meghanb
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meghanb
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Joined: 2:48 AM - Feb 25, 2013

8:23 AM - Mar 06, 2013 #11

Wow, thanks everyone! Mum and I are still discussing the different possibilities for me getting there, but this is definitely incredibly helpful.

As another way of getting from Newcastle to the site, is taking a taxi/splitting the taxi fare with someone else another possibility? (it would the easiest, because it'd take me right from point A to point B). Is it really expensive, or just a bit more expensive than the other ways of getting there?

Also, Badger, for gear I think I've pretty well got what I need from reading past posts on gear recommendations, but if there's anything you or anyone else would suggest specifically for the April weather at the site, that'd be great!
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Badger
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11:42 AM - Mar 06, 2013 #12

A taxi seems rather....unadventurous. But not entirely impractical. If you are not arriving at a time where catching the AD122 in Newcastle works, you are looking at some combination of train/bus/walking. The advice to buy train tix ahead of time is quite sound...but not always possible with international travel. Flights get delayed for instance. One year my brother and I had to dodge that ##### Icelandic volcano!

So the cost of a taxi might not be much more than the cost of metro ticket + train to Hexham + AD122 bus. I inquired a couple of years ago about taxi from site to Newcastle airport and seem to recall 30 to 35 pounds. Not cheap but see above, and it would land you on the doorstep of the Hedley. Not sure if the price is the same going the other way, local cab companies may have different pricing than Newcastle.

As to gear, or "kit", since you should start speaking proper English....watch the weather forecasts and plan for a chill. Not that Canadians are much bothered by that. What part of Canada are you from? We have had quite a bunch from Edmondton in recent years...

Layers, lots of layers. The sun comes and goes, showers can be on and off.

My best tip is a comfy pair of hiking boots, then add a pair of rubber overshoes you can pull on and off on site. Our local farm supply store has some nice low ones that just cover the lower 3/4 of the hiking boot. Much lighter pack than wellies, which seem to be the gold standard.

Cheers

Badger
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Justin-T
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3:37 PM - Mar 06, 2013 #13

I was curious to know the rate for a taxi, because I'll be making the same journey at the end of June. There are online estimators, and it looks like the taxi rates are capped, so they should be reasonably accurate. I picked yourtaximeter.com and put in the postcodes for Newcastle airport and the Hedley, it came up with a fare of 60 quid (I guessed an arrival date and travel of Sat Mar 30th in the morning), plus 20p per 40 seconds. The travel time is supposed to be 45-50 mins according to Google maps distance calculator, so that would be an extra 15 quid (there are also "soiling fees" mentioned as possible extras, but you will be nice and clean on arrival :D ). Grand total of 75 GBP.

I've also done the rail/AD122 route and its truly not very hard. I just ran some dates through nationalrail.co.uk and you can get an Anytime Day Single (ie: not for a specific train on that day, so no worries if the flight is delayed a bit) from the Airport to Hexham (no changes of train needed) for 6 quid, 12 quid round-trip (called a "Return" ticket in the UK). The AD122 bus was about 5 or 6 pounds when I took it from Vindolanda back to Hexham last summer, will probably be about the same, maybe a pound more this year. Grand total of about 12-13 GBP.

So, quite a significant difference in cost. Also, I'm not sure what train & bus service is like in Canada, but people in Europe are much more used to using public transport to get around, and you'll find this bus is very clean, driven by friendly drivers and the trains are pretty good too and on time. I agree with Badger that the cab is less adventurous, but its really not that adventurous to do this specific train/bus combination. It would of course take longer to do the train/bus option (I'd guestimate 3 or 4 hours compared to 1hr via cab? That train runs every 30 mins or so, AD122 bus leaves Hexham every 60-90 mins), but you'll save a bundle and get some good cultural exposure at the same time. B)
Last edited by Justin-T on 4:03 PM - Mar 06, 2013, edited 9 times in total.
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Badger
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11:46 PM - Mar 06, 2013 #14

Justin

You are probably correct. The amount I was recalling was from Vindo to the airport....and was given to me by the redoubtable Fiona who works at the Trust. She likely has a cordial relationship with the local cabbies. The only time I recall taking a cab over there was once when my brother and I missed the AD122 we needed to get back. We cabbed to Hexham and I recall it was 16 or 18 pounds.

I like the train option myself, but have done it a few times too jet lagged to appreciate the scenery!

Walking from Bardon Mills probably not a great plan. I pack light and even I would not fancy an uphill slog with all my stuff.....

Badger

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Justin-T
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12:05 AM - Mar 07, 2013 #15

Tim - The 75 quid may not be right, it was from one online source i found by a quick google.

