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Ty Ar Boudiged (Chambered Tomb)

Today we have been to Brest, to Oceanopolis, Brittany's biggest aquarium, our hotel in Vannes is about a hundred miles away. In between the two, more or less, is Ty Ar Boodigay. Ever since Moth and Jane went there nearly five years ago, the name has been rattling round my head, and, even if the precise picture of it had faded in my mind the memory of a perfect chambered cairn had remained, I must see it, I decided, next time I'm in the area (like I come here all the time?).

It is a drive of over forty miles from Brest to Brennelis and I'd be needing some petrol, so I chose to go along the main N12 duel carriageway from Brest to Morlaix, but there was not one petrol station (at home I'd have passed at least three), very close to running out I went into Morlaix, a big town, but not big enough to have a petrol station though. I thought of going to Barnenez cairn instead, but stuck to my guns, in the end I found a petrol station after much panicking and flustering, and soon we were heading south on the right road, with petrol a plenty. Bloody Frenchies.
Brennelis is a very small town in Brittany's rocky hilly interior, it is as hilly as it gets in Brittany but it's nothing like Snowdonia or owt, a bit like Bodmin moors high places.

The official car park quickly passed us by on our left, so we turned back and parked up, it was a big area but we were all alone. Nice.
The chamber is visible under a tree and close to the car, half a minutes walk. The back end of the chamber is arrived at first, something has been removed from the side of the chamber and you can scramble in through the wide gap.
But I like to walk all the way round before I go in, but all the way round can't be done because of a low wall that slightly truncates the barrow, that and a bit of graffiti inside are all that's wrong with it.
Around the front is the entrance, and it is a wide and welcoming entrance that beckons you in, I suspect that a cap stone or two may be missing from the very front. Inside it is dry, light and airy, and there is a standing stone. What ?
Where have I seen one of those before ? well Bryn Celli Ddu for a start, and like that one the stone is not structural in any way, very mysterious.
It's late in the afternoon now and it's almost time to go, it has been a perfect time here at Ty Ar Boudiket, a picnic would be ideal, a cold beer or two sublime.
Swallows squealing round, warm dappled sunlight filters down through the trees, it is lovely lovely lovely, I am very sad to have to leave, but I'm already looking forward to the next time , and the holidays not over just yet.

Kergadiou Menhirs (Standing Stones)

Just 8km away from Kerloas, these two sites were very high on my wish list, the 1st and 3rd tallest stones in Brittany. There was much more in the area I wanted to see, but these damn French roads are perfectly designed to take you in the opposite direction to the way you want to go. After the big Aquarium at Brest (titter) we got horribly messed about, I've developed a special hatred for French road designers, they are all manner of unrepeatable
swear words. A pox upon them.
But, the ancient Bretons must be applauded for their stone shifting efforts, it is nothing short of superhuman. Few places in Britain or the rest of the world can be compared to Brittany. It is the stuff of dreams come true. The biggest stones in the world, the highest concentration of stones and dolmens anywhere. One cannot enthuse about the place enough.
The French have tried really hard to make the rest of the place a nightmare though, they've taken all the best ideas the modern age has to offer then fluffed it up royally.

Oh yes the stones, they're allright I suppose.

Trip advisor indeed.

Parking is easy, finding the signposted duo is easy. Eric elected to go barefoot, he's turned a bit feral so far from home. From the corner of the field the up right menhir is arrived at first, it is only a little shorter than Kerloas and Dol, but you'd need a tape measure and some extending ladders to prove it.
Tall and lean and made of stone, it is a perfect example of a menhir.
But the other stone has had an accident, it's fallen over, not all the way though, you can get onto the stone and walk all the way to it's tip, thus making an inspection of the tip of the stone ultra easy. Eric and me sat with our legs dangling over the edge, swinging back and forth, like kids do. We stayed until someone else came, a little man with a big camera, over compensating some might say, we gave him the field and headed off to Morlaix, after getting turned around in Brest (tiiter) again.

