'Agree With Everything - Deny Nothing - Embellish All

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Winter On The High Frontier

To the Red City to see my accountant and, being overcome with inspissate gloom thereafter, decided to take the afternoon off rather than return to work. So I drove up to Birdoswald on a warm January day and explored part of the High Frontier. Birdoswald Fort's now thoroughly heritagised, but on winter days you still get a feeling of the bleakness, exposure and sheer extremity of a place that once was the uttermost utter. Depending on which semi-superseded scholars you choose to believe, Birdoswald's name used to be Camboglanna, the Crooked Glen, which goes to Camlann, a name with meanings well outside the consensus of history. So the High Frontier's a place with echoes of myth and legend as well as secret histories and contentious heritage. I walked along the wall and looked over the horizon towards Spadeadam, site of Britain's independent ICBM building in the Cold War. The moors to the north are quite desolate, a beautiful, empty quarter of Britain, open country and deep forest miles from any road. Paradoxically, yesterday this unmanned desolation lifted my spirits and I returned to West Cumbria restored.

8 Comments:

Blogger The Blind-Winger Jones said...

That's what I love about Northern England - the opportunity to find real space and wilderness.

Cheers for the link - you've been reinstated to my blog link after I lost all of my links on Friday.

6/1/06 4:34 pm  
Blogger Nick said...

Martyn - thanks in turn for the link & glad you're sorted out.
And yes - the wildness of the debatable lands really is the best-kept secret in England (if they're really in England at all . . .)

6/1/06 11:51 pm  
Anonymous Peter said...

"Unmanned desolation" is a wonderful prhase. Envy.

7/1/06 11:43 am  
Blogger Nick said...

Too kind, too kind . . .

7/1/06 1:35 pm  
Anonymous eric bloodaxe said...

There is a fort up on a pass in the Lake district, which I always thought must have been very bleak in the winter.

7/1/06 9:05 pm  
Blogger boudica of suburbia said...

Took me back to childhood holidays spent on windswept exmoor, sheltering under the few knarled trees, poking dead sheep with a stick, watching the hunt, a scarlet flash, race across the heather. Lovely.

If I could have one wish (well perhaps one of many, invisibility being one)I would want to be completely alone, perhaps in a desert for about half an hour (usually as long as I can go without needing to talk) just so that I could scream as loud as I can and not have to worry about unleashing worried firemen or the like. Although I'm not objecting!

Sorry I'm not sure what my point is. A few pints and a pub quiz do this to me.

xxB

10/1/06 12:04 am  
Blogger RenMan said...

eric- the fort is on Hardknott. I've always stood there looking down towards Ravenglass and mused //' what the hell must the average Roman soldier have thought to have been stationed here' I hardly think Nick's High Frontier lifting of spirits would have come to mind. What's the latin for why me? I love the place though it's one of the other hidden spots.

10/1/06 6:24 am  
Anonymous Eric Bloodaxe said...

Yes of course, my memory banks are not always accessible now. I did wonder if it was a punishment detail, much like one of Kipling's tales

16/1/06 11:35 pm  

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