Guided walk to ancient fort

One of the area’s most important archaeological sites is the subject of a special event being staged by a conservation charity this weekend.

Situated beside Rockcliffe Village on the National Trust for Scotland-owned Solway Firth coastline, the Mote of Mark is the remains of a vitrified fort thought to date from the fifth century.

On Sunday, September 1, the NTS head of archaeology, Derek Alexander, will host a walk around the Dark Age stronghold. Derek will guide visitors around the ancient monument and describe the findings from extensive archaeological investigations.

The Mote of Mark overlooks the Urr estuary and is said to have been at the centre of a Europe-wide trading network, possibly under the control of a chieftain ruling in the Kingdom of Rheged, one of the Brythonic territories that included parts of Cumbria and stretched as far north as the Kingdom of Strathclyde, where a form of old Welsh was spoken.

Derek Alexander said: “This is a magnificent site in a beautiful setting. Excavations show that there was obvious wealth here, with finds of objects brought from as far away as central France and Germany.

“The Mark of Mote was at its zenith during a fascinating period of change when the remnants of the original Iron Age Celtic territories sat alongside new kingdoms carved out by incomers from Ireland and Europe. It was these new kingdoms that would eventually expand and develop into the national boundaries we know today.

“I look forward to welcoming as many people as possible to this special place.”

The walk commences from the main car park at Rockcliffe at 11am on Sunday and finishes by 1pm. There is no charge, although charitable donations to the National Trust for Scotland are welcome.

Advance booking is essential by calling 0844 493 2245 or emailing lmarshall@nts.org.uk