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Sunday, 7 November 2010

Looking for Roman Altars at Bowes

dawg in heather
My 1:25k map of the Northern Yorkshire Dales announces proudly – in the appropriate ROMAN lettering, the presence of Roman altars in a little gill on Gilmonby Moor, just South of Bowes.
Actually, this is in County Durham.
Anyway, the point is, I thought I’d take a look. I also though I’d take the dog.
Could we find any Roman Altars?
Not as such.
What we did find was some very deep heather and some bridleways that end suddenly at the County boundary (there’s a rabbit off, here…)
After not finding the Roman Altars, we plodged up the soggy moor and onto a wide and flat and soppy plain. Here we crossed into North Yorkshire and, with increasingly damp socks and trench paw, we dodderred onto the summit of Cleasby Hill – 511 metres and very flat on the top.
dawg breath
After this we paddled back over the County Boundary, avoiding the border guards and bagged the little drumlin-like lump of Citron Seat.
summit of cleasby hill (nearly anyway)

We were soon back in Bowes, very damp about the feet. Its rough stuff, this, but the sense of space is fantastic, and just the thing for the treatment of agoraphobia and the fear of smelly socks. 
It was very cold today – in one of the photo’s you can see Bruno’s breath. Its lucky you can only see it. Don’t tell him I mentioned this, eh?
probably not an altar
Bowes, by the way, is a little village set out in the style of a medieval town with a castle at the top of the hill. This was built by somebody called Norman Keep, apparently, and is built inside the ramparts of the Roman Fort Lavatrae (snigger).
There’s also Dotheboys hall in the village, famed by Dave Dickens who wrote about it. I didn’t take a picture of it cos it had gone dark and I was more interested in scoffing my Boost bar.
10 Miles and 1400 feet of uphill through outrageously deep heather and stinking bogs full of freezing black water.
Enjoyable Pennine walking.
I met three backpackers and gave them the weather forecast – an Atlantic storm with force 8/9 gales. They were very grateful and threw socks and bits of peat at me….
cleasby hill


The Odyssee said...

Oh dear, all that effort and not an Alter in site. Maybe they had been sacrificed! Or pinched by the Yorkshire hordes.
Norman Keep, i like it.

Beautiful day to be out though.

Nice verification word as well. “trigoted” Throat cut at the alter maybe? quite appropriate.

Mike Knipe said...

Trigoted - throat cut three times - very iron age sacrificial....
Local Roman gods were Sylvanus (woodland), Fortune (good luck) and Conventina - wells, spas, water...
Sylvanus and Conventina are my main suspects for altars in a gill...
But I've no idea, obviously.

Brian Cowling said...

The Bowes Museum may have grabbed those altars. I note that they have two from the Scargill Moor area.

Here's one of them:

I hope that they are putting them to good use.


Mike Knipe said...

Well, Brian, what can I say - I should have been searching for shrines. Bowes Museum does have altars and I think I found the site of one of the shrines.
An internet search reveals the name of the soldiers who dedicated the altars - to a local celtic deity and Sylvanus, his military unit, and his home town in Alpine Northern Italy.
I must learn to research these things before putting the boots on.
No wonder superdawg was doing all that "tutting" I'll have to go and have a look in the Bowes Museum...