Meghan - if you are seriously considering the cab option, I would call a taxi company based in Newcastle and ask them for a quote. You could even take the easy/expensive route on arrival, then the adventurous/cheap route on the return...
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meghanb
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3:14 AM - Mar 20, 2013 #16

Okay...I now know my flight is supposed to arrive in Newcastle at 10:30 on Sunday morning (Mar 31), so I guess the bus option directly from Newcastle is not possible...

So if I've understood this all correctly, it sounds like my best option is to take the (Carlisle) train to Hexham, then get one of the afternoon runs of the AD122 bus directly to Hedley. Correct?

If so, I'll go online to see if I can buy an Anytime Day train ticket in advance (maybe can print it here at home so that I won't have to worry about the ticket machines). I need to clarify something though...I can get this train right at the airport? (I thought I had to get from the airport to MetroCenter first, and then get a train from Metro to Hexham...)
Also, you've said that you pay for the AD122 bus when you board - do you happen to know whether this must be exact change, or will they make change, if needed?

Thanks again!
(oh - in response to the question about where I'm from in Canada, I'm from a rather small village in Ontario!)

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Badger
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4:46 AM - Mar 20, 2013 #17

Meghan

You have it pretty much figured out.

From the airport you take the Metro line to Newcastle Central station. Metro runs pretty often, every 15 to 20 min if I recall rightly.

At Newcastle Central you take a train west, towards Carlisle. Buy a ticket for Hexham. If you can buy ahead it is cheaper, but seems a bother. Get off train at Hexham. Rather nice little market town, worth a stroll if you are not overly burdened or too tired. There is a big Tesco store nearby if you need anything.

The AD 122 bus stops at the train station but I find it a nicer wait at the other stop, Hexam tourism center. Just a couple hundred yards away. But your choice. The drivers often buzz right by the Hexham train station but stop a while at the Visitors Center.

AD122 bus drivers will make change. Be sure to specify Vindolanda. The East and West bound buses all look the same to me and come in on the same road.

This drops you in the Vindolanda car park on the west end of the site. Best to go to the ticket area and say you are an excavator. Then you can walk through the site to the far end where the Hedley is. Or, if you prefer, there is a road that runs along the north side of the site. Does not look like much but it is the Roman Stanegate road! Takes you right to the Hedley.

Enjoy! Hope it warms up.

Badger

oh, to clarify something. The Metro line runs from the airport to the central train station. It goes some other places too. You do not want to go to the Metro Center. If I recall that is a shopping center on the west side of Newcastle. You will go through it on the train to Hexham.
Last edited by Badger on 4:50 AM - Mar 20, 2013, edited 2 times in total.
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Justin-T
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1:43 PM - Mar 20, 2013 #18

Meghan, not much to add to Badger's post.

One potential issue is using a credit card in the ticket machine itself. In the UK (and most of Europe I believe) they have a chip in them matched to a PIN number. US (and therefore, possibly Canadian) cards don't have one. To pick up your tickets that you've bought beforehand online you have to put the same card into the machine, but if it doesn't have a chip it will reject it. Never fear though, you just go to a ticket window and the human being there will be able to swipe your card and hand you the tickets.

As far as getting change, I'm sure the driver will have some, but won't be pleased if you present them a large denomination bill - so I'd say a 20 pound note might be OK, but a 50 or 100 might be declined...!

The bus stop at Hexham station I've used a couple of times without problem, just make sure you are standing at the right stop. If you're worried about that part we can mark up a satellite image with big red crosses for the stop at the station and Visitor Centre...

The Newcastle-Vindolanda trip is beautiful, and will be a nice introduction to Britain, hopefully you won't be feeling so jet-lagged you can actually enjoy the view!
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Badger
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1:59 PM - Mar 20, 2013 #19

Justin-T

The credit card chip thing is sort of hit and miss. I have had a few glitches and so carry two different cards. They do have chips and being mindful of such things, I carry them in scanner-proof foil pockets. My wife makes vague allusions to my next purchase being some sort of foil covered hat to keep the Martian spy helicopters from reading my thoughts!

But to get a little closer to a useful topic, if you are traveling far afield be sure to carry a back up credit card option, to not lose cards or passport, and to let your credit card company know approximately when and where you will be. Makes life so much easier.

Badger

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Justin-T
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4:15 PM - Mar 20, 2013 #20

The chip&PIN thing can be annoying, but I've found on several recent trips to the UK that even without one you can still use it everywhere, but you may need to help/remind the person in the shop that they will need to swipe the card.

And, I want to underline Badger's comment about phoning your credit card company before you leave (number on back of your card) and telling them when you'll be in the UK, otherwise it will probably be rejected. No fun when that happens...!
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