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You could combine a trip up to these cairns with a visit to Pen-y-Gaer hill fort, but I didn't fancy the long walk back, so I went back to the car and drove closer and walked from there.
There, being the small dead end lane that runs west/east south of the mountain. I parked the car in an unused and overgrown gateway, so far so good, but then the footpath marked on my map has disappeared, it says the path goes past a farm house called Llethr-ddu, so I trust in the ordnance survey and go that way, despite a complete lack of footpath signs and stiles, I felt a bit trespassery here, but I tuned it out and concentrated more on the scenery. Mostly the scenery consists of The Rivals, ie; Tre'r Ceiri and Mynydd Carnguwch, the loveliest of all Welsh hills.
As I leave the farm house behind me I'm passing along some old walls with frankly massive boulders in them, dismantled dolmens I'm sure.... not.
Getting higher, the hill fort I went to earlier rises above the near horizon, provided by Moel Bronmiod, itself topped with, no, not a cairn but a large Dartmoorish rocky tor, I'd quite like to be up there, but you cant go everywhere at once, though I've heard of a man who knows someone who can.
As I get up towards the top the ground gets distinctively more rocky, progress can be quicker and easier but more dangerous, i'm about 9/10ths of the way up and my daughter sends me a text saying were going out for tea with Grandma, I've got three and a quarter hours to get home, well screw that I decide, an intense flurry of texts ensue, a bizarre thing to be doing in such a place as this, and problem sorted, they'll all wait for me to get home. I am the man.
One tenth further on and i'm confronted with two of the best yet badliest? treated hill top cairns I've ever had the pleasure to behold.
Some dense twat has built two walls over them, clearly and depressingly out of the cairns themselves.
The big cairn has a wall run right through it, either side of the wall is a canyon where the stones have been stolen.
The smaller cairn has two walls meet right on top of it, making photographing the whole cairn impossible. One side of a wall has a very small amount of cairn, it was this bit I saw first, I thought "hunh?" then looked over the wall and saw much more on the other side, but a wall runs through that as well. All very bad.
The culprit should be chastised, extremely chastised, take a moment, stop reading and think of something horrible we could, nay should do to him, it was bound to be a he, probably American.
But it's not all bad, despite the intrusions the cairns are still there, large and comforting, and the stone that has been robbed hasn't gone far.
I decide a walkabout is now due, so I skip lightly across towards the summit, I've also decided that getting to the rocky toppest of Gyrn Ddu's summits, can wait for another time, but just below it is a grassy knoll that would make a good place to get the big cairns with all of Snowdonia behind, plus another cairn is over this way, if it's not too far I'll go take a look.
It's probably about now that I should mention the view from up here, it's pretty good.
Nope, I cant do it, the view is impeccable, the eyes are glued to the Lleyn peninsula, The Rivals vie for attention among themselves, the over quarried one losing every time. Mynydd Carnguwch, is the sweetest most perfectly shaped hill in the known world, it fits in the vision like something soft and warm in the hand. Wow.
Time to go, I skirt around Gyrn Ddu's summit until the the other cairn comes into view, it is indeed too far, a quick zoom through the camera and I'm away, stumbling with shaking legs, not looking forward to the frantic drive home, but so glad I took the time to get over to this under achieving part of North Wales.
I was right to be not looking forward to the drive home the A55 has of late been over ridden with cars going no where important, and three road accidents had to be gotten through, who is passing these idiots, any idiot can pass his test, but not anyone can remain incident free for 25 years and still be doing five times as many miles per year. Grumpy!
I parked the car on the drive up to Tyddyn-mawr farm, not as bad as it sounds, there was a load of big black silage bags to hide behind, there was no one around, and the driveway doubles as a bridleway, or so my map says, there are no signs saying so. Besides the fort is only half a mile from here, and I've got to walk through the farm to get there, if I see anyone I shall have a word, but I didn't, so no problem.
In fact I never saw anyone on the hills all day long, but then this is quite out of the way for Snowdonia, if it's in the national park at all.
After passing through and over several gates i'm out on the hills, I cant see the fort now because of big rocky outcrops to the forts south, so I make for these. From here I had a good look about, far to the south is Tremadog Bay, further west is the Lleyn peninsula, and just below me a fox rushes through the bracken chasing down some lunch. Not bad.
From the rocks it is a short but steep walk up to the fort. Two Buzzards circle above me, screeching at each other, or me.
It was hard going, but eventually I'm at the top, I can see my car far below, despite it's lack of redness, it looks more than half a mile.
Firstly I go directly to the top, and sit, but i'm plagued by large furry bee like flies, theyre so slow I can knock them out of the sky with my hand, god there's loads, they're like flies round, no wait that wont work.
I abandon the summit and take my tour of the defences, at the north end the stony ex wall has got covered in grass, but as I move along the grass is gone and a wide spread of iron age walling, that does not stand at all, moving on.
Far below me I can see the hut circle marked on the map but uncharacteristically I checked Coflein before I left and found it to be Roman, so I didn't go down, which was good because I couldn't be arsed.
Next is the fairly obvious entrance, facing west to the next hill along Moel Bronmiod.
Modern walling stands on top of the ancient fallen spread of wall at the southern end of the fort. Also at the far south end of the fort are a few hut circles, or rather circular platforms cut into the hills slope, some have big stones where the entrances are. I only saw three or four, Coflein says there's a dozen or so.
There are no fortifications on the east side, it is far too steep to storm the fort from here, from below it looks like any tall rocky hill, the big impressive wall faces only west, Tre'r Ceiri, the city of giants is that way.
Moel Y Gest hill fort is visible south east over near Cricceth.
Carn Bentyrch, Carn Fadryn, Carn Boduan are a few other forts seen from here.
Absolutely cracking site with epic views all round.
No fieldnotes since the re-erection, how very odd.
I parked at the gate by the big fancy "look what we did" information board, and took a slow walk down to the dolmen, we had the place to ourselves but the roar of many children playing in the woods drowned out all but the most steadfast of thoughts.
It was a gorgeous evening and we would soon be treated to another jaw dropping Cornish sunset so I decided we would stay until the glorious end, the show would not be over til the fat lady had sung her song.
The stones looked lovely in the setting sunshine, and definitely look better standing up, they did a pretty good job, it's doubtful I'd have come to see a pile of stones half covered in nettles, but this is very good