Nicola here and today I'm talking about alphas but in a slightly different way. I’ve recently come back from a trip to Northumberland, in the far north of England. Northumberland is a history-lover’s paradise. It has more castles than any other county in England. It’s past has been shaped by violence and conflict: Viking raids, Scottish incursions, battles and rebellion. I was staying in the village of Bamburgh, in the shadow of the iconic Bamburgh castle, once the seat of the Anglo Saxon Kings of Northumbria.
I think of Northumberland as the land of ""alpha castles," big, strong and built to show power and military might. Sometimes you will come across fortified houses that have been given the title "castle" but when you look at them up against the big ones their pretty little crenellations look as though they will fall over at the first sight of a trebuchet. It was important that Northumberland's castles could withstand serious attack, at least until the 17th century when the threat from Scotland diminished.