Kerloas (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Kerloas, the field of sadness, grief or mourning, which ever meaning you take it is not a happy place.
But today it is a very happy place, I have the stone all to myself, but should we call it a stone ? it is made of stone, granted, but a tall thin mountain would be more like it.
Is this the tallest standing stone in the whole world ? excepting Egyptian obelisks, which to my mind don't count. If it isn't, ive yet to hear of a bigger one. Some say it is 9.5 meters high, which is exactly what they say of Champ Dolent menhir, so it is equal first place, but then Kerloas has been truncated, cut short by as much as two meters, the broken bits apparently carted away by local farmer.

As I walk around I cant help smiling at the incredulous hugeness of it, 350 tonnes, dragged over 3km and then stood upright. Blammo, is your mind intact, nowhere near.
The two bumps carved on its lower flanks are very intriguing, his and hers fertility rubbing points, tosh I'd say, I tried, I'm too short by nearly a foot. So I decided it was for medicinal purposes, I rubbed my back where I had my operation and I'm glad to say that it does not hurt at all, it could just be good doctormanship instead though.

Not far from the big car park, very easy to find, well, your not going to miss it are you.
I combined it with a trip to Oceanopolis, Brittany's biggest aquarium, the kids loved it.

Mane Lud (Tumulus (France and Brittany))

It was getting late now and I was on my way back to the hotel, but as I was driving past I saw a sign saying Mane Lud Dolmen, and like I said, when a dolmen throws itself in front of you, it is impossible to resist a quick look, and it was I'm afraid to say a very quick look.
I came at it from the opposite direction to Moth and Jane, who seem to have been every where around here. The parking place is large, room for twenty cars at least. The path goes off towards some houses, it takes maybe five minutes from car to dolmen. It is a weird path, going where you don't expect it to, it ended in a small cul de sac, the dolmen is just round the corner. The mound is massive, this is another one of Copes Carnac Grand Tumuli. But the chamber can be accessed now, and it's a doozey. Roofed over by a whopping but broken capstone, the chamber is accessed via some modern steps at the far end of the big tumulus. The property next door has built their shed right next to the chamber, it forms one side of the passage into the chamber. It was really getting dark now and I didn't have time to inspect the interior thoroughly, if I did I would have seen some faded ancient carvings. Oh well, next time, for there will be a next time, ive still only seen half of what the Carnac region has to offer.

Er-Grah (Cairn(s))

Our fantastic Mr Cope groups Er Grah together with six other big tumuli, calling them the Carnac Grand tumuli, it is a phrase I cannot find elsewhere (granted I haven't tried very hard) so it must be one of his own, possibly.
If it is of the same ilk as Mane er Hroek and the tumulus St Michel then the chamber would have never been able to be entered, they buried the chamber beneath tonnes of Cairn with no passage, so no getting in.
The chamber here, is just visible, the capstone sits proudly just above the cairn. The capstone is again taken from a toppled menhir, but whether it is from Le Grand menhir Brise is a matter for discussion.
There is still no way of getting under the capstone, nor even to try and peak through any gaps as there is no cairn climbing allowed. I know ive sneaked in and there is no one here to tell me off, but some sensitivities remain, and anyway, I'm trying to keep my head down.
The cairn is a massive construction, even now, but originally it would have been much higher, perhaps twice as high as the capstone. Much stone robbing has occurred.
My advice is to get here early, be the first through the door, pay your money, stay a while, and don't be afraid to stray onto the grass. Bloody Frenchies.

Table des Marchants (Chambered Cairn)

Due to sneaking in after hours there would be no getting into the Table des Marchants, which is a shame, I tried the gate blocking the entrance but it was of course locked. Ive been in before, but there was a sign saying no photography, like an idiot I obeyed the sign now I have no photos of it's wondrous interior.

But is it wondrous ? Older pictures of it show it as a simple, massive, but simple dolmen. But today there is a long passage, impressive entrance, and strange stepped cairn covering it all, it all looks great, but its very modern. The dolmen was covered solely to protect the carvings, so, what they've done is erect a modern folly over an awesome megalithic site, I think I might have preferred it the way it was.

Grand Menhir Brise (Standing Stone / Menhir)

From Mane Rutual I walked up the road to the gate where you can look over it at the three marvels here, Er Grah, Table Des Marchands and Le Grand Menhir Brise. From the gate the big broken stone is tantalisingly close, there was no one around, so, like a very bad boy I jumped over the gate in a trice and had the trio to myself.
If I'd paid to go in I wouldn't have been able to walk on the grass, touch the stone, or even have a good look around it. But as it's after closing time there would be no getting into the Marchants table.
It's all about give and take, ive given Brittany over a thousand pounds, I wanna see the stones and no little gate is gonna stop me. Am I a bad ass or just determined?

