Skulls And Seasons

I saw this whilst away in the Lake District this weekend – how metal?  The sheep’s skull was nailed to a replica stone-age turf-roofed hut by the Youth Hostel in Eskdale.  As one chum has already pointed out to me, we were lucky to make it out alive and not be butchered by the forgotten race of ancients we had unwittingly stumbled upon.  I was, and am still, particularly taken by the moss growing on the horns.

Moss!! Moss!!
Moss!! Moss!!

Eskdale is an incredible valley, we’d not been there before tucked away from the busier end of the Lake District and accessible through means of the Wrynose Pass – which was the scariest, steepest piece of road Mrs 1537 had ever driven on*, which in turn served as an appetizer for the Hardknott Pass … Just picture a twisty, turning ribbon of road painted over the top of a mountain, scarcely wide enough for one car, provided with the occasional passing place for traffic coming the other way, with a genuinely precipitous drop constantly on one side.  Eek!

Looking back up at the pass - see car in foreground for scale
Looking back up at the pass – see car in foreground for scale

We lived, but it was a hairy experience.  the best bit is when you drop down the other side into Eskdale and find yourself right next to the remains of a full-on Roman fortress.  The fortress at Hardknott was only marginally smaller than the ones we’d explored on Hadrian’s Wall a couple of years back.  To see the intricately planned buildings, including the bath house with, hot pool, cold plunge pool and (effectively) a sauna erected by a regiment from modern-day Croatia** in AD137 (1877 years ago!!) is to be humbled and to wonder at the thoughts of these men constructing their creature comforts in a hostile, inhospitable territory so far from their homelands and civilisation.  They were so far advanced as to be, effectively, aliens to the primitive locals at the time.

Hardknott 04

Anyway, much hearty walking, eating and drinking was to be had for all of us amongst some beautiful, rugged scenery and revelling in the sheer beauty of Autumn.  Apart from a man on a bike passing us in pitch darkness when we took the kids out star-gazing (by way of the pub) singing ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ we barely heard any music, not even listening to the car stereo all weekend – too busy looking, grokking the scenery and the season for that.  Although on Saturday night I did listen to most of Z Visions of Dune in the dark as I was dropping off to sleep, as recommended by a trusted friend and, fabulous not-quite soundtrack album that it is, it fitted perfectly.

Hardknott 03

Hardknott 02

Did I mention we made it out alive yet?

455 Down (Still)

*she’s the go-to balls of steel driver in our household, I just shriek and faint like a particularly drippy Austen heroine when placed under driving-related stress.  And it was her birthday.

**then called Dalmatians.

18 thoughts on “Skulls And Seasons

    1. Thank you (on her behalf, obvs*).

      Awesome indeed, full of quite belligerent sheep too. The martial history of the place seemed to have rubbed off on them.

      *I’m so down with the kids, it hurts!

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  1. Hail. I will rate all the photos here in terms of their BlackMetalosity

    Photo 1: 666/10
    Photo 2: 1.5/10 just for the slight ruggedness and autumn leaves (Pete Steele would have approved of those)
    Photo 3: 7/10 War! Walls! Romans! Vikings! Points deducted for the safety sign. Safety is not Krieg.
    Photo 4: 8.5/10 Still a little too sunny but in general this could have made a Bathory album cover with a bit of photoshop to make it look more like a grim permafrost
    Photo 5: -10/10 Great Odin’s Raven! Berries?!

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  2. Great place. Nice photos too.I especially like the album cover shot of dripping berries, probably from the album ‘flick the berries’ by some obscure folk metal band.

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    1. Thank you very much. I may have done a small wee laughing at ‘Flick The Berries’ too.

      I like the Lakes because once you get away from the tourist traps, it’s wild and not very sanitised like the Cotswolds. Strange pagan things go on at night, certain villages don’t return visitors and the eldritch king sleeps still, under the crag.

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  3. How could you listen to the radio with death waiting at every dangerous, winding turn? I believe I got a few gray hairs just imagining that drive. Driving in the Rockies was bad enough.

    Still though, it looks quite stunning. Visions Of Dune had to have been quite nice to fall asleep to out there. Your holidays seem quite wonderful.

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    1. That’s true, imagine the last thing you ever heard was Beat It, or Waterloo? St Peter would make you answer for that at the pearly gates.

      Holidays are, mostly, lots of fun. We just like being outside. I should point out that I edit out all the bickering, moaning, navigation disagreements and all round grumpiness from my re telling.

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    1. Thank you, that’s very kind – although I think my great legs are my very best feature!

      You just weren’t invaded enough in your history, all our best monuments were created by invaders/as defences against invaders/as a means of subjugating a population. I’m big on old stuff.

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      1. Well, the Americans did come and burn down our parliament buildings in Toronto (York) during the War of 1812. But we got ’em back by burning Washington in 1814. So we got bragging rights, not too many nations can say they burned Washington.

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