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.
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!