Friday was a trip through history. We started by driving to the Langdale Boulders, near Chapel Stile, which contain Rock Art carvings that are believed to date back to 3200 B.C. From there, we went to the ruins of the Roman Fort at Hardknott, which dates back to about 120 A.D. Then from there, we went on to the ruins of Furness Abbey, just north of Barrow-in-Furness, which dates back to 1127, but was destroyed with the English Reformation in 1537 A.D. Finally, we made it back to Ambleside, where we had a nice tapas dinner at Bar eS.
This is a view looking east toward Hardknott pass from the ruins of the Roman fort on its western slope. The Roman conquest of Britain had begun in 43 A.D. under Emperor Claudius. But the Lake District area wasn’t invaded until Agricola did so around the year 77 A.D. His invasion was provisioned by the Roman Navy, operating in the Irish Sea. But the Romans needed a secure route to transfer provisions to their forces inland. So, from the Roman fort at the mouth of the River Esk at Ravenglass, early in the second century A.D, the Romans established another fort overlooking the Eskdale valley here at Hardknott, which is about 10 miles inland. They also established another fort about 12 miles further inland at Ambleside, which served as a spoke for regional commerce.
As the Romans advanced toward Scotland in late 130’s, they abandoned the fort here at Hardknott, later reclaiming it in the 160’s, before abandoning it for good in the 200’s A.D. The Roman occupation of the island they called Britannia would last another 2 centuries, until their withdrawal in the year 410 A.D.