I was very happy when my new wellies arrived this morning. My much loved but ancient climbing boots had developed a split that meant that negotiating the Hampstead Heath mud without any of it gaining ingress was becoming increasingly challenging.
They are, as you can see, rather fine but their especial appeal over all the other wellies that I found on the internet was that they had ‘tractor soles’. Surprisingly, ‘grip’ does not seem to be a big thing with wellies and these were the only ones that I reckoned would get me through the Highgate mud flats without skidding.
They came from Grubs Boots in Bolton, are very high tech and arrived in a smart box with strict instructions not only about cleaning them regularly, but oiling them. To feed the natural rubber. Well now…. Baby oil or coconut oil they suggest. But given that my coconut oil is extra raw, virgin, organic and freetrade from Lucy Bee, I think I might be going for the baby oil option.
Anyhow, they are very comfortable and took me, on another beautiful sparkling afternoon, to Boudica’s mound which sits almost in the middle of Hampstead Heath. It is a grassy mound at the top of one of the meadows, topped with pine trees and was reputed to the the burial place of Boadicea (or Boudica) , the Celtic queen of the Iceni who rebelled against the Romans. Well, the Romans had reneged on the deal done with her husband, seized her lands, flogged her and ravished her daughters, so one cannot really blame her. Sadly she was defeated and killed in the battle – although not on Hampstead Heath. In the 1890s archeologist Charles Hercules Read conducted extensive excavations all around her mound – but found no trace. To be fair, no one has found any trace of her anywhere else either although a spot in King’s Cross station and a site in north Wales both also claim her.
However, the Hampstead mound, it was concluded, was probably an bronze age barrow or funerary monument – so at least someone is buried there.
Anyhow, the short walk around the mound below will tell you a bit more. If you really want to delve into its history – an excellent but a very long article in The New Yorker in September 2019 will tell you not only about Boudica but about the sheep who grazed on her mound that summer.