Impromptu adventure

At 1pm yesterday I decided that if I stayed in my town any longer I would actually go insane. I needed to get away. I orginally considered Scafell Pike, but that’s a four hour drive away, and I doubt I’d have time to drive there, climb the mountain and get down again before dark. I also considered Avebury, but I settled on the Uffington White Horse, Dragon Hill and Wayland’s Smithy.

The chalk hills of the Wiltshire downs have a lot of neolithic artwork carved in their sides, but the White Horse at Uffington is by far my favourite. It’s difficult to get a decent picture of it from the ground, so I’ll cheat and use this one I robbed from The Internet:

โ€uffington

It’s difficult to get a sense of scale from that photo, but the little blob near the top right of the image is a person.

To the rear of the horse itself is the site of Uffington Castle, now merely the raised earthworks where the fortress once stood. from a distance, on a nice day, it also looks like the default Windows XP desktop wallpaper:

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There are some spectacular views of the surrounding countryside from this vantage point. I won’t describe them as pictures speak louder than words, so just have a look:

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The flat-topped hill you can see in the second image is Dragon Hill, supposedly the site where Saint George slew the dragon. The story goes that nothing was able to grow where the dragon’s blood spilled to the ground, hence the white patch which has always been there:

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So after exploting the White Horse, Uffington Castle and Dragon Hill, I decided to walk the mile or so down the Ridgeway to Wayland’s Smithy. It’s a neolithic long barrow constructed some three and a half thousand years ago. It’s certainly an impressive sight, and thankfully was largely free of Draugr, although it did appear as if some sort of ritual had been performed at one end of it:

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I’ve decided that the next time I have six days to spare I will hike The Ridgeway. There are so many ancient monuments close to it that I think it would be a great walk. I’ve added it to my list of trails to hike, right alongside the Wye Valley, Offa’s Dyke and the Coastal Path. Goddess knows if I’ll ever manage to do them.

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31 comments

  1. katsmilesalot

    Hahaha “largely free of Draugr”. I was thinking that those ruins were completely Skyrim-esque. You’re lucky to have that sort of history on your doorstep ๐Ÿ™‚

      • katsmilesalot

        I think that’s probably true of everywhere. People can be nonchalant about all of the wonderful things around them, but those same things wow and amaze tourists and visitors. Nice that you’re appreciating them though ๐Ÿ™‚

      • 2Karl

        Anyway, we might have a ton of neolithic megaliths over here, but you have Uluru, the most beautiful rock on the planet.

      • katsmilesalot

        Yeah there are a lot of amazing things in Australia to see. I spent a year in the UK though, there’s so much more history. I miss it.

      • katsmilesalot

        I did for a few months last year. I’ve already used my holiday maker visa though so unless I miraculously become independently wealthy I can’t stay permanently. I’m happy with holidays though ๐Ÿ™‚

      • katsmilesalot

        Whereabouts are you? I lived in Maidstone, Kent for a year. Then stayed in Bristol for a few months last year.

      • katsmilesalot

        Haha yes! Blackbeard himself.
        Btw, Skyrim (and Elder Scrolls in general) is my favourite. Are you looking forward to Elder Scrolls Online?

      • 2Karl

        I am not. Mainly becasue MMOs ruined my life once (I was once the producer of Lord of the Rings Online), but I feel that Tamriel does not suit an MMO environment, for reasons that I could waffle on about for at least a thousand years. Morrowind is still my favourite of the lot (again, for a long list of reasons).

      • katsmilesalot

        Well if you ever feel like waffling on about Elder Scrolls hit me up, I’ve got the time. I used to be an adventurer, then I took an arrow to the knee.

      • 2Karl

        which is funny becasue I’ve taken about a thousand arrows to my argonian face and I’m still walking. Nords are clearly lazy.

      • 2Karl

        For the most part I was on my own side. Still, I couldn’t forgive the empire for the enslavement of my people, so I sided with the stormcloaks. Those travelling wedding guests also continually pissed me off, I think they tipped me over the edge.

      • katsmilesalot

        Yeah I hate the Thalmor, but I’m no huge fan of the Nords either. Especially Ulfric, he’s like the equivalent of a modern day anti-immigration conservative. Also I’m a Bosmer and I feel a close association the the Dunmer so obviously had a moral objection to their treatment. And Windhelm was such a dank city. Whiterun feels like home.

      • 2Karl

        The whole place is too cold for me. Send me back to black marsh. see originally I wanted to party both sides of against each other and kill both leaders to leave the whole stinking country in disarray, but the game wouldn’t let me do it.

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