The Cumbrian Mountains through the remains of a gateway of the Roman Hardknott Fort at the top of the Hardknott Pass, Cumbria, England.
(www.english-lakes.com) The vast and remote Hard Knott Roman Fort, or Mediobocdum as it was known to the Romans, perches eyrie like on a bleak plateau, commanding a strategic position below Hard Knott Pass covering three acres.
The fort was constructed between about 120 and 138A.D., during the reign of the Emperor Hadrian it was abandoned during during the mid second Century, being reoccupied in c.AD 200 it then continued in use until the late fourth century. The forts garrison consisted of a detachment of 500 cavalry recruited on the Dalmatian coast.
The Hardknott Fort was quite extensive with granaries, bathhouses and a commanders quarters. Its walls were in the region of twelve feet thick. Some of the buildings have now been re-constructed from the original fallen stone. It was strategically sited along the old Roman road which extended from the the Roman fort of Glannoventa at Ravenglass and ran along the Eskdale Valley before conyinuing over the rugged Hardknott and Wrynose Passes to the Galava Fort at Ambleside, Kendal and beyond. It is possible that this was the fort named as Mediobogdum in surviving Roman records.
Extensive excavations were carried out in the latter part of the nineteenth century and in the 1950’s and 60’s, which revealed the remains of the forts defences and gateways, and the internal building arrangement including the commanding officers house, the headquarters building and the granaries, all of which may be seen at the site today.
The fort was entered through the Porta Praetoria or main gate, which is the gateway which stands to the south east. The Via Praetoria led straight through this to the main headquarters building. The gate had double portals, which may have sided a gatehouse above the gates which would have been reached from the wall walk. In the course of the excavations in the 1960’s, a number of fragments of a stone inscription were found in front of the gateway, which would originally have been positioned between the two portals, the inscription recorded that the fort was constructed during Hadrian’s reign.
Olympus OM-10, 50mm 1.8