Wall Mile 69

Wall Mile 69 [HB 348]

The curtain wall finally quits the riverside (but keeps to the high ground) at the northern end of Kirkandrews village, its line being reflected in property boundaries through the village.

The Wall at Kirkandrews

The Wall at Kirkandrews from the air, looking south

The Trail leaves it and drops down to the floodplain of the Eden, at the base of the scarp, and then after a while climbs back up again, rejoining the line of the curtain wall near the eastern end of the village. We are led along the line of the Wall, trying to ignore an architectural eyesore off to our right (how did that get planning permission in a World Heritage Site?) and then down to the delightfully named Sourmilk Bridge, so good they just had to name a milecastle after it. Crossing the bridge, which is just east of one possible site for Milecastle 69, the path follows a 50° change in course from south-east to slightly north of east and ascends to another possible site for the milecastle.

Altar recording military action

Altar recording military action ‘across the Wall’.

Milecastle 69 (Sourmilk Bridge) [HB 348; haiku]

You will have gathered that the site of Milecastle 69 has not been located as yet, despite geophysical surveys in two possible locations (one in 1998 next to the bridge and the other in 2000 at the top of the next rise). A trial trench in 2000 also failed to find it.

A rather interesting inscription comes from nearby, recording successful military action under the magnificently named legate of legio VI Victrix, L. Iunius Victorinus Flavius Caelianus. It probably dates to the latter part of the 2nd century AD, after the return from the Antonine Wall, and significantly includes the phrase ‘trans Vallum’ – ‘across the Wall’. We shall return to what the Romans called the Wall in a while.