Wednesday, 18 September 2013

A Celtic Hillfort

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Imagine this scene with me from my historical adventure -THE BELTANE CHOICE.  Nara of the Selgovae has been taken captive by an enemy Brigante warrior who has decided to take her back to his father's hillfort of Garrigill. The roundhouse of Tully of the Brigantes might be something like the one above, though considerably bigger since he is an important Brigante Chief.

There did not seem to be very many settlements of large proportions in northen Brigantia, but this is how I have imagined Tully's settlement itn The Beltane Choice:

Emerging from the tree line they were still high enough to survey the land around. Casting her eyes across the landscape she appreciated the earth mother’s creation. It truly was a magnificent sight.
In the distance lay the largest hill fort she had ever seen. The valley floor and hillside fringes were well cleared of trees, the lower slopes heavily cultivated, tilled ready for planting. Many people would need to work in the fields below to sustain the huge community. The defensive position of Garrigill was perfect–for the Brigantes who lived there.
Not for an enemy.
Looking to rescue a captive.
A large adversary force would have great difficulty sneaking in undetected anywhere around the valley. Hills surrounded the huge basin, densely forested to the tree line, above which were heather clad peaks–excellent vantage points for protective scrutiny. She had no doubt Lorcan’s band had already been spied by sentries.
A wide meandering river snaked along the valley floor providing a source of water and no doubt plentiful fish. The sun, now breaking through the clouds, made the recent downpour sparkle on the verdant green below, the heathers above the tree line a contrasting vibrant purple. The varying browns of the roundhouse wattles and thatched roofs contrasted with the grey-white smoke gently drifting upwards.
“Do you see peace and productivity below, Nara?”
A serene haven, aye, but it was not hers. The thought of no home was wearying, of a sudden she was physically and spiritually in need.
The closest hamlet of roundhouses, minimally fortified with a single palisade of upright timbers, were the homes of nearby field workers. Repetitions of such hamlets dotted themselves around the fringes of the valley, but the main settlement of Garrigill lay centrally, built on a low hillock.
“Garrigill’s triple ditches and mounds are well constructed, do you not think?”
Nara deemed them virtually impenetrable. Sturdy timber palisading completely encircled and protected the inner living areas. Roundhouses of differing sizes, perhaps hundreds of them, lay behind the timber walls. Each one would house a large family. Garrigill was three times as large as Tarras and much more difficult to breach with a raiding party.
Her harsh laugh made Lorcan look at her uncertainly. “Very few of Tully’s enemies would be so foolhardy to attack such defences. I am of a mind to think if combat goes on here, then it must only be between the champions of the tribes involved?”
“That does not happen often.” Pride in Garrigill shone like a high sun on a hot summer’s day.
At this point Nara accepted her lot. Yet, to despair was futile: a waste of her valuable energy. No Selgovae would rescue her easily, if they ever chose to come at all, and the likelihood of her making a successful escape attempt, very bleak indeed.
Still, she could not forget a few Selgovae warriors had recently breached one of Garrigill’s outposts, had breached and killed Arian, who had been riding the outskirts ensuring all was well with the outlying Garrigill Brigantes.
The high ditches of the main hill fort slowed their access progress when they aimed for the entry tunnel where Lorcan held Eachna still. She bristled thinking he meant to humiliate her by leading her horse in. Those sensuous deep brown eyes of his looked so serious. Why did the man have to confuse her so much?

More on Celtic roundhouses soon- maybe even tomorrow...

The Crooked Cat SALE continues during the 19th and 20th of September 2013. THE BELTANE CHOICE ebook is available at the bargain price of 77p/99c.  Grab a copy while you can!

Of course, if historical isn't what you're intersted in, there's plenty more to choose from at Crooked Cat Publishing - including my ancestral mystery -  TOPAZ EYES- ALL AT 99C/77P.


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