"Jon Tait" - Autor bei Tredition.de

Jon Tait

Jon Tait was an agency sportswriter for the tabloids for over a decade and was the press officer at Gretna Football Club. He has also written a best-selling walks book on Northumberland. If he was going to get stuck up a mountain, he’d like Julia Bradbury to be there too.

Born in Northumberland, he now lives in Carlisle with his family and enjoys belting out a bit of early 1990s techno when he gets the chance, but also listens to the likes of The Doors, The Who, Seasick Steve, Happy Mondays, Beck, Grinderman and Hole.

He likes Levi jeans, Barbour coats, Swiss Army knifes and Zippo lighters and his writing influences include the likes of Hunter S. Thompson, Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey, Harry Pearson, Roberto Saviano, Poe Ballantine, Jimmy Breslin and Damon Runyon.


My Northumberland

Dead, red bracken and the tangled grey roots of heather on boggy moorsides, Cup and Ring marked rocks and the craa of a solitary black bird in the skeleton of a leafless gnarled tree. That’s what springs to mind when I think of my home village of Rothbury in Northumberland on the edge of the National Park.

Well, that and being dubbed overly-familiar with sheep at High School in the more cosmopolitan Morpeth, the colourful Carnivals of my youth in the 1970s, and the swirl of grey smoke from tabs sucked by the hard, heavily-lined faces of old men in flat caps and Tweed jackets that were all relations. There were lots of Taits in Rothbury.

But it is the proliferation of abandoned castles, bastle houses and pele towers that are scattered throughout the County that have burned deepest into my psyche; especially Warkworth, dominating high above the village where I played alone as a child while stopping at my grandparents and the feeling of warmth, familiarity and protection afforded by that pile of worn stones. My great, great, great Grandfather James Scott and his family had lived there in the Gatehouse as Keepers before the State took over care of the monument in the early 1900s.

The views out to the North Sea crashing onto golden but freezing cold beaches, the sway of long grass in the bracing winds and looking inland to the purple, brown and grey smudged rounded tops of the Cheviot hills and Scotland beyond. For Northumberland is frontier country; wild, somewhat barren, and heavy with history. Winter’s Gibbet, formerly a wooden head hung from a gallows on a hillside above Elsdon, the sombre silence of Flodden Field.

I went on a trip there as a child and remember distinctly thinking that I’d pick up and old sword or a helmet from the battle that had been left lying around. Rusted, maybe, but just sat there on the surface. The innocence of a rural upbringing where we built camps in the woods, raced bogies down steep hills and attempted jumps on our Grifter bikes like our hero Eval Knievel.

Those woods were ever present – the scent of wet mould and decaying mulch clinging to your school uniform as you spent a day skiving off, the adders basking on rocks or their spent skins like discarded condoms in the brown pine needles. Scaring ourselves with ghost stories in the descending gloom as the street lights of the village twinkled down in the black valley, with tales of Druids and Black Dogs and dead reivers.

For the riders of the Anglo-Scottish border have lived long in our heritage and collective consciousness where names like Black Jock, Nebless Clem and Archie Fire-the-Braes remain as fateful reminders for naughty children. If you don’t eat your greens, Adam Scott ‘The King of Thieves’ will come and get you. Where if you strain your eyes into the growing blue black, you may just make out the shape of a ghostly figure on horseback on the skyline.

The hills have long memories in Northumberland, and the names linger.

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