The Erratic

Patrick Norris, of Footsteps guided walks based in Northumberland, sent us this magnificent photograph of The Erratic alongside a poem he has written. As an introduction, he writes:

The Erratic in question sits high on Bewick Moor deep in rural Northumberland. It is listed on the British Geological Survey website and their literature preceding the internet. In a curious twist, the moor is mis-named in the listing as Berwick Moor, rather than Bewick Moor. The photograph that accompanies the listing on the BGS website was taken in 1925 and nothing much has changed. The poem reflects on the landscape and that we are just passing through, the erratic though has sat in the same place for about 10,000 years and watched us pass by.

The Erratic

I am a Rock and I am on the World Wide Web

a prestigious place to be (for a rock).


But long before the World Wide Web,

I roamed and travelled high above this land,

encased in ancient, shifting ice.


And as the ice began to melt, I slipped and slid and fell

and came to rest, high on the moor, upon my sandstone shelf.


I watched the Wild Wood grow.

I saw the folk who carved the rocks with cup and ring

and watched them as they laid their dead to rest, in cists and cairns of stone.


Flint, Bronze, Iron, Time

I watched the Wild Wood go.


I saw tribes of Celts and felt the earth vibrate, as the Roman Legions passed.

And on my watch, Pagan Anglo-Saxon Kings took up the Christian way,

and Vikings too, they came across the sea to stay.

And I saw them all, you know.


Today, I see shepherds, keepers, farmers, hikers

and still I stand,

I’ll see them come and go.


In 1925, a geologist marked me up with such care,

an “erratic”, they said, not me said I.

Latitude and Longitude, a location, so precise

when once I roamed across this land,

encased in ancient, shifting ice.


And now I’m on the World Wide Web,

A prestigious place to be (for a rock) and

I’ll be here long after it, fades into history.