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day 6
By Marty Batchelder 14 February 2000

Hello from Scotland!

We left London this AM and began driving north. The scenery was very nice once we got out of the belt of manufacturing cities. The countryside is just as picturesque as you see in the travel brochures.

As we approached Nottingham, we saw the sign for Sherwood Forest Visitor Center. How could anyone resist stopping? We got off the highway and started following signs. 15 to 20 miles later we pulled into the visitor center parking lot. No there arenít acres and acres of 1500 year-old trees with men clad in green hiding behind them. There were a lot of young and moderately old oak trees and a video program telling about how the forest has been there since the ice ages. There was also a lot of material, which tried to identify the person called Robin Hood. None of the historical data discovered so far validates the tales of Robin and his Merry Men. The person most likely to meet most of the characteristics of Robin didnít live until after the time of King Richard and Prince John.

We did see a sign pointing the path to The Major Oak. We followed it and found the tree Iíve attached a picture of. It is probably 800 years old so it would have been a small tree at the time of Robin Hood. There is also a picture of Dennis standing in front of a representation of the famous fight between Robin and Little John.

WE then continued north until we reached the border area between York and Northumbria until we saw the signs of for Hadrianís Wall. The Roman emperor Hadrian, in about 120 AD, ordered a wall to be built of stone, between northern Britain and the lands belonging to the Scots. It was to be about 70 miles long, 15 feet high, and 8-10 feet wide with a 30 foot wide by 10 foot deep ditch on the northern side. Small forts were to be built every mile with two towers between each fort. On the south side of the wall two mounds of dirt were to be piled up and another trench was to be dug. Additionally several large stone forts were to be built.

The wall was built by the military in about 10 years. Can you imagine the backbreaking work? Most of it had to be done by hand!!! A lot of the wall has been used for fences and as a base for the current road. In about 10 Ė 12 locations the wall is very visible and in several places the forts have been excavated. We stopped at 3 of these locations and Iíve attached several pictures.

By this time, the temperature had fallen to about 33 degrees and we were getting snow and sleet squalls with very high winds. The wind chills were probably 0 degrees or lower.

We continued north into Scotland through some nasty snow storms and decided to spend the night at the site of the crowning of the ancient kings of Scotland. When we got there we found out that all of the hotels in the town were full due this Monday being a bank holiday. After checking out the castle in the snow and dark we decided to head south and found a nice hotel and restaurant in Ayrshire, just south of Glasgow.

Tomorrow we are going to take the ferry over to Northern Ireland.

Sherwood - Dennis


day 6 - scotland