|When you look at the map, it's easy to think that it should be possible to get here from the north side of the river Coquet. There's a nice dotted green line crossing the river, just to the west of the cliff. Do not be fooled. This may be a suitable fording place if the river is exceptionally low, but when I visited, the water came up to me waist and the current was strong enough to cause slight concern.
Still, it was worth it, as this is a unique collection of carvings.
There's just enough room to scramble along the edge of the river below the cliff, but the ground is quite sandy and loose, and the overhangs mean that quite a bit of ducking and dodging is mandatory, so a hard hat may be another thing to add to the list of required kit.
The panels are spread along the cliff, at various heights. It's worth checking the Beckensall archive link to get an idea of what's there, but as yet, no-one has come up with a diagram of exactly where each panel is on the cliff. This isn't surprising, as it's a very 3-D surface, and making a decent diagram would be quite tricky. Besides which only nut-cases* are likely to actually go visit such an inaccessible panel of faint carvings, so there wouldn't be much call for such a diagram.
The site has a quite powerful atmosphere, especially when you're sitting hiding from the rain under the overhangs of the rockshelter. Perfect opportunity for pondering the whys and wherefores of the unusual motifs. They're made all the more inscrutable by the lack of any other prehistoric remains in the vicinity, though Beckensall reports that years ago, it was said that there were possible burial mounds nearby.
One thing that occured to me on the way back to Warkworth, is that to a bod travelling up the Coquet from the sea, the hill directly above Jack Rock is the first one which affords a view of the omni-present Simonside. It also seems that the present level of the river is unlikely to have been the same when the carvings were made, but why this should be of any significance is difficult to pin down, other than vague thoughts of why some motifs are 'up-a-height', whilst others are 'way-doon-below'.
* By which I mean, err, 'Dedicated Rock Art Enthusiasts'
Posted by Hob
21st April 2005ce