I hadn’t walked the Darn Road for some time. If truth be told (and this is a blog after all), I haven’t walked anywhere for a while. But that’s another story.
Anyway, would I find that this ancient thoroughfare had changed since the last time ? Had it been “designated”, surfaced with crushed whinstone and waymarked with colour-coded posts and information boards ? Had it been diverted via Northampton ? Surely there would be a wind farm ? But no, I needn’t have worried (wot me ..?).
It is stil it’s old haun’ knittet self.
This wall was built about 200 years ago, at a time when it was fashionable for lairds to wall off their estates, move the villages and churches outside the wall, and divert traditional routes around their properties. The story goes that a team of workmen laboured each day to build a section of the new wall – and a team of locals came out every night and knocked down the days’s work. Until the laird got huffy and called in the polis.
So, up to this point, everything seems much as I remember it. But whoa. What’s this ? This is new.
Well, it’s a bench. Obviously. But what are all the carvings ? Skull and crossbones, parrot, map, treasure chest and spade.
Aaaaaargh me hearties, the clue is in the location. Right next to Ben Gunn’s cave. Local legend (aka the Tourist Board) has it that RLS played here as a boy, and that this was the inspiration for Ben Gunn’s cave in Treasure Island. Of course he got the inspiration for the Black Spot and a parrot that said “Pieces of Eight” much later when he was doing mushrooms.
All in all a pleasant walk of about 4 miles down amnesia lane.
Must do more of this