So here we are, the first blog post of RAMP (or Rock Art Mobile Project). For me, the project started just over a week ago and I’m pleased to report that not only have I seen my first rock art in the wild, but that it was a glorious sunny day (something I am assured is not always the case when hunting for cup and ring markings). See below for proof!
Kate (a project team member) took me to Wooler where we had a look at the fabulous Cheviot Centre. We plan on running project workshops there in September, and everyone was very helpful. Fingers crossed we managed to recruit a volunteer for the workshop there too! After that we went to see the reconstructed wooden henge at Maelmin. Kate told me (I’m a total archaeological dunce btw) that henges are circular enclosures with banks and ditches, without always having wooden or stone posts. Then it was off to see the magical Roughting Linn, my first real example of rock art. I was glad that Kate was with me, I’m sure I would never have found any of these places by myself, and it was great having an expert on hand to answer all my questions!
After visiting Roughting Linn we headed off to Wooler Golf Club and a steady climb to find Dodlaw. It took us a little while to find it, but thanks to a friendly golfer we were still there. It was a fantastic location, you can see for miles from there, and sitting beside the rock art in the sparkling sunshine was beautiful. I even managed to tweet about it (you can follow us on Twitter).
Our final rock art destination of the day was Weetwood moor. Again, I’m glad Kate was with me, I loved seeing and hearing about the cobblestone cairn, but with the bracken and thistles growing tall, I would never have noticed it if Kate hadn’t shown me. It was amazing how close all the examples of rock art were to each other. And once again, being there in the sunshine, with open views to the rolling countryside all around, it was humbling to think of the antiquity of the carvings in this isolated spot.
We finally dragged ourselves away from the peace of Weetwood and made it back to the Newcastle traffic. I can’t wait to go out on site again and explore our other planned project site, Lordenshaws, just outside Rothbury.