Le Grand Menhir Brise was the biggest standing stone in France, possibly in Europe, only Egyptian obelisks are taller, but I don't really class them as standing stones. If you know of a bigger one please let me know. It may have stood 14 meters high, if it ever stood at all. Some parts of the broken stone have been removed to be capstones for nearby and not so nearby dolmens.
The four remaining pieces are most impressive, and no matter where you are in the complex your eye keeps being drawn back to the great broken stone.
Three pieces are still in such a position that you can see they still lie where they fell, but the fourth and biggest piece has somehow twisted around and away from the other three. It is difficult to imagine where the parts that were removed came from as the four parts seem to fit together.
It is a most perplexing and mysterious thing. Oh, and it's very very big.

Mané Rutuel (Passage Grave)

The kids had made some friends at the hotel and their parents granted me two hours leave to go see some stones, so with no small amount of glee I bombed it over to Locmariaquer. Followed the signs for Table des Marchands, went straight past it, turned right at the cemetery down a very thin road until I saw the sign for Mane Rutuel. Parking here is precarious to say the least, there is not much room at all.
A path leads you in between some houses and past their gardens, there was someone at the burial chamber before me, so I strolled as slowly as I could. That's the thing about sites around Carnac, you very rarely get the place to yourself unless your there out of season, but I guarantee that they never stay long. The young English family didn't even go in, what's the point ?
This long Allee Couverte sits in an area barely big enough to contain it, there is just enough room for three to walk abreast around it. After walking around it I bent low and passed through the entrance.
There is a lot of concrete here, more concrete than in any other site ive seen here, it's not particularly pretty. The passage opens out slightly into a round-ish chamber, tall enough to stand upright in. But beyond the round-ish chamber is the concrete chamber, it seems cut off from the rest of the monument, like it wasn't used at all, almost all the wall stones are concrete, graffitied and littered. It is best appreciated from the outside, where the concrete is almost invisible.
The massive capstone that sits at the end of the passage is truly gargantuan, the carved human figure on it's under side was not visible to me, mostly because I didn't know it was there. Was this capstone one of the menhirs from the alignment up the road ? it is very rectangular, unlike most other Carnac Menhirs. So I don't know.
But that is where I'm going now, even though it's closed for the day.

Mané Braz (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

As we attained the furthest reaches of the Kerzerho alginments a sign quietly and confidently pointed the way to Mane Braz. I cant resist it, how far can it be down some footpath, not far surely. We quickly use an adjacent corn field for it's universally accepted "other use" and set off down the thin tree lined pleasant foot path. Every now and then a stone can be seen in the trees, soon there are a dozen or so stones off to our right, these upon later inspection turn out to be the Alignment de Kerjean. We take a quick look but soon are back on the path to Mane Braz.
Ten minutes in and we come to a crossroads in the forest, we go straight on, well, I thought, this is definitely further than I anticipated.
Following a couple far in front we veer off the main path, there is no sign, but it has that feeling.
The big main dolmen comes into view first, it is a large complicated affair. Two entrances there are, one in what I presume to be the front, and one on its left hand side, it seems very much intact, there is even cairn material clutching to it's sides.
That I thought would be it, but there's more, a second dolmen is just twenty feet away, with its unroofed entrance facing the same way as the side entrance to the other dolmen. This second dolmen has two capstones, but this maybe broken.
There's more, a third very low passage oriented in the same direction as the others, only one capstone remains at it's far end, it is very low.
Then there is a little bit more, beyond the third low dolmen is another low passage leading to an unroofed chamber, it is also very low, because of the undergrowth I couldn't tell which way the passage went , but I think it went in the opposite direction of the other three entrance ways.
But the big main dolmen was the best of the bunch, apparently the whole group would have been enclosed and covered by a single mound, how cool would that be.

You get so much out of this place, it is a show stealer, we stayed too long and had to jog back as my daughter was left in the car with no more company than an ipod.

