Not far from the village of Ford in Northumberland is a pretty waterfall located in a tucked-away ravine called Routin Lynn.
Actually there is some confusion about the name with various permutations of spelling including Roughting, Roughtin, Lynn and Linn. Google Maps spells it Roughtin Linn but Ordnance Survey (probably the most authoritative source) calls it Routin Lynn. The confusion is not helped by a second waterfall with an almost identical name (Roughting Linn) located 13 miles away near Chatton.
The fall drops about 20 feet into a clear brown pool. I suppose some might be brave enough to take a dip and experience a power shower but seeing as it was mid-winter when I visited I wasn’t tempted.
A small cave might have been used by stone age visitors to the waterfall.
Routin Lynn Rock Art
A short walk away is an outcrop of grey sandstone bearing dozens of cup and ring markings.
Examples of these ancient rock carvings, some thought to date back 4,000 years to the Neolithic period, can be found scattered all over the British Isles and in Europe but their purpose or meaning remains shrouded in mystery. Petroglyph experts have theorised some kind of mystic, ritual or spiritual significance while others suggest they could have served as maps or been connected with astronomy.
I have an alternative theory. Perhaps they were for entertainment to help pass away those long evenings in the days before television. We Britons have always been fond of games. Could these grooves and circles have been used to play an early form of marbles or tiddlywinks?
A thin dusting of snow helps to highlight the patterns and they remind me of targets, perfect for rolling marbles or flicking pellets of sheep dung. Just an idea!
How to Get to Routin Lynn Waterfall and Rock Carvings
The locations marked on this Google map are accurate. The name of the river is Broomridgedean Burn. You can leave your car by the side of the no-through road opposite. For the waterfall, you will see this worn signpost for Routin Linn Farm (different spelling again!). Walk along this farm track for 100 metres until you hear the sound of gushing water off to the left, then follow the rough path through the woods.
Alternatively you could walk to the waterfall from the village of Ford. You can find the route here.