Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hendo ( Your Passionate Guide to the North Country

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hendo ( Your Passionate Guide to the North Country

Article excerpt

Byline: The Journal's environment editor, a man who knows his mimulus from his Michaelmas daisy.

Irony sometimes comes gift-wrapped. After years of enduring Tony Henderson's (that's Hendo's) annual "bah, humbug" downer on the festive season, here he is producing the perfect Christmas present.

You will deduce that My Country Volume II follows My Country Volume I. It is another collection of his weekly articles in The Journal, each guiding us around a beautiful ( and sometimes little appreciated ( North-East attraction.

Some are clearly man-made, such as Finchale Abbey and Washington Old Hall; others, like the Breamish Valley and Upper Coquetdale, stunningly portrayed on the cover of the book, owe more to nature.

But the underlying theme is that while this might be 'my country' (Hendo's, yours and mine), we are merely its temporary custodians. In the book you will be acquainted with some of those who helped to shape it and meet those who devote their lives to ensuring it is passed on to future generations in good nick.

There's archaeologist Tony Wilmott who for nine years conducted excavations at Birdoswald on Hadrian's Wall, painstakingly uncovering its secrets and shedding light on centuries of occupation ( even after the conquering Romans, who constructed the fort, had left.

As Hendo says, it is worth making the effort to get to Birdoswald, reached by turning off the A69 via Greenhead and Gilsland, for the views alone. But the archaeologists' finds are a poignant link across the centuries.

Fascinated with the human details, Hendo tells the story of the Dacians (from what we now call Romania) who resisted the Romans so fiercely that they were later recruited by the Emperor Trajan as auxiliary soldiers. A cohort of them ( lucky things ( was sent to work on the building of Hadrian's Wall. They and their descendants stayed for 200 years and it must be the case that Dacian blood, though now much diluted, courses through some North-East veins. …

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