Monday, 9 May 2011
Robin Hood on (literally!) Hadrian's Wall
I have been meaning to search out a 'Robin Hood' film clip for absolutely ages. (Finally found this one which features the "Sycamore Gap" tree prominently.)
I saw the film, Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves, when it came out (1991) when Hadrian's Wall meant absolutely nothing to me. I would not have recognised this scene at all and like most of the cinema going public I would have been oblivious to its incongruity...
As far as I can recall this scenario is very much "setting the scene". Robin Hood (Kevin Costner) meets up with Azeem (Morgan Freeman) and they decide to take on the evil Sheriff of Nottingham (Alan Rickman).
Quite how they have stumbled and walked (very naughty! It's very much frowned upon now.) on Hadrian's Wall (Northumberland) when they are supposed to be in the heart of Nottinghamshire.... (N.B.: Northumberland is Northern England whilst Nottinghamshire is in the middle of the country for those less acquainted with our shores.)
If you look at these actors in this link...you can plainly see the famous "Sycamore Gap" tree behind them which locals now call the "Robin Hood" tree for obvious reasons. Crag Lough (that bit of water pronounced "Crag Loff") also features in this.
My links with Nottingham? I used to work in a pub in Beeston for a while serving behind the bar. The landlord hesitated before taking me on as he thought I was Irish and there were some army barracks nearby. He thought I might be a fifth columnist. (It's not the first time I've been mistaken for being Irish....not that I mind particularly!)
My tenuous link with Alan Rickman? He once towered over me in WHSmith in the old St. Pancras Station whilst I was buying a magazine. He smiled at me thank goodness. I'm not sure that I could have coped with one of his evil glances...as he does those rather well...
The walk from Steel Rigg to Housesteads includes Sycamore Gap...is a good one. Be prepared for some serious ups and downs across the crags. I've also heard that a replacement sycamore tree has been planted to take the place of this famous tree should it ever topple over.
Again...a few things amuse me about this clip:
Azeem asks where "east" is so that he can pray. Kevin (Robin Hood) points to the south. "Are you sure?" "Yes, I would know blindfolded. I am five miles from home!" ("East" follows the line of the Wall over to their left..maybe north and then east towards Newcastle. If anything they are facing south/south west. I know I am nitpicking.)
Azeem exclaims: "Is there no sun in this accursed country?" (Well...yes...a fair bit recently!)
When the fighting takes place between the good guys and the bad guys I can't help thinking about all the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman, Brigantian, Celtic, Arthurian, Reiver, Jacobite, Monarchist, fighters who probably fought on that same spot at different times (before, during and after the life of Hadrian's Wall) and many, many more...