Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.


Borrans Field, at the northern end of Lake Windermere near Ambleside, is the site of the Roman fort of Galava. Today, the field was flooded, despite the lake being a good two metres below its 2009 watermark. One can only hope the Romans knew what they were doing, building on a floodplain.

This fort, in all likelihood, was built during the tenure of Emperor Hadrian (AD 117–38). Nevertheless, excavations hint at the existence of an earlier fort of turf and timber, likely erected in the late 1st century AD when Roman dominance over the Lake District was being established.

The annals regarding the fort’s history are rather scant, with garrisons’ identities remaining a mystery. A 3rd-century tombstone of one Flavius Romanus, discovered in the 1960s, declares his death at the hands of an enemy within the fort’s confines. Whether this killer was a personal foe or a member of an assaulting force remains a mystery.

Artifacts recovered suggest occupation persisted well into the later 4th century and perhaps beyond. This might have been the headquarters for a local chieftain and his militia post-Roman withdrawal.

Its proximity to Windermere suggests it was an apt point for receiving goods shipped up the lake. This hypothesis gains credence from the substantial dimensions of the granaries and the settlement stretching at least 800 meters northwards beyond the fort.






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