Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Ancient Hill Forts and Mountain Research...By Saul Wilks

I sometimes feel as though I'm constantly on the move, wrapped up in a hectic life style where I very rarely get the time to let my mind wander, affording myself the luxury to switch off from the mundane and not so mundane rigmarole's of everyday life. Having a week off from London and the urban delights it has to offer, I thought I'd take full advantage of this welcome and humble respite and fulfil a longing I've had for some time.

The area where I cut my teeth, in my home town of Newport is called the Gaer, which is the Welsh word for fort. The reason it's named as such is because the area that the housing estates and community is built around is flanked by an ancient hill fort that was home to one of the many Celtic Silurian tribes that inhabited the area in the times of ancient Britain.

Flanked to the east by the Roman stronghold of Caeleon, previously featured on here due to it's surviving ruins, the hill fort at Gaer would have provided protection, sanctuary, and an ideal rallying point for ambushing Roman patrols, indeed the times I've thought of the grim task of those trying to navigate the deep moats and defences of the site while being constantly attacked by a multitude of Celtic warriors is no ones business.

I've always been enthralled by history from a young age, when, with a vivid imagination, I often fought off legions of imaginary Roman soldiers in the dips, gullies and earthworks of the sacred Celtic mounds of Gaer, so much so that my knowledge of this vast maze of natural defence would have surely had Maximus Decimus Meridius on his toes.

With those brilliant memories in my mind I took to my old stamping ground, this time armed with my camera and some writing equipment, as opposed to weapons carved from my artisan, imaginative mind, to let my once untamed thoughts run free again, allowing myself to once again become immersed in the beauty that this majestic and magical place holds.

Although my memory, now itself a place of many a siege attempt from the parties, chemicals and the more modern images that presently occupy my mind took some time to adjust and remember the old routes I once took in my quest for strategic advantage against Rome's finest, I lost myself in the glorious light that broke through the tree's, to shard delicately on the floor and pay homage to the dying green of the passing seasons leaves.

With my priorities some what different and  my passion now directed more towards the clothing aspect as opposed to the defence of my ancestral Celtic brotherhood, this most perfect scene made a superb backdrop to snap one of my latest purchases, the Japanese imported Mountain Research Hunting jacket.

With Autumnal shades of browns and earthy tones aplenty this most peaceful strip of land, the sight of hero's, blood and tremendous struggles of time's past, today bathed in the gorgeous fading winter's light, was where I found some inner peace and with it the magnificent fulfilment of a long time yearning.

They say home is where the heart is...


  1. Hi Saul,

    I'm loving that cap, where is it from?



  2. Hi Al, it's the oatmeal tweed Barbour Baker Boy hat from a few seasons back.