With a bonus picture and paragraph on Gretna Service Station's hillfort, known as Warden's Dyke,
Burnswark Hillfort is a fortification on the Scottish side of it's border with England. It situated quite close to Gretna and Lockerbie.
It can be viewed as a magnificent form, in how it can be seen just as you begin to cross from the Cumbrian side of the border and up past the Solway Firth. It sighted from there beyond the low plains of that firth that it overlooks,. If you know what you are looking for towards those hills on the horizon, you can recognise the flat shape amid the uplands, In some senses metaphorically you can even imagine it as a palace amidst the hills.
I did stop by there, leaving the motorway and 2 lane roads, near the driving up the 1 lane roads past farm roads and over and up there. Just below the hills which it sits amid, there is a town called Ecclefechan (3.5 miles from the fort, Gretna is 13.5 miles away, Lockerbie 9.5 by road and Carlisle 22.4 miles by road, Edinburgh 82.5 miles ), The interesting thing about it is, that it is a on the nose reminder of the old British language, which of course has developed into Welsh in Wales, and has been termed Cumbric for the North of England, and south of Scotland. Ecclefechan, is a term, that has almost certainly the first part Eccle, coming from the word, for Church, which is Eglwys in Welsh, and of course Fechan, is a term that crops up in many a Welsh town name, like Llanfairfechan, and such, This is of course a term which honours Mary, from the Bible, Lots of places do have mutations outside of Wales of Welsh names, that were Anglified, or even Gaelic-ised, but few keep the name as much as this. So after that great reminder of the Olde British language they would have spoken, I mean Brythonic, you can see the fort, or even travel to it. I was happy enough to take a picture from afar, and was able to see the way it can spy across the plains of where Gretna is, all the way into North Cumbria.
The site which is also called Birrenswark, is most celebrated as it is the site of a square Roman camp on the side of the hill. There are theories that this was a Roman training camp, but research has found the ballista artillery is too good to be for training so it is felt this was the site of a climatic battle between Romans and besieged Selgovae tribesmen (One of the County area sized in geography tribes of this area in those days) . The evidence of this battle has been dated to 140 AD, some of the best most pinpointed evidence of a battle unknown to historical writings, ever. The Romans would have sent forces north of Hadrian's wall (began from 122 AD), but still despite likely forcing a surrender, were unable to take all of Scotland. It may have been part of pacification of the area and the move to building the Antonine wall in 142, That boundary in Central Scotland, between the Clyde and Forth, which itself was evacuated from only 2 decades later. It is felt the area of southern Scotland then became a buffer state or territory, of numerous tribal kingdoms, of Northern ancient Britons, with the much less Romanised Britons, known as the Picts, That area becoming the forerunner of the post Roman post 410 AD, "Old North" "Hen Gogledd, of the old post Roman Brythonic or Cumbric language, Romanised and quite Romanised north Britons. With their tales of the Goddodin and such like from Dark Ages Britain. Which is why some say the Romans would not have considered the Southern Scotland Britons as Romans, but they themselves, from Dumbarton to Edinburgh's hillforts would have to a extent considered themselves linked with them or other Post Roman Britons. With the Picts regarded as a different group to the north, despite being in some ways more similar to their history before then than most or even just about all other places.
Burnswark covers a substantial 7 hectares.
I have uploaded pictures below, which you would need my permission to use.
I also have a bonus of mentioning a hillfort right by
Gretna service station, - Warden's Dyke
It seems Gretna has a service station as well.
Well Gretna is right on the border and on the plains, and such that sit beneath the hills the main fort this page is about. It sits right by the motorway, and I say, I wonder if it like how many roads, major thoroughfares pass along the same routes as major roads and routes from very long ago. This is as they pass the same drier routes, away from marshes, rivers and hills, so causing them to be sensible places to build. So maybe the fort here was on a major trade route, It is likely it was Iron Age, but what is lovely is the thought it could have served like a service station for travellers,, though maybe it was more a defensive site. It is likely to have been a Iron Age site, and is known as Warden's Dyke,. It was planted with trees in the 19th Century. The site was a defended enclosure, and has Iron Age and Bronze Age finds. It is also called the bracken.
The picture here, are of the fort and it's view, plus one of Gretna service station hillfort.