Alignements de Kerzerho

From Dolmen du Rondosec I carried on up the D781 towards Erdeven, it is impossible to miss the stone rows as the road goes right through them, the tall stones will be crowding round on your left and right as you drive through them, extracting from me various whooa's and woww's. These are impressive.

There is a large free car park, and the stones are right next to it. The stones are fence free, those wicked Frenchies have fenced off most of the Carnac stone rows but these are warm and welcoming, and always approachable. I mingled and wandered freely, there are many tall and shapely stones, but unless your looking down a row they can appear higgledy piggledy and random. Understandably I soon went stone blind, a small stone kept following me round asking strange questions, it said it was called Eric, I told it I had a son called Eric, he was here somewhere.
To escape the stone blindness, and the other people we walked off down a shady footpath, there is I think just one row left to follow through the trees. Over the hedge I could see a team of six or so metal detectorists. I wondered if they were officialdom or shameless antiquity thieves, then I wondered if there was much difference.
The path we were following soon widened out and revealed one of the best places in megalithic Brittany.
The shady trees let enough light through their thinly leaved canopy so it wasn't glum and oppressive, they were also tall, but only just taller than the standing stones that stood beneath them. There was only two standing up but there was also two lying down. they were all giants, these are Les Geants de Kerzerho, and they are mighty.
One of the fallen stones is very rectangular and blockish, but the other one is very worn on its top edge, now that it's laid flat it's got worn some more, now it resembles a mini canyon system. Only you can get close to it, onto it, into it, usually it's many feet above your head but you can get close to a part of stone hunting that is usually out of reach.
The tallest stone looks as though it's about to fall apart at any moment, struck by lightning maybe, or re-ercted and stuck back together, I dont know, but it is a good one.
We keep on walking, but soon we run out of stones, there is one last giant and then the foot path goes off to who knows where.
Well a sign points to Mane Bras, "ooh" I think,
"I wonder how far that is?"
It was quite far actually, but the stone rows of Kerjean are on the way so it wasn't dull.

Dolmens de Rondossec (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

From Plouharnel, take the D781 north west to Erdeven. In a few hundred meters a sign will point you left down a small side road, the Dolmens are behind the houses of the main road, parking is right next to the big mound.
When we got there, there was some Germans looking round, so I got out of the car slowly and quietly, so as not to spook them. I strolled round the perimeter of the round sandy mound, it's about twenty meters across. Soon enough fritz was had completed his perusal and gone off back to his home-made motor home, and I was left on my own. I could hear the kids laughing in the car, Swifts screamed and reeled about overhead, the sun was no longer at it's hottest, all was right with the world.
The big mound contains three Dolmens within it's structure. The eastern most of the three internal structures is mostly covered by capstones, within the end chamber is a small side cell in the corner.
The middle tomb is is perhaps the best and biggest. The chamber is pretty much a wider extension of the passage, the capstone is big and the floor is dry, so I sit and enjoy the comparative silence.
The third eastern most tomb is later and much smaller than the other two. The chamber is unroofed and full of earth, it would not be more than three feet wide. The capstones still left over the passage are so low that no egress is possible.
What a fantastic thing this is, so very very old and still so intact, despite the sunny seaside town nipping at it's heels.

Alignements de Moulin de St Pierre

There is a footpath from the Cromlech to these alignments but if you are vigorously opposed to walking get the car turned round and turn left back onto Rue de Kerbourgnec then at the T junction turn left and the stones are nearly two hundred meters on your left.
I promised the kids there might well be stones near the beach but there will be no walking, so far the stones have not disappointed. There was no walking at all for them as they are staying in the car, leaving me to wander hither and thither with the only contention being some young Frenchies smoking an electronic cigar on the bench at the side of the plot, but every time I wanted to take a picture there was always a wide stone to block them out.
Twenty three or four stones stand arrayed in five interrupted rows, arranged in a fan shape. But today they align on nothing more than modern suburbia.

These are very good stones, tall, wide, twisted and gnarled, they are very shapely stones, very bright stones , it seemed to me they would not look out of place at Avebury somewhere. One stone reminded me of Maen Penddu in North Wales. I wonder how many have been lost, I read somewhere that they once went down into the sea and out again the other end of the bay, but seeing as that's eleven miles away near Arzon, it's preposterous.......isn't it ?
A great and mellow site, and a corner shop down the road, probably.

