This is the first in an occasional series of posts I’ll be making about the myth and folklore of the region I love, the place I was born and still live today, Northumberland.
Not far from Rothbury lies one of the most starkly beautiful and fabled areas of Northumberland, the Simonside Hills. Rightly famed amongst walkers and photographers for their stunning vistas, the hills of Simonside hold another piece of, largely obscure, notoriety; one that any dice based fantasy gamers amongst you might be familiar with. Duergar!
The dwarfs of Simonside are said to delight in leading travellers astray, particularly after nightfall. Lighting their torches, they would stay ahead of the confused walker, leading them deeper and deeper into the unlit Northumberland wilderness, until they fell into a bog or plunged from a precipice to their death. Legend doesn’t make clear exactly what the Duergar actually do with the corpses they acquire in this way, but it’s fair to speculate that their love of, and talent for, magic means that parts of a murder victim’s corpse are never going to go to waste. Of course, the moors can be a barren and forbidding place, where fresh meat is hard to come by…
Credit for the stunning photograph above goes to Andrew Curtis, along with my thanks for licensing that image for reuse under a creative Commons license. Please visit his geograph.org.uk profile, linked below in the CC attribution, to see some truly gorgeous shots of rural Northumberland in all its glory.