Hardknott Roman Fort

Hardknott Pass (383 m.) is one of the Lake District’s notorious road passes, notorious for its unusually steep gradient (posted as 30%, nearly One in Three) and a narrow roadway. In Roman times the route was defended by Hardknott Fort (Mediobogdum) manned by the cohort (500 men plus auxiliaries) of the Fourth Cohort of Dalmatians.

My photo shows the impressive remains of the granaries (horrea), headquarters office and commander’s quarters (praetorium), surrounded by a stone defensive wall, originally of two metres height. The strategic importance of the site is quite clear standing there, it is commanding both the pass road (the 10th iter) through to the Roman garrisons at Ambleside and at Kendal, the surrounding peaks and various lead mines, plus the valley up from the superb natural harbour at Ravenglass (Glannoventa), where there is a substantial ruin of a Roman Bath House close to the natural harbour.
Hardknott Fort is quite as worthwhile to visit as Hadrian’s Wall and - for the time being - still possible to happen upon as a hiker or motorist without the paraphernalia of tourism: there’s no gift shop or video show, just the stones, the grass and the sheep. There’s also a levelled area on the fell-side which is thought to have been a parade ground.