Cromlech de Kerbourgnec (Cromlech (France and Brittany))

I came directly from Dolmen Roh an Aod, down the D768 whilst looking for left turn Rue de Kerbourgnec, then it's immediately left again into stone circle avenue/Rue Du Cromlech, just say what you see.
Parked on the road outside some nice houses across the road from the stones, no prizes for spotting the stones here.
This is both amazing and terrible, look at all those stones, there's more than enough to get your megalithic pulse going, they are big enough to demand respect, if this were complete it would be astonishing. But.
But look at what they've done to it, it's been incomplete for so long that they aren't even sure whether it was a complete stone circle or a horseshoe open to the east.
The house or what ever place inside the circle stops you from getting in the circle, you can only see the stones from one side, the fence is so close to them.
But then i'm used to the wilder parts of our country, where you can walk for miles with out even seeing a house, all these houses are, well, they're undesirable, to say the least, unless of course you live there.
But the stones are ace, and it's brilliant to see them at all.

Dolmen de Roh-an-Aod (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

JC's directions got me there perfectly and without incident, as you pass the very small right hand turn off you can see the dolmen, but keep going to the large apparently free car park.
How utterly ridiculous and yet completely brilliant this strange little dolmen is. I cant imagine what saved it from the greedy little stone wrecking paws of the local inhabitants, lightning strike ? conscientious clergy man ? or loud booming words from above ? what ever, it is here, and one would hope for a lot longer.
I have not seen a dolmen constructed in this way before, most curious, the entire edifice is corbelled. Some burial chambers have corbelled roofing and we think that's pretty good, but the builders of Roh-an-Aod decided to make the whole structure a lesson in corbelling. You cant help trying to guess how many roof stones are missing, we got it to be anywhere between one and three. Was there a passage ? or was it always straight into the large circular chamber.

When Eric and me got there, a car was being unloaded into the house with the external stairs that one has to climb in order to get "that" picture, looking down into it. So we waited and he drove off, but the house is far from deserted these days, so a quick up and down, vroooaaum, and were done. Were off to the beach now, one that just happens to be by a stone circle and some stone rows, vroooaaum.

Larcuste cairns (Chambered Cairn)

It's very easy to find this site, it's off the D767, follow signs for Larcuste (Google dictionary wants to change this to Testicular). It's a tiny village, when the road turns hairpin sharp left, stop and park at the corner of the field on your right, room for maybe three cars.
Barely a five minute walk around a field next to a field full of corn, they like corn fields round here.
Then there they are, two little beauties. There used to be, once upon a time, four cairns here but two are no longer showing at all above ground, and the two that are here have been restored, some time ago.
But it doesn't matter, I love these two, they remind me very much of some Cornish sites, Bosilack, Brane or maybe it's the flora that grows upon them, either way they are sweet and beautiful little cuties.
They are arranged north and south of each other upon a very slight hill top, they call this a hill top ?
I'll show them when I get home.
The southern cairn is entered from the east, a passage leads for maybe twenty five feet, off both sides are three chambers, six in all, in case my descriptive powers are too limited. The three on the south side of the cairn still have their capstones, on the north side one chamber is covered the next is half covered and the third is not covered .

The north cairn has two passages entered from the east again, leading to separate circular chambers. The southern chamber is not covered at all, but the northern chamber is, it has a large undulating capstone with two worn basins upon it. there are also supposed to be some vague carvings of crooks and serpents, but I never saw anything. Dated to 4000BC, so that's old, very old, but still not the oldest, nor is it even close.

Kergonfalz (Allee-Couverte)

Our Hotel was on the outskirts of Vannes, and it seemed when looking at the map that no matter where you went, in any direction you like, and you can find a Dolmen or a stone row or a standing stone to stop off at on the way. This Dolmen was on the way to the Carting track so I took a right turn off the D767 going north to Locmine turning at a sign saying Bignan. The Allee Couverte appeared right next to the road on my right hand side. Parking was within ten feet of the site.
Leaving the kids in the car I climbed up the bank into the woods, there is an information board, which surprised me as it's not really a well known place, I had to add the site myself. There are only three capstones left I think and they are not perfectly in place, you cannot get into this burial chamber, robbing me of one of the best parts of a burial chamber, getting in.
I was glad I got to see this place despite it's half destruction, but I was quite galled to find on the portal that there are two burial chambers here, the other is in the woods across the road no more than a hundred yards away. It is not an allee couverte but of a type that is more of a tumulus with exposed chamber, wish i'd known.
Next time.

