In late October, last year I had a chance to visit Newcastle and Yorkshire for the first time. A friend of mine, a Traction engine enthusiast and owner, Paul, invited me to stay with him and his wife Dorothy in Newcastle one weekend, to see the sights around town and view his own jolly green giant of a Traction engine which was parked on a lay-by in Yorkshire. At same time some friends and work colleagues from London where planning on walking across the length of Hadrian wall over five days, so I join my work colleagues, Fraser, Simon and company for one day of my stay in Newcastle. So I did a bit of site seeing around Newcastle on the Friday, Walked the wall, from Chesters Roman Fort to Haydon Bridge on Saturday, and travelled down south(ish) to Yorkshire on Sunday to see Paul’s own traction engine.
Newcastle itself was not what I expected, the first sight I was meet with was the mighty river Tyne as my coach crossed over one of it’s seven bridges heading for the town centre. It was breathtaking, and much wider than I thought it would be. The town centre itself leading towards the docks were full of little architectural gems, both old and new, from the remnants of old industrial streets, ingenious Victorian swing bridges and arches, to playful modern municipal buildings like the Baltic Arts centre with it’s flowing, curving glass and steel superstructure. It felt a bit like wandering through a bright and colourful undergraduate’s scrapbook of interesting and contrasting architectural styles from the 1800’s to the present.
The city was one thing, the countryside was quite another, I got to experience its bold hills and leash valleys on the Saturday walk along the wall. We started the day off early in the morning at Chesters Roman Fort, where Paul and Dorothy dropped me off in the company of my friends from London. Paul and Dorothy unfortunately couldn’t join us on our trek along the wall as Paul’s knees, couldn’t take the riggers of such a long walk, but they would meet up with us later on at our journeys end in Haydon Bridge.
We explored Chesters Fort first, with its ruins, featuring neatly rowed barracks, headquarters building, officers house and the impressive Bath house by the River North Tyne, before we begin our walk proper. Once we on our way properly, aside from the striking countryside we did basce in the sight of large passages of the wall, it’s ditches, vallum and bits of the Military way. Sometimes, only seeing one element on its own, or other times a bit of wall and ditch together, but rarely if ever, all of the above together. One of the highlights of our walk, were the Mile Forts or the foundation sites what remained of them. However the most impressive highlight along our trek was the Temple of Mithras at Brocolitia, despite the replacement of its original altar, statue and timber posts with concrete replicas, it was still a wonder to behold.
We were forecast miserable weather for the Saturday day, however we where fortunate on our trek and missed most of the rain, only crossing its path once and briefly at that, as it move in one direction and we progressed on in another. We were blessed in the main with clear blue skies, and brisk winds, good hiking weather, especially for that time of year.
We ended our walk along the wall some 8 miles from Chesters’ and took the road to Haydon Bridge, a 4 mile long energy sapping walk along an undulating country lane, eventually bringing us to the seminal bridge itself before sunset. My London friends had booked a B&B called Shaftoes, for that night just beyond the Bridge. We where to meet Paul and Dorothy at a near by pub on the other side of the bridge for a meal. Whilst the hikers spent a few moments getting settled into their rooms and changing into more comfortable even attire, I had a window of opportunity to explore Haydon bridge in the fading light by myself and say hello to whatever spirit, of sky, water or earth that might be present.
Originally I had hoped to be able to revisit key areas along the walk and photograph Devas of the countryside and Guardian Genius’ by parts of the wall and ruins. However we had booked a reservation at the General Havelock Inn for 6pm, and that aspiration on this occasion was just impossible to realise ( imagine capturing a Fae hovering over the Temple of Mithras for example ) . So instead I restricted myself to whatever minuscule time I had to work with on Haydon Bridge as dusk dawned. Almost immediately I was greeted by Forces on the bridge itself, and others hovering close to the side of the bridge, they where literally right beside me.
One that drew particularly close filled the entire photography with his energies. A complex display of intermeshing waves of silvery light, his features and part of his form were clearly discernable on the far left of his photograph, with streams of energy flowing behind him to the right and beyond the limited of the photograph. His has a pronounced roman hooked nose, tear drop shaped eyes angled at an unnatural upward slant, a suggestion of a line for a mouth and sharply pointed chin. He wears a helmet with ‘wing like’ expressions flowing outwards from the sides and upper regions of his jaw line in the style of a Viking helmet. His tunic had sharply pointed shoulder pads protruding extensively. His top also appeared to be skin tight, revealing a thin muscular frame. There are two discernable energy vortices on his upper torso, one near the solar plexus and the second lower down by the sacral area, both taking the appearance of fiery ‘V’ shapes dishes. His arms are also muscular in tone and bent at the elbows, and sporting large ornate gloves on his hands. Below the waist, his lower potion is either not fully manifested or not clear to me as his energies there flow downward and off the bottom of the photograph.
Another manifestation I’ll quickly describe which appeared soon after, were a male and female pair. Both had round kind faces, with the male appearing slightly above the female. The male Deva looked a bit like some classical disembodied personifications of the West and East winds, as winged heads on clouds with puffed up blowing cheeks. The female Deva is looking directly at the camera and smiling gently. Eventhough their energies are blended together, the majority of the form and bow shaped aura seems to stem from the female force who is more central in the composition, the male feels as if he is only making his face present. Again their energy fields are massive and not completely captured within the frame of the camera.
These Haydon Bridge Faes may very well make it into my forthcoming book, so for that reason they’re been reserved and I won’t be sharing them here. I haven’t created any illustrations of them yet either, as they are so complex and would take an awfully long time to produce, so the descriptions of their appearances here will have to suffice for now.
On the Sunday, Paul and I paid a visit to Whitely Bay beach first thing in the morning, before heading off for Yorkshire. I had hoped to capture the Genii of the beach at twilight, but we were slightly too late to take advantage of the dying low light. They were there, but all I managed to capture on that occasion were fragments of their colossal frames.
We travelled to Yorkshire with Paul’s son, Ian, who we picked up along the way. Before visiting Paul’s own tracton engine which was parked and stored by the side of a motorway. We stopped off to view some engines in steam, cruising along narrowing country lanes at a majestic 8mph. If you haven’t seen a traction engine in steam, they are truly wondrous things. It’s not just their look, it’s also the sound, the smoke and smell as well, they have a real presence and totally capture the imagination. All of these sensory delights, framed against the beautiful backdrop of the emerald green Yorkshire countryside on a bright clear sunny day, what more could you ask for.
We had a chance to examine the engines close up after their crewmen had stopped off at a pub for a pint and a bit of lunch. There were three traction engines parked at the pub and a classic car as well! The engines were all of different sizes, large, small and medium. Eventhough they all have their own unique charm, the most spectacular of the three was probably the large showman engine, with its full top, hanging light bulbs and ornate paint job.
Paul’s own engine parked by the side of motorway, was also a wonder to behold, a former farm engine from Ireland, Paul’s engine had its own coal track and wooden gypsy style caravan in tow. An amazing days outing, to end an amazing weekends activity, of site seeing, hiking along the wall and photographing Angels about the bridge, up North in Newcastle and the Yorkshire dales in steam.
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