I've been visiting these sites in Northumberland since 1992. That year, as a student, I first worked in the area as a volunteer on a rock art project directed by Richard Bradley. I remember spending a day at Roughting Linn sketching and photographing a richly decorated dome of rock. I drew two visualisations of the setting which later featured in Richard's book, Rock Art and the Prehistory of Atlantic Europe.
The domed and decorated outcrop at Roughting Linn (Photo: Aaron Watson)
An unusual motif at Roughting Linn; concentric circles with rays emerging on one side. It had recently rained and the carvings appeared to shine and sparkle (Photo: Aaron Watson)
A pencil drawing of the Roughting Linn decorated outcrop as it may have appeared in the Neolithic or Bronze Age (Artwork: Aaron Watson, 1993)
Pencil drawing of Roughting Linn rock art site with Goatscrag Hill beyond (Artwork: Aaron Watson, 1993)
The name Roughting Linn refers to an atmospheric waterfall nearby. The cascade is set within a sandstone gorge which echoes and amplifies the sounds of running water. Indeed, the world 'roughting' may itself refer to this sound.
Roughting Linn waterfall (Photo: Aaron Watson)
The sensory qualities of this place may well have been familiar to the people who made the images on the rock nearby. During my visit the sunlit waterfall became animated with shimmering visual effects and iridescent rainbows.
Dancing water and light at Roughting Linn (Photo: Aaron Watson)
A short film featuring the effects of light at Roughting Linn (Film: Aaron Watson)