|The horde who sacked Yeavering Bell, the tribal palace of the ancient Northumbrian Kings, must have descended from the Cheviots when they attacked. By the time I reached the crumbling fortifications, I couldn't have lifted a sword, much less swing one.That's how steep the climb from the valley floor had been. I stood and caught my breath, and as my pulse began to slow, I turned round and took in the beautiful view.
Somewhere to the North East was Duddo stone circle, but I couldn't make it out. Standing on the peak of Yeavering Bell I had gained 240 metres of height since breakfast at Duddo. I was ready for my Lunch.
The day had started at eight when I packed my bag, and waited for Tom, my mate. He drove and I read maps on the way to Duddo. At Duddo village, we left the car and walked out across the open country. The circle was visible from some distance, looking like rotten teeth pointing up to the sky.
It was a typical January day, gray clouds spitting mean rain at the hills. We walked over a farmer's field, a strange feeling for me; I would have felt better on a footpath, yet I could see no other way to approach the stones. Once among the stones I felt better and sat to enjoy the moment.
Tom, on the other hand, spent ten minutes walking around the circle, on the field itself, before he came inside. As I enjoyed the rest, Tom rummaged in his bag and produced a miniature of Grouse, that he'd brought for me. Perfect.
We could see Yeavering Bell, and felt the call to leave, much too soon for Duddo. We agreed that we'd be back, and so we left. Back at the car, we ate a sandwich, and had some coffee, then we drove to Yeavering, a row of cottages under Yeavering Bell.
Again we left the car, but this time the path was pitched more steeply, and soon I was breathing hard. The path was an old drovers road, straight up into the Cheviots, marked all the way with massive boulders.
We crossed a stream bed and the path got steeper. From here we could see the old walls, and then we thought we'd seen people at the top, but as we got closer we saw that it was the wild goats of the Cheviot Hills, which neither of us had seen before.
When the Northumbrians were defeated at Yeavering, they moved across the valley to Gefrin, 'the place of the goats'. Yeavering sounds like a variant of Gefrin, so I guess the wild goats were at home.
They had disappeared into thin air by the time we arrived at the top, and we ate lunch together in the solitude, if you know what I mean.
Posted by NorthumbrianDawn
29th December 2001ce