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4th - L6th Form's Classics Trip to Hadrian's Wall

Over the September exeat weekend, the Classics department took a group of Latin students up to Hadrian's Wall to celebrate 1900 years since it was built. We travelled up on Friday via Barnard Castle to get supplies for dinner before heading out to a really interesting evening at Grassholme Observatory. We listened to some fascinating talks and waited for the clouds to clear enough for us to see Jupiter (and four moons!), Saturn, the International Space Station and the Pleiades.

On Saturday, we headed up to Vindolanda, a fort just south of the wall, which in fact predates it. Here, the unusual quality of the soil has preserved all kinds of objects such as leather shoes, pieces of wood and perhaps most famously, the Vindolanda tablets: a collection of letters written and sent between different communities living in the settlements on this northern frontier of the Roman Empire.

On Sunday, we finally went up as far as the wall itself. The hardy Latinists walked a section of the wall, passing Sycamore Gap, which featured in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and was voted the Nation's Favourite Tree in 2016, and on to Housesteads Fort. The pupils' evaluation of the art installation there, a colourful reconstruction of a gatehouse, largely erred towards "Hideous", but Mrs Macnab was impressed with its theme of taking ownership of the past. After a well-deserved hot chocolate, we then embarked upon the long drive back down to The Oratory.  

The pupils were great company and it was a really lovely way to spend the weekend.  

R Fec, Teacher in Charge Classics


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