“In our time”, Starvation Brae and shore walk

Another BBC podcast (or listen live on the radio) is In Our Time, in which novelist and presenter Melvyn Bragg discusses mainly historical issues with a select panel. The programme covers a wide range of history, science, politics and religion. This week’s topic was Hadrian’s Wall, in the north of England. Hadrian’s Wall was the largest Roman structure built anywhere and can be seen as a vanity project for the Emperor Hadrian or as a means of keeping out the warring Picts, based to the north, in what is now southern Scotland. While there is some evidence of how and why the wall was built, much is still speculation, with only 5% of the wall having been excavated.

This was an intriguing discussion and I learned much as I made may way slowly on my bike, up Starvation Brae about 2k from my home. It’s a very steep climb with 4 corners and the unsuspecting cyclist (or runner) can be fooled into thinking that you are at the top, when in fact, there’s 3 more steep climbs. However, inspired by Bradley Wiggins’ Le tour victory (and the excellent articles in this morning Guardian which popped through the letter box), I focused on listening to In Our Time, gritted my teeth, pushed my legs and breathed a great sigh of relief (and satisfaction) at the top. I’m not sure why it’s called Starvation Brae – brae means hill but it could have something to do with people having to walk long distances to get food.

Another walk along the shore near my house, this time with my long zoom lens. I should really take my tripod with me as it’s difficult to keep still holding the long lens. The close up photos you can get however, make it worthwhile and I like the clarity of the pictures below of the shells and the coloured stone. The shoreline is constantly changing, with the tides and the wind, and it makes you appreciate how lucky you are to live near the sea.

Shells on the shore

Stone on the shore


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