Land of the silver birch

The silver birch tree in the back garden was the tallest tree in the immediate area and it was quite nice to be able to see when coming home on the train. However, it was also right next to the house so to reduce the risk of roots getting into the foundations or branches damaging the roof it needed to be cut back.

Rear aspect of silver birch before crown reduction

Rear aspect of silver birch after crown reduction

Front aspect of silver birch before crown reduction

Front aspect of silver birch after crown reduction

It’s a bit more of a reduction than was planned but it was dictated by the growing points of the tree.  The leader has now been taken back down below the level of the rest of the crown so as it regrows it should broaden out rather than head straight upwards again.

The day before it was cut I made a point of climbing it, as a boy I knew all the routes up the tree at the bottom of our garden so I owed it to my younger self to make my way up this one.  It was fairly easy and the view from the top was well worth it.

View from the top of the silver birch before pruning

At this point I’m standing about where the new top of the tree is.

New year Hadrian’s Wall walk

Coming out of Gilsland there is a section of Hadrian’s Wall that was built as “narrow wall” (eight Roman feet wide) on top of “broad wall” (ten Roman feet wide).  As the narrow wall is later in date, this indicates that the foundations were built first and the main wall was built afterwards.

Hadrian's Wall at Gilsland

Further on there is a milecastle.

Milecastle at Gilsland

The wings of the milecastle that join into the wall are also built as broad wall and are stepped in to meet the inner face of the narrow wall.  This indicates that the mile castles were built independently and before the main wall.

Milecastle at Gilsland

Further down there is the remains of a bridge abutment. This was significantly modified twice throughout its life as it was presumably damaged by by the river.  To relieve pressure on the structure sluices were put into the wall on the first rebuilding.

Roman bridge relief sluice at Gilsland

As these seemingly didn’t prove sufficient they were widened when it was modified for the second time.

Roman bridge relief sluice at Gilsland

Evie anti-torpedo netting

Piled up at the back of the beach at the Sands of Evie is a section of anti-torpedo netting.  This is made up of interlocking rings of thick gauge galvanised wire, somewhat like chain mail.

Anti-torpedo netting on Evie beach

Where it’s above the high water mark it’s still in good condition but where it’s regularly covered by the salt water it’s got a fair amount of surface rust.

Anti-torpedo netting on Evie beach

The steel hawser that ran across the top is still clearly visible as are a number of joints with shackles attached, I assume this is where the floatation boys were attached.

Anti-torpedo netting on Evie beach Anti-torpedo netting on Evie beach