Apparently, there’s a plan to open up the Roman Fort at Whitley Castle to the public and do a bit of development work such as removing walls from the enclosures and having a hut and stuff. Look, I’m not really sure, see?
Anyway, Whitley Castle is in South Tynedale near Alston and is closely passed by the Pennine Way. It is remarkable for it’s ramparts and defensive works which are both huge and extensive. Me and Brian went for a look. They’re definitely very impressive defences and I’ll look forward to watching developments at the site. Here’s some pics of those magnificent ditches and banks.
After all this, we visited the outskirts of Alston – roughly at the point where the Pennine Way enters from the South and where there are some blackthorn trees. Blackthorn trees have black, very sour berries with a hard centre and, it is rumoured, that if you wash these and put them in a jar with a load of sugar and a substantial amount of gin, and leave it for a long time, that the resulting beverage is both invigorating to the soul and the ruination of housewives.
After visiting several sites upstream of Alston, we came away with a large bagful of this black treasure. I’ve got a few pounds weight of the stuff in the kitchen at this very moment. All that I lack is a jar and a bottle of mother’s ruin. I will sort out those deficiencies in the morning and start the production of the very first Pieman’s Sloe Gin. You have to take an interest in things, otherwise you never learn nowt. Drink responsibly and fairly sloely. It should be ready by April (ish)