This area is awash with history but some of it dates from long before the Romans came.
The area around Kings Crag has a real mystical feel and has bronze age remains dotted throughout the landscape, we have Kings Hill near Sewingshields and King Arthurs Well at Walltown. Ancient Northumbrians leaving their mark but now overshadowed by the Emperor Hadrian's Wall. If stones could talk what stories they could tell :)
As you drive along the Military Road from the west you'll come to the Milecastle Inn, as you approach the turn to Caw Gap glance to your left and you'll see two stones in the field.
Like me you may at first think they're simply stone gate posts, left in place when a wall was demolished. It was only after studying an ordnance survey map that I discovered they were the Mare and Foal Standing Stones. (grid ref: NY725663)
There is a public footpath through the field with a stile access just up from the Milecastle pub.
I crossed the stile and started up the field, I couldn't see the footpath clearly, the field is all lumps and bumps of the type beloved by the Time Team guys, bet they'd have a great time arond here.
The walk across the field took longer than I had anticipated but I did manage to reach the Standing Stones before the sun set completely.
Up close you can see they are spaced too far apart for gate posts, and they do have that 'atmosphere' you get around these ancient stones.
It's quite difficult to photograph them, you need to be very low down to get them against the sky and my knees gave up bending much some time ago.
Nice colour in the sky and I took a dozen or so shots from different angles before it got dark. The one here has Cawfield Crags and the Nine Nicks of Thirlwall in the background.
I decided not to go back down the bumpy field but headed for a gate, alas unbeknown to me, there was an area of boggy land between me and the gate.
I plowed straight in, got boots full of thick black sludge and had to pull myself out getting covered in mud in the process.
Headed back to the car wishing I'd left an offering to the stone, have you noticed how people hammer coins into the crevices of standing stones?
I'll be doing that next time, for sure.
From the Caw Gap road there's a nice image of the stones against the sky, they look tiny but I guess a good long lens will remedy that, and there are some nice old hawthorn trees on the skyline to the left making a nice setting for a photograph.
Catch you later :)