Wheels of fortune…

Hi everyone,

I feel I really should offer apologies at the start of this blog to anyone who witnessed me wearing very bright colours while riding a bike recently.

Yes you heard me correctly ‘cycling’. Now while I’m sure you have better things to do than read about my recreational activities, bear with me. It all came about at the request of a keen cycling friend who’s over in the area on holiday and suggested that we could go and have a turn of pedals and see a bit of the area. At this point I had to say yes! Why? Well because I’ve acquired a new bike in the hope of getting fitter, though I was hoping that this would happen by just being in vicinity of it! So I suggested we do a section of the Hadrian’s Wall Cycleway as its really easy to follow and takes you through some great countryside and history on the way , just follow the 72 signs http://www.sustrans.org.uk/ncn/map/route/hadrians-cycleway.

mountian bike on grass verge
A little rest on the Stanegate, that’s Housesteads in the background honest !

The part of the cycle route we rode along uses the ‘Stanegate’ which is an old roman road that provided the original northern frontier before Hadrian’s Wall was built.

Why am I telling you about this I hear you ask? Well …. The recurring theme of the last few months has been the issue of Economics’ starting with an interviews on radio Cumbria talking about developing local tourism around the World Heritage Site, organising future budgets, planning projects and spending a few days with a German delegation from a variety of sectors of the Rhineland Palatinate area of Germany, including their interior Minister looking at local economies and business.  Trust me economics and the Stanegate have a very long link.

As those of you that know me are aware I’m a complete Radio 4 addict, I’ve always been a huge fan. one of my favourite  programmes is ‘In Our Time’ .

I don’t know if you heard it but in July 2012 they did an episode focussing on Hadrian’s Wall. Melvyn Bragg was joined by Prof David Breeze, Lindsay Allason-Jones OBE and Prof Greg Woolf to discuss the design, construction, purpose of the Monument.  I took the opportunity of a long journey to listen to it again recently. It’s a great run through the key points of Hadrian’s walls historical background but a couple of things jumped out at me. One, Lindsay reminds us its ‘the’ biggest monument to be found in Britain! The biggest! That’s why there are so many miles on my car!!

And the other thing is a comment by Prof Woolf that the majority of roman cash at the time came through the Hadrian’s Wall Corridor via not just the soldiers but the often overlooked civilian population living on the wall that was perhaps 4 or even 5 times that of the military community! That’s a lot of people living around the forts in the vicus or civil settlements that collected like village streets at each fort gate supplying everything the army didn’t and made up of Entrepreneurs from all around the empire.

If you’ve not had chance to hear it – click the link and have a listen.


All commerce travelling the old Stanegate road to and from the rivers of the Tyne and Solway and then back and forth around the empire to the forts, workshops and houses on Hadrian’s Wall, this is what I was thinking while riding along, it’s truly an amazing landscape.

right I’d better get on with today’s finance stuff, who doesn’t love a good spreadsheet ! I wish you all luck and I promise not to leave the next blog quiet so long !


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