This is a map of the Tweed Valley—the part of Northumbria that the Gododdin think of as theirs (when they weren’t squabbling with the Manau Gododdin, their northern cousins)—as I imagined Hild might have experienced it. At some point I’ll update to software that can bend text and annotate it properly with all the river names. (For now, see this.) The red bits are hills with Iron Age strongholds. The heavy lines are Roman roads, the light Hild’s route, and the pink (from right to left) Roman fort, camp, and stones. I had to reverse engineer some of the names, e.g. Pebyl for Peebles, and Calchfynydd for Kelso. And I decided the Tweed, in Hild’s time, would have been the Twid.
Here’s the bit in the box, expanded:
The topological stuff is pretty accurate, I think; any definite contour line (as opposed to artistic shading) begins at 200m; this is high country. The heavy lines are Roman roads—Dere Street is reasonably accurate but the east-west route is largely extrapolation, as are the dotted lines that I imagine to be paths through the hills.
This is where Hild, in company with the men who become known as her Fiercesomes, acquires a northern name, Cait Sith (hence the wee picture). But you’ll have to wait to find out why…
11 thoughts on “Cait Sith in the Eildon Hills”
so, that means that Hild is wandering around what would become John Buchan country. I like this VERY much.
Except she’s not wandering. She’s moving swiftly, with purpose…
And presumably moving invisibly, since Sith is Faery!
Certainly she’s regarded as uncanny…
I’ve just finished reading Hild and it won’t let me go. Hild’s world is so vivid, the elements of nature–animals, weather, smells, textures–so beautifully rendered. I’m reading it again from the beginning.
If you’re so inclined, I’d love to hear what strikes you differently the second time around…
The second time around for me was the jackdaws, the winter, and the pain in her heart. Home
Ah. Then you’ll definitely enjoy Book II!
So good to see Mailros (old Melrose) mentioned as this was the original site, founded by Aiden where St Cuthbert was prior. Many folk don’t realise that the modern day Melrose is somewhere different, several miles away, founded c1136! I love all the old history of this area as I live among it. (Alistair Moffat has written some wonderful research on the area.)
The Episcopal Church in The US uses an Anglican book called Holy Women Holy Men. Each day of the year has an article about one of these people. This week celebrates Hilda. Reading her article made me run back to Hild. I know I’m ready to read it again. The book was a wonderful gift from my sister 2 years ago.
Isn’t it lovely when sisters get it right? Sometimes, they’re the ones who know us best. Anyway, I’m delighted yours got you a present that gives you joy.