Under the wings of an angel

The countryside around here is spectacular.  We had a year-group trip to Barnard Castle, where the Tees river valley is beautiful. (I have to admit I did not see too much of it as I was discussing Anglo-Saxon history with Phil, a former mediaeval historian!) Then on Saturday Tom and I went to Hadrian’s Wall, starting at Housesteads Fort – which has large and extensive remains – and then walking alongside of the wall for a couple of miles to the east. The

The Angel of the North

Wall here is at its most impressive, rising along with the Whin Sill – a geological welt that marks the collision of two microplates, roughly correponding to England and Scotland, more than 150 million years ago. Walking with Tom can be humbling. As we came to a patch of boggy terrain,  at 6ft8 he strode across. I, well, splashed.

On the way back we drove past the Angel of the North, which necessitated a change of plans to see it more closely. It’s truly impressive!

I’ve started my parish placement. It’s at a church in Haughton-le-Skerne, on the north-east edge of Darlington: the area used to be a village in its own right before being absorbed by the growth of the city. The vicar, David Bryan, has a lively and engaging style, and we have already enjoyed some good, intelligent conversations! Economically the city is deprived: it grew in the 19th century when it became a hub for coal being transported from the West Durham coalfields to the port at Stockton-on-Tees – hence the reason for the world’s first commercial railway from Darlington to Stockton. As the demand for rail transport declined, so to did Darlington and its factories. Much of this I learned at the Darlington railway museum – a little gem, a wonderful blend of social history and trains!

Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian’s Wall

6 thoughts on “Under the wings of an angel

  1. hey rich…glad u settled in so quickly and made friends….jammy about the room hey…..hadrians wall looks fab…i didnt realise it was so in tact still… its good to hear what ur up to and ur enjoyin urself. do u have to wear a dog collar for ur placement….

    lots love


    • Fortunately no! Actually I don’t get a dog collar anyway until I become a vicar but David is quite relaxed about what I wear. It’s a good thing I have a new suit I can actually wear, though!

      There is an amazing amount of Roman ruins in and around the Wall, and in remarkably good condition; we just looked at the one small part of it.

    • Actually the classes started this week – I didn’t mention that because I’m trying to keep these blog posts short enough to be worth reading! They’re great classes though. Two started today: “The history and theology of the charismatic movement” and “Authority in the Anglican church”, both of which are great topics and which I’m already excited about.

  2. I’ve been here a year longer than you and you already know more than I do…. Although the fact that your introduction to Darlington included the train museum and mine involved a teenager showing me round the pubs probably says something about the reason for the difference!

    • Hey Anthea – definitely a bit of luck that the train museum was much more interesting than I expected! It’s an absolute gem and deserves more publicity than it seems to get. Mind you, a tour of the local pubs is no bad thing either!

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