We’re going to hunt a hillfort.

We’re going to catch a big one.

What a beautiful day.

We’re not scared.

IMG_5925

Uh-uh! Slopes!

Steep hillfort slopes!

We can’t go around them

We can’t go under them,

Oh no!

We’ve got to go UP them!

Steep-stride

Steep-stride

Steep-stride

 


 

We’re going to hunt a hillfort.

We’re going to catch a big one.

What a beautiful day.

We’re not scared.

 

IMG_5937

Uh-uh! Gorse!

Spikey scarey gorse.

We can’t go over it.

We can’t go under it.

Oh no!

We’ve got to ROUND it!

 

IMG_5935

Careful-step

Careful-step

Careful-step

 


 

We’re going to hunt a hillfort.

We’re going to catch a big one.

What a beautiful day.

We’re not scared.

 

IMG_6108

Uh-uh! Grass!

Thick heathland grass

We can’t go over it

We can’t go under it

Oh no!

We’ve got to THROUGH it!

 

IMG_6110

Trip-and-fall

Trip-and-fall

Trip-and-fall

 


 

We’re going to hunt a hillfort.

We’re going to catch a big one.

What a beautiful day.

We’re not scared.

IMG_6123

Uh-uh! Slime!

Muddy hillfort slime!

We can’t go over it

We can’t go under it

Oh no!

We’ve got to THROUGH it!

IMG_6077

Stumble-squelch

Stumble-squelch

Stumble-squelch

 


 

We’re going to hunt a hillfort.

We’re going to catch a big one.

What a beautiful day.

We’re not scared.

Uh-uh! Rocks!

Sharp and loose rocks!

We can’t go around them

We can’t go under them

Oh no!

We’ve got to go OVER them!

 

Scramble-stop

Scramble-stop

Scramble-stop

 


 

We’re going to hunt a hillfort.

We’re going to catch a big one.

What a beautiful day.

We’re not scared.

Uh-uh! Stile!

Sign-covered stile!

We can’t go through it

We can’t go under it

Oh no!

We’ve got to go OVER it!

 

Stile-climb

Stile-climb

Stile-climb

 


 

We’re going to hunt a hillfort.

We’re going to catch a big one.

What a beautiful day.

We’re not scared.

Uh-uh! Sheep

Sheep and their poo!

We can’t go over them

We can’t go under them

Oh no!

We’ve got to go PAST them!

Woolly-jump

Woolly-jump

Woolly-jump

 


 

We’re going to hunt a hillfort.

We’re going to catch a big one.

What a beautiful day.

We’re not scared.

Uh-uh! Earthworks

Prehistoric earthworks!

We can’t go over them.

We can’t go under them.

Oh no! We’ve got to go ALONG them!

 

Bank-and-ditch

Bank-and-ditch

Bank-and-ditch

 


 

We’re going to hunt a hillfort.

We’re going to catch a big one.

What a beautiful day.

We’re not scared.

Uh-uh! Dig!

Archaeological dig!

We can’t go over it

We can’t go under it

Oh no!

We’ve got to go THROUGH it!

Back-fill

Back-fill

Back-fill

 


 

We’re going to hunt a hillfort.

We’re going to catch a big one.

What a beautiful day.

We’re not scared.

Uh-uh! Signs!

National Trail signs

We can’t go around them.

We can’t go under them

Oh no!

We’ve got to go OVER them

Offa’s Dyke

Offa’s Dyke

Offa’s Dyke

 


 

We’re going to hunt a hillfort.

We’re going to catch a big one.

What a beautiful day.

We’re not scared.

 

Uh-uh! Cairn

Bronze Age cairn

We can’t go around it.

We can’t go under it.

Oh no!

We’ve got to go over it!

Collared Urn

Collared Urn

Collared Urn

 


 

Tiptoe!

Tiptoe!

Tiptoe!

Whats that?

One modern cairn!

One inscribed plaque!

Two different languages!

It’s a memorial!

Quick! Back from the cairn! Collared Urn! Collared Urn! Collared Urn!

Back over the signs! Offa’s Dyke! Offa’s Dyke! Offa’s Dyke!

Back through the dig! Back-fill! Back-fill! Back-fill!

Back along the earthworks! Bank-and-ditch! Bank-and-ditch! Bank-and-ditch!

Back past the sheep poo! Woolly jump! Woolly jump! Woolly jump!

Back over the stile! Stile-climb! Stile-climb! Stile-climb!

Back over the rocks! Scramble-stop! Scramble-stop! Scramble-stop!

Back through the slime! Stumble squelch! Stumble squelch! Stumble squelch!

Back through the grass! Trip-and-fall! Trip-and-fall! Trip-and-fall!

Back round the gorse! Careful step! Careful step! Careful step!

Back down the slopes! Steep-stride! Steep-stride! Steep-stride.

Get to our parked car.

Open the door.

Into the seats

Oh no!

We forgot to take off our muddy wellies!

Take off the wellies.

Shut the door.

Drive back home.

Into the bedroom.

Into bed.

Under the covers.

   

We’re not going to hunt a hillfort again.

 


 

This shameless plagiarism from Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury’s book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt has a few serious points behind it. At one level, it simply constitutes a different way of describing a morning out walking on New Year’s Day. I hope it gives you the impression of our morning walk and the various traces of archaeological heritage and the natural landscape we encountered.

In addition, I think it highlights the physical and intellectual challenges of navigating a particular prehistoric hillfort in the Clwydian Range – Penycloddiau –  from the perspective of a 5-year-old and an autistic 10-year-old. I’ve edited out the greatest anxieties of my autistic daughter, since they least easily translate to conventionally minded readers and they escape visual description: wind and dogs. Still, I’ve kept in some of her chief hill-and-mountain terrors: mud, sheep poo and gorse.

I also haven’t discussed the birds, vegetation, views over NW England and NE Wales, and other dimensions of the walking experience, but focused instead on the immediate challenges of pedestrian navigation when walking in the AONB.

It also makes the point that, whether intentional or not, we always end up finding an Archaeodeath dimension: in this case a memorial to heritage conservation, which I cast as the scary bear…

 

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