Saturday, 24 May 2008

Off Topic #2 - Roman Holiday

We’ve just come back from a trip to Cumbria where one of the highlights for me was a white-knuckle car ride through Hardknott Pass (1 in 3 slope) down to the ruins of Hardknott Roman Fort.

Built during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian, the ruins are well preserved - the walls in places are 8 foot high being far more impressive than the remains of Hadrian’s Wall built at the same time. They cover a surprisingly large area strategically situated on top of a 2,000-foot high hill with spectacular views across the valleys on either side.

The fort was apparently built and manned by a Cohort of Dalmatians all the way from Croatia. They must have felt that they had been posted to the edge of the world stuck in such a barren and desolate landscape. Their job was to subdue the local tribes and protect the route of the road from Ravensglass on the coast to Ambleside inland.

The setting is stunning and I can’t recommend the place highly enough for any history buff passing through the Lake District. Other family members will enjoy the spectacular scenery and bored teenagers could be enticed with promises of an exciting death defying drive through Hardknott Pass – surely better than Alton Towers?

If approaching from the east via the pass I recommend you drive a 4x4 unless you’re a trained rally driver or perhaps just hire a helicopter.

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