Roughting Linn
Bronze Age Carved Rock / Rock Art
Southwest of Lowick, Northumberland  OS Map Ref NT98393673
OS Maps - Landranger 75 (Berwick-upon-Tweed), Explorer 339 (Kelso, Coldstream & Lower Tweed Valley)

Roughting Linn - view of the whole rock
Overview of the southern and eastern sides of the carved rock of Roughting Linn
The large domed outcrop of rock at Roughting Linn is covered with a profusion of carvings ranging from cups, groups of cups, cups and rings - some with gutters, keyhole designs and linked grooves. One cup and ring motif even has a rare set of radiating lines along one edge that resemble rays of the sun (shown in detail in the photograph immediately below).

The rock itself is angled roughly north to south but sadly much of the western side has been quarried away taking with it any carvings that may have been there. As there are so many carvings on the remaining three sides it is impossible to describe them with words alone and for that reason I've included more photographs on this page than usual. To simplify things a little I've divided the carvings into four zones based on their natural separation on the rock surface.
Southern Carvings
Roughting Linn - carvings at the southern end of the rock
The most prominent designs found at the southern top end of the rock are a pair of cup and ring motifs. Towards the top of the picture is a cup with three rings while to the lower left another cup with three rings has a rare set of probably nine faint radiating lines along its left-hand edge (these are more visible in the inset picture, marked with water). A groove runs from the centre of this motif towards the centre of the picture where there are also at least two other cup and ring carvings and some groove. Unfortunately this area is now very worn and the markings are very difficult to make out. In Stan Beckensall's 'Prehistoric Rock Art in Northumberland' he shows a further cup with three rings than would now be under the patch of grass to the left.
South-eastern Carvings
Roughting Linn - carvings on the eastern side
Part of the southern carvings (see above) can be seen at the top left of this picture.
The curving southeastern flank of Roughting Linn caries an almost psychedelic swirl of carvings. Visible in the photograph above and below are five main motifs. To the left a deep cup with a slight gutter is surrounded above and on each side with three grooves, these take the form of semicircles than then extend downwards for a short distance forming a 'keyhole' type motif. Just to the right is a further keyhole design, this time the vertical grooves are much longer while immediately right a cup and two rings may be linked to this carving. The next two motifs can be seen more clearly on the picture below which is the same panel taken from a different angle. A cup and three rings are partly cut away by the bottom edge of the quarried hollow in the rock surface while just below a slightly dished area has a cup and a pair of penannulars or unfinished rings. There are at least four other worn cup and ring carvings above and to the side of the hollow that are not visible on the photographs.
Roughting Linn - carvings on the eastern side
The same panel as above but seen from a different angle.
North-eastern Carvings
Roughting Linn - carvings on the northeastern side
Overview of the northeastern end of Roughting Linn. Towards this northeastern end the carvings seem to be divided into two separate areas defined by a what could be a natural fault in the rock surface which is most clearly seen at the bottom right of the first photograph below. To the left of this fault the motifs generally consist of cup marks (some quite deep and well defined) and grooves although at least a dozen of the cups have either a single ring or form part of a keyhole design. Towards the lower left of the picture a group of eight or nine cups are clustered together within a slightly raised area while to the lower right five cups are enclosed within an oval shaped groove linked to a further pair of deep cups just above and below.
Roughting Linn - carvings on the northeastern side
Area to the left of the fault, which can be seen at the bottom right of the picture.
Roughting Linn - carvings on the northeastern side
Area to the right of the fault. Apart from a few single cups the designs here are all cup and ring motifs. This part of the rock has clearly been quarried with the quarry line passing through the edge of four rings that have a particularly deep cup with an eroded gutter or groove running from it. To the left a cup with a long gutter is surrounded by four penannulars while just above are three almost identical motifs each consisting of a cup and gutter surrounded by two penannulars. Out of shot at the top of the picture is a cup with three penannulars or unfinished rings.
Northern Carvings
Roughting Linn - carvings on the northern end of the rock
Part of the northeastern carvings can be seen at the far left of the picture above. As can be seen in the picture a section of the rock at the northern end has been quarried away leaving these carvings isolated from the rest of the outcrop but the style of motifs on the detached section suggests a continuation of the cup and ring designs found on the northeastern side and presumably on the section of rock now destroyed. Just to the left of the small patch of dark vegetation are a pair of cups each with four rings and both having short grooves or gutters running out from the cup. To the left of these are another pair of cup and ring designs, the upper has two rings, the lower (just above the grass) has three rings. A carving with a pair of rings and also a bowl-like depression is visible to the left of centre.
Because of the curve of the rock part of the carvings are hidden from view behind the dark vegetation and are shown in the picture below instead.
Roughting Linn - carvings on the northern end of the rock
This section of the northern end of the rock has only a few simple carvings. To the left a cup has a pair of rings and a short gutter while just above and to the right is what looks like a pair of rings or penannulars. Just above that is a very faint small ring with a pair of small cup and single ring designs close to the sloping top edge of the rock.

Back to Map | Home | Full Glossary | Links | Email: