beacons located at significant points/locations around the Border countryside.

Carlisle Castle - The Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery Yak-Yak youth group are hosting a community dinner within the grounds of the castle. This event is a closed event in Carlisle castle, but many events are planned in the city centre for the jubilee weekend.

Maryport - at Senhouse Roman Museum and at Milefortlet 31

Ravenglass - in the village, a community concert picnic.
There are also many other events at various locations along the World Heritage Site - we are keen for visitors to celebrate the occasion with the communities.
All Hadrian's Wall events, and many others are plotted on an interactive map at the official Queen's Diamond Jubilee Beacons website."