ROUGHTING LINN - NORTHUMBERLAND ROCK ART CARVINGS
Roughting Linn is named after a nearby small waterfall, the two elements being 'linn', a pool, and 'roughting', a bellowing noise. Roughting Linn is located near Kimmerston, Wooler.
Roughting Linn is a huge natural, whaleback shape of sandstone outcrop, an elongated domed ridge, 20m long and 12m wide, slightly higher than the land to the NW that flattens out before plunging into a gully formed by two small streams that join before flowing towards the Milfield Plain. It is the largest decorated rock in northern England, and perhaps the most famous.
The rock art is of the cup and ring type, quite deeply pecked in, especially on the circumference. This site also has a great variety of rock art motifs. Near the top of the dome slope are flower-like stems with heads made of a cup surrounded by a ring. Some of these grooves join each other, and some end in small cups. There are clusters of cups enclosed by grooves, interconnecting with other enclosed cups. There are, uniquely, nine radiates springing from the outer of two penannulars around a cup, itself connected to other figures. On the south east slope there are concentric inverted arcs, and a variation of the cup and ring theme is the use of parallel grooves, six in the case of two linked figures.
On the sunny morning that Aron and I visited this site, the journey from Newcastle University allowed Aron the chance to describe Roughting Linn and its rock art, as well as the sense of place that the decorated outcrop commands in this relatively remote part of Northumberland. Therefore it was of no surprise when we arrived to find the site 'occupied' by two delightful ladies of a most spiritual nature quietly enjoying this sense of place.
Dr Aron Mazel
The British Isles Prehistory Archive