Friday, June 8, 2012

From Beltingham to.....Narnia?

My visit to Beltingham was part of a walking loop that I undertook with one of my digging buddies, Scott from LA.  The local hiking club that put it together may have stretched the truth just a bit.  It seemed longer than the 8 miles advertised.  And that summer cottage made entirely of sheep bones?  We looked long and hard for it, and we were every bit as disappointed as you would have been to miss such a marvel.

Eventually we ditched the itinerary and went off on our own, following dead reckoning and the occasional peek at Scott's Tricorder that gave us ambiguous Google Earth readings.

It is when off the beaten path that you find the real enigmas.

Midgeholm does not appear on any map of the area.  Looking off in the direction indicated we could see a good distance.  Nothing.  Perhaps it is the rallying point for the pesky insects that make mid summer digging at Vindolanda such an ordeal.

Soon we were on a very rural lane.  We walked on it for a mile and the only vehicle that went by us was a tractor pulling hay. Which makes this roadside feature hard to explain.

It is a bus bench.  The back is missing, the iron supports are rusted.  There are several good sized trees growing up from underneath.

Why is it there?  It has certainly been out of service for decades, but as I looked about the surrounding landscape I could not see any justification for a bus stop.  No farm houses.  No derelict quarries or lime kilns.  There is nothing, and within the memory of Man Now Living there has been nothing there.

It gave me a strange feeling, and the first thing I thought of was a line from the C.S. Lewis book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

"In about ten minutes she reached it and found that it was a lamp-post.  As she stood looking at it, wondering why there was a lamp-post in the middle of a wood and wondering what to do next, she heard a pitter patter of feet coming towards her."

1 comment:

Harry said...

If there's such a thing as "good creepy," then that bus bench is it! Amazing what one finds in the wilds of Northumberland.