Although Hadrian’s Wall is the best known of the Park’s historical treasures, there are other sites that hint at the shape of an older, pre-Roman society. In the northern half of the Park, on the summits of lonely Cheviot hills, are the remains of around fifty Iron Age hillforts.
Moving on from Craster the next landmark of note is the jagged ruin of Dunstanburgh Castle, standing on a spur of land that juts out into the North Sea. The castle was built in response to a military threat from Scotland, a theme that will become familiar as the border draws nearer.
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne off the coast of Northumberland is invaded on a regular basis during the summer months. At low tide the sea parts to reveal a road across to the island. Until the water returns, traffic streams to and fro across the causeway bringing visitors eager to see the religious sites, such as the Priory, for which the island is renowned.
As Rabbie Burns truthfully wrote: ‘The best-laid plans o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley’. Well I don’t know about you, but my plans quite often gang aft a-gley. And it’s generally the weather that sticks a metaphorical spanner into the works. It’s either raining when it’s not supposed to or the sky is completely empty of cloud and so lacks drama. What’s a man (or a mouse) to do?
Each season has its own rewards and challenges. The benefits of winter are late-morning starts (a luxury for a landscape photographer!), the excitement of snow and ice, and the thought of returning home to a hot bath, a bowl of soup and the satisfaction of a job well done. The drawback is a world with a subdued colour palette of blues and browns. Apart from people dressed in winter woollens there are very few vibrant reds or purples in a typical winter landscape.