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If the ford was at the Carrock, it must have been constructed after III 29411
On the Great River Anduin, either at the Carrock or at the Old Ford some twenty miles downriver
Maintained by Men
Lay some miles westward of the house of Beorn
Carrock is pronounced 'ca'rrock'
The meaning of Carrock is uncertain (see note 2 to the entry for Carrock for a discussion)
Other names
Possibly another name for the Old Ford (see text)


About this entry:

  • Updated 31 May 2021
  • This entry is complete

Ford of Carrock

A crossing of the upper Anduin

Map of the Ford of Carrock
Two possible locations of the Ford of Carrock2
Two possible locations of the Ford of Carrock2

The Carrock was large rock that stood in the middle of the Anduin's stream, some twenty or thirty miles to the north of the Old Ford on the way to the Forest Road through Mirkwood. From the eastern bank of the river, a well-maintained ford led to the stony island, and a set of carved steps climbed to its summit. As late as III 2941, when Bilbo and his companions came to the Carrock on their journey to Erebor, the crossing from the western bank to the rock was impassably deep and turbulent.

In the following years, it seems that the Beornings had extended the eastern ford across the entire Anduin at the Carrock. In the closing years of the Third Age, at least, the descendants of Beorn were said to keep the Ford of Carrock safe and open, though they charged high tolls from travellers crossing the river.

In the index to Unfinished Tales, Christopher Tolkien proposes an alternative interpretation: that the 'Ford of Carrock' across the entire Anduin was not the same ford as that described in The Hobbit, but was actually a reference to the Old Ford some twenty miles to the south. This explanation fits the established geography rather better (the Old Ford was already a complete crossing that lay on an established route) though on this interpretation, it's difficult to account for the transposition of the name from the Carrock itself to another ford many miles away.



If this ford was literally at the Carrock, as its name suggests, then it must have been completed after III 2941. That was the year of the Quest of Erebor, and when Thorin and Company came to the Carrock, there was explicitly no full crossing of Anduin there. This is the period shown on the timeline for this entry. However, if the Ford of Carrock was instead another name for the Old Ford, somewhat to the south of the Carrock itself, then the ford would have been much older, potentially dating back into antiquity.


The name 'Ford of Carrock' seems to imply that the ford was literally at the Carrock (A), but it is at least possible that the name referred to the Old Ford to the south (B). Note that, by the end of the Third Age, the Old Forest Road was no longer directly usable due to flooding at its eastern end, which might help to explain to the establishment of a new ford upriver at the Carrock.

See also...

Grimbeorn the Old


About this entry:

  • Updated 31 May 2021
  • This entry is complete

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