We all have photos that lie around in the bottom of a drawer. They never make it to an album and seldom see the light of day but for some reason we don't throw them away. Going through some really old photos in a box at the back of the cupboard I came across a bunch from about 1958. I remembered how annoyed I had been when a friend took a picture of me in a compromising position but now looking back it reminded me of the perfect day we had. I never let anyone see the picture after it was developed and it has remained lost in the bottom of drawers until now. Today the picture seems pretty tame and now I realise that a photo that triggers good memories has to be a good thing. Isn't that why we take photos anyway?

We had started out early on a summer morning on our motorcycles and drove first to the links on our beach.
The bikes wouldn't go all the way to the sand but we parked at the edge of the dunes and walked down to the beach.
Robbie and I went in the water but Eric decided it was just a bit too cold and waited on the beach. I didn't mind him picking up my camera and photographing us in the water. This is one of me just before plunging into a wave in the North Sea.

After a short invigorating swim we came back up the beach to change.
I remember the feeling of freedom having the beach to ourselves which made changing from our bathing suits a much easier matter than when there were people around and that was apparently when Eric chose to take the extra photo.
It took us very little time to dry ourselves off because the air temperature in the early morning was something less than sauna like and in no time we had donned our clothes and motorcycle outfits and were back on the road.
Our first stop was Newcastle where Robbie had to pick up a part for his bike. As we left the motorcycle shop Robbie said he knew the best road to the moors so he took the lead and we just followed him. On the way out of Newcastle we lost him at a light. We sped up to catch him but no matter how fast we went we still couldn't catch site of him. In those days there was no speed limit except in built up areas so I am not sure what speed we were doing to catch him up. Finally we came to the fork in the road where I figured I knew the right way but with Robbie nowhere in site we stopped to talk it over. Eric mentioned that he heard Robbie saying he was low on petrol so we must have passed him at a petrol station somewhere along the way. We decided to give him some time and got out the map in case he never showed up. Since we didn't know if he was ahead or behind there was no point in us looking for him. He, on the other hand, would know where we were so if he was too stupid to find us he would be on his own. ( In those days we didn't suffer fools well. I guess I still don't. )
Ten minutes later we saw a motor bike speeding towards us and he said he had waved at us from the petrol pump before we left Newcastle but we never noticed him.
He said he had been pushing his bike to the limit to catch us up. After a good laugh about never letting him lead again we headed out.
We all preferred driving on the lesser travelled country roads around the moors in Northumberland and before long we were taking in the wonderful scenery and enjoying the county air.
Every now and then we would stop and take a walk. We did have some hiking gear with us too because we intended to have a look at Hadrians wall later if time permitted.
We were heading for a quaint little pub in Wooler where they would serve sandwiches in an outside area with a wonderful view of the moors.
The Northumbrian moors have a majesty all their own.
It could never be called a wilderness. Pastoral is what most painters call it.
England is a small country and has been inhabited by humans for millennia so there are signs of this throughout the moors but you can hike for 10 hours without meeting a single soul.
Landscapes of green clad rolling hills seem to go on forever with patches of heather and wild flowers painting their colours at their own times in the year.
In the valleys you may come across babbling brooks and although you are absolutely alone you can imagine people through the ages stopping to quench their thirst.
Hedgerows and stone walls mark boundaries old and new and you can walk little distance without coming upon a herd of domestic sheep. The only wild animals I have ever seen are foxes and rabbits and yet in this well lived in countryside you can experience the beauty of nature at its best.
After a good lunch we took a swing through Rothbury and then headed south to see a Roman fort they were busy excavating by Hadrians wall.

The photos I took just looked like a buried foundation but this is a reproduction of how it would have looked 2000 years ago.

A few things amazed us when we got down into the excavation.
The first was the height of the rooms. At 5 feet 8 inches I am not a tall person but I had to stoop to walk through the rooms. When we asked one of the officials he told us that, not only would the Romans have been able to stand upright but they would have been able to do it with their helmets on.
The other thing we were told was that this particular fort had central heating. Spaces under the floors and between the walls allowed hot air to circulate throughout the buildings.
In 1958 none of us had central heating in our homes 2000 years after this fort was built.

With still enough time for a good look at the wall we left to head further along it.
The road we took ran just to the South of the wall and once again the Roman know how was obvious.
This had originally been the Roman road built on their side of the wall and I can imagine someone with a map in Rome drawing a straight line across and saying to his henchmen, "Build a road across here."
They did and it follows the line exactly. Straight as a die right across the country.
They obviously had not built it with any consideration for man or beast since at one point it goes right over the top of a very large hill even cutting through a small forest on the top. With very little deviation it could have gone around the hill staying on level ground and saving a lot of strain on horses and troops.
The wall itself meanders through the hills, of course, in order to take advantage of natural terrain.

It was still visible but not very high due to years of natural deposits and it made me wonder where all that extra soil comes from.
I know that the earth has not grown twenty feet in diameter and yet here are solid immovable structures now ten or more feet below the surface in only 2000 years.

At the height it is today the wall would hardly keep out a flock of sheep never mind a marauding band of Picts or Scots.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the history of England at this time the Romans gave up trying to conquer those of us to the North and simply, or not so simply, built a wall across the country to keep us out.
After sitting on the wall and eating some sandwiches we had brought with us we decided to call it a day and headed home.
At the time I had no idea how much of that day would stay in my memory or that the one picture I had not wanted taken would bring it all back.
This is the wonder of old photographs and it makes me wish I had more of the hundreds I have lost over the years.