Sunday, 14 February 2010

Life Work The Universe...... The Imprint of Rome

It seemed a shame to pass up the unseasonably warm weather today. We broke out the Ordnance Survey maps - packed up the Freelander - and drove up to Raedykes Roman Marching Camp.

Raedykes Roman Camp
Looking SE to Stonehaven

We took the Freelander off road and as close as we could but walked up the final couple of hundred yards to the the site of the camp. The view above was taken from the approxinate position of where the Praetorium would stand.

But something bothers us. There is a huge similarity in position to the Cathertuns, major hillforts, several miles south whihc have a view clear over Montrose basin. Was Raedykes actually a Caledonian hill fort? Was it taken by the Romans and modified in a fit of Imperial shock and awe?

On the way back we visited the Cairnbegs at the foot of Strathfinella. You often see Strathfinella in my photos as it fills the view from our rear windows. The lower slopes are thought to be a strong candidate for the location of Agricola's victory at Mons Graupius. In my admittedly non-academic opinion, it has more credibility than the much cited Bennachie. But I think Irvine-Fortescue's argument in The Bonnet Lairds, that the site of the battle lies in a break in the hills on the road to Stonehaven - possibly Kempstone Hill is more likely - if indeed the battle actually took place in Aberdeenshire.

Summer view of Strathfinella

It's not impossible to imagine the Caledonian battleline on the lower slopes with the Romans formed up close to the far treeline which follows the ancient drover's road.


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