Dolmens de Mane Kerioned (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

Situated right next to the road, the D768 from Auray to Ploharnel, and less than half a mile north east from the roundabout, cant be missed.
Has anyone else noticed how half the places in Brittany begin with either of two syllables, Plo 'n' ker, can we read into this ancient communications with people of Peckham. Probably not.
If the D768 is in fact an old Roman road I cant understand why it runs nicely and harmlessly by, if the Romans were so very bad why didn't they destroy all three Dolmens?
Did you get that? three Dolmens? three of them in an area no bigger than a big back yard.
The underground one is arguably the most interesting, the stairs that go down to it is only two feet from the side of the road, careful, it's also five or six feet below you too. Passing into the chamber we notice that some one has been chalking in the ancient carvings, these carvings are more abstract than the ones ive seen so far.
The chamber is dry and dark, the sound of passing traffic is muted, if you listen carefully you could perhaps hear mothers voice and distant music.
Above ground you might mistake the massive capstone for a random half buried rock, from some angles there appears to be only two Dolmens here, the underground tomb is most interesting.
Right next to it is the more knackered of the two allee couverts, it is low and only has two capstones. But just a few meters away is the big impressive one, it still has four capstones in place and one of them is really big. Some allee couverts are very long but these seem to have been quite short ones.
There is, it has been said, the remains of a stone circle here too. But i'm just not sure, four stones are all I could see and three of them were in a row not an arc. When these Dolmen were complete and perfect, would all three have been covered by the same mound or would they have all had their separate mounds.
This is a cool and mysterious place that brings to mind lots of questions, as is the whole of the Carnac area. Back home if you see a big stone near a stone circle you cant help wondering if it is some thing, but in Carnac it is usually always something, your just falling over somethings, they are everywhere.

Mané Keriavel (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

Parking is on the D768, right next to the Mane Kerioned Dolmen complex. But then you need to cross the busy road and then walk off down the road that turns off the D768, for about 100 yards. looking for a track going off to the left and a hand written fading sign saying Dolmens. Follow the main track straight to the honesty box covered dolmen.
The evening light was shining through the trees and the bird life was going for it vocally, the burial chamber was oh so good, but, good lord but the kids aren't half messing about. If we were at Stonehenge they'd have chucked us out, but we're not, we're in some woods completely alone, the stones are ours, all ours.
There is enough of it to make it quite an easy matter of recreating the whole edifice in ones imagination. You could remove a few more stones and then you'd have three quite perfect dolmens, the kind they have in Wales and Cornwall. One of the capstones is very large, reminding me of Browne's dolmen in Ireland, it's not that big but it does remind me.
Soon the kids have tired them selves out and lain down on the grass, I take my photos and get under the capstones, job done. Lets go and see some more.

Guihallon Menhir (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Today we have mostly been Karting and to Chateau de la Hunaudaye (A really good castle ruin), with a burial chamber on the way there and back. Then on the way from the race track to the castle I spied a road sign pointing to a menhir. I'll have a look on the way back I told myself.
So after the obligatory Pancakerie, I turned left and followed signs for Menhir de Guihalon, it wasn't on the list, but you cant resist a chance encounter can you ?
We pulled into a small car park, parking for at least ten, should be a good stone then I thought. We quietly padded down the path through the woods, trying to be as quiet as possible because not ten minutes ago a big deer ran across the road in front of us and , well, if your quiet and observant you might see another one. I'll try anything to keep 'm quiet for ten minutes.
The stone was a big one, a really big one, then, ooh hang on I know this one, ive seen pictures of it somewhere else, Google Earth or the Portal maybe. I count it as a score and start the slow circuit round the mighty menhir whilst Eric sits quietly shushing us twenty yards away in the woods. Philli keeps nattering on to me about some boy band, maybe, but i'm not really listening so she picks a rock, sits on it and watches.
It is, Burl says, five meters tall, he also calls it Tregomar. He also, rather infuriatingly for me, mentions two other very nearby menhirs, two, and two and a half meters high, poot, I'd have looked for them if I'd known.
But really the menhir of Guihalon is enough for the megalith lover all on it's own, the woods lend a mysterious atmosphere, the other rocks around the menhir make the place feel more like a temple.
The stone is big enough to have several different kinds of lichen and mosses, up one side it's orange, up another bright green. Oh, and it's really big, but ive mentioned that already.


Really big.

Tumulus de Rocher (Tumulus (France and Brittany))

To my mind the word tumulus conjures up images of often low grassy chamberless mounds, but this most certainly is not what I'm used to.
Heading towards Le Bono (no relation) on the D101 go over the bridge and turn right at the sign posted roundabout more or less as soon as you enter the non Dublin related town. The tumulus is down this road on the right, you cant miss the big car park.

I decided to get out early before the kids get up and see this one, and as it was a beautiful morning and the car park was empty it was looking to be a good one. It's a short walk of fifty yards through pine woodland to the tumulus. I'll keep using the word tumulus, but only with a hoot of derision, and a snort of superiority, they might as well call it a pile of stones.
I entered the clearing in the woods into glaring early morning sunshine, which as you'll know is the best kind, the entrance to the mound is facing me, that's a south east direction, vaguely with the summer solstice sunrise.
Torch in hand I enter the passage with a stoop, having not done my homework properly I didn't know if there was any art work in there or not so I only half inspected the wall stones. Like Pierre Plats the passage bends to the left, well, here it's more of a right angle turn really, but still, do all angled passage graves bend to the left, which way does yours bend?
Sitting at the end of the dry passage in the dark, it was quiet, cool of temperature, and cool of demeanor too. I mean how cool is it to travel somewhere in a 21st century vehicle through a 20th century town and in less than a minute your back in the stone age, in a place where few stone-agers have trod, or sat.
But there is more to this ridge than just the big burial chamber, so I exit the tumulus and stroll north east to the information board, in doing so I've just walked past three Iron age Tombettes or tombelles. The one closest to the info board is what we'd see as a tumulus, a low grassy mound, but the two between it and the big one have kerb stones round them, unfortunately they have been cordoned off and the undergrowth left to grow, and grow it has. I decide to walk off in the other direction, south west. Here right next to the big one is what looks to be the best of the four definite tombettes I found. This one is a circular grassy platform, with a slight trench in it's centre, terminating at the circles edge with a recumbent and two flankers, which is weird because just over there is four boulders in a kind of none circular circle.
Further into the woods are some big earthfast boulders, one of them has a carved linear groove upon it, another had the dubious pleasure of having me sit on it for a while whilst happily surveying the trees and seeing a Jay and a small bird of prey shooting after an even smaller scared little birdie.
Now having read the information board I can say that there are some carved stones in the passage of the big one, specifically it says the twelfth stone on the left going in has a carving on it. It is rather faint and not as good as Pierre Plats' but I think I found at least one more. On the right, ten feet or so going in is a lovely rippled bubbly chocolate kind of stone, it is I presume natural but the one next to it is I think definitely carved as well.

Only one person came past whilst I was there, Frenchie called over to me and said something in his native tongue, seeing as I know as much Klingon as I do french it was totally incomprehensible to me. Perhaps he was asking if I had a torch, or maybe watch out for the werewolf.
Then a woman and her teenage kids came up the path, but I've had my go and it's time to go any way, were going karting this afternoon. I wonder if there's anywhere good to call in at on the way.
Ha ! I know there is.
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After visiting over a thousand ancient places and driving between fifteen to twenty thousand miles every year I can only conclude that I'm obsessed with these places, and finding this website seven years ago only compounded that obsession, at least I'm not alone anymore.

My favourite places are:

Ring of Brodgar
Callanish
Balnauran of Clava
Torhouskie
Swinside
Nine stones close
Bryn Celli Ddu
The Druids circle (penmaenmawr)
HafodyGors Wen
Gwal y Filiast
Grey Wethers
Boscawen Un
La Roche au Fees
Drombeg
Uragh
Talati De Dalt

and these are only the ones that immediatly spring to mind, so many stones and not enough lifetimes.

My TMA Content: