11/05/2016 - In an area of many hillforts, if you are looking for one with good views they don't come much better than this. Starting from the village of Morebattle, we took the St Cuthbert's Way until just after Grubbit Law then followed the gentle incline round to Hownam Law. A fine walk that didn't take as long as it first looked from the bottom. The summit is an ideal place for a fort. With its impressive 360 view, no one's sneaking up on you here. Not really much walls to look at, best maybe on the south side. There is an enclosure to the east and two probably artificial ponds on the level ground north of the top. The trigpoint sits on a grassed over cairn. Great place for a day trip. We sat for a good while eating our sandwiches in the sun and murdering the theme tune to Grange Hill after noticing the name of the top just to the west on the OS map. I liked this one.
I'm not posting this as fieldnotes as I didn't actually get to the top. However, the Hownam Law merits a mention, not as much because of the IA fort, as because of the striking nature of the hill upon which the fort sits.
When approached from the north, it looks quite unremarkable, yet when approached from the south, it looks totally forbidding and conspicuous. The aspect it presents from The Shearers stone row suggests it may have been significant in the decision to place The Shearers where they are.
From a distance, no earthworks can be seen, but a stone wall is clearly visible, running the entir breadth of the southern side. If there are earthworks surrounding the plateau on the summit, they must be some of the most extensive in the borders. But it would make a darn good fort, even without earthworks, the scarps around the summit would have made it an easily defensible place.
The Kale valley has some very clear cultivation terraces, and those at the foot of Hownam Law are the clearest, and most extensive. Some of which look like they are starting to erode.