Episode 4 – Update Video

I am upon Caer Caradoc filming a sunset for the next episode of the Bald Explorer which is about the Welsh Marches. I recored a very short little update of the progress and included a few shots of the magnificent view. More to follow as I start the filming process of this episode. I hope you will keep watching and enjoy the final production. I will be in Shropshire and Herefordshire in search of the legendary British hero Caratacus.

Profile: Film Maker at Hopston Castle

I was delighted to discover as part of my research into my next project on the Welsh Marches that another heritage film maker has visited and made a very good documentary about Hopton Castle. This is one of the places I am currently seeking permission to film for the next episode.

Peter Ralley is a professional photographer and former headteacher. He obviously has a passion for history, like myself, and his website is full of wonderful videos about the past. Peter works mainly in the community and heritage sector which to me makes him stand out of the crowd because there are so few film makers out there passionately making features about our history.

What I also admire is the way he has the whole family involved in the production of his work and it is very similar to how I work with my daughter Georgie, (camera woman) and friends and colleagues assisting in the film making process.

Do check out his recent film at Hopton Castle if you get a chance and visit his website for further information:
Rali Studio

Caracticus Last Stand

Clunbury Hill, where Caracticus's brother and a small division of men were on lookout duty just before the battle.
The next Bald Explorer is slowly coming together. After much reading about the Welsh Marches and the Norman Invasion, the raids from the Welsh and the building of Offa’s Dyke by the Saxon King, I am examining the potential site of Caracticus’s last stand.

No one really can say for sure where the ancient Briton Chieftain met his final defeat, but Lt-Colonel Alfred H. Burne DSO writing in the 1950’s made a jolly good stab at it. In his excellent book, More Battlefields of Britain, where he puts forward his theory of Inherent Military Probability, (or I.M.P) he sites both Caer Caradoc hillforts as being part of the story.

A view to the advanced look out post Caer Caradoc from Camp Caradoc, some 15 miles away.

His concept of I.M.P is where he takes all the known facts of a particular battle, landscapes and fighting equipment and then simply places his shoes into those of the commanders of the day and uses his overall knowledge of engaging an enemy to find a solution. As he states in his book, he asks himself, what would he do given the situation.

You could argue that with a 20th century education and experience in modern world warfare it might skew his judgement, but as he explains, the landscape is the same, the cunning skills required are identical and the basic tactics of using the local terrain to ones advantage haven’t really changed.

The result is a compelling argument for plausible locations of battles and until there are better theories then I see no reason not to follow this reasoning. Either way, it all makes for a rather interesting programme.

My aim is to explore this landscape, tell the story and hopefully even fly around the battle sites in a microlight and point out key areas from above. I do hope you will enjoy this first part of hopefully several explorations of the Welsh Marches as much as I have enjoyed researching and soon to be filming them!

Podcast: Camp Caradoc

Harriet and I headed out to investigate the other Caer Caradoc in South Shropshire. Locally this iron age hill fort is known as Camp Caracticus or Camp Caradoc. It is a wonderful example of such an ancient encampment and many people believe that this is the position of the last stand that the Chieftain Caracticus held against the Romans after they invaded nearly two thousand years ago.

A view from Camp Caradoc to the other hill called Caer Caradoc

It was in AD51 that the Romans managed to defeat and capture this defiant ancient Briton and his tribe of fearless fighting men. He was taken back to Rome and paraded about in triumph as he had evaded capture for seven years and caused much trouble for their invasion plans.

There are many places that also claim to be the last fighting place of this heroic figure, but there is more evidence for believing that this is was the camp used by the ancient Britons. The actual battle itself is thought to have taken place a little to the west of this point because no defender would want to be stuck on a top of a hill that could easily be surrounded.

A view across the South Shropshire Hills from the iron age hill fort.

Have a listen to the podcast as we head out to this important historical monument and explore its potential for the filming in the next Bald Explorer video about the Welsh Marches. I will be looking at the battle and the theories in more details as I begin a series of films about the boarder landed between England and Wales.

Download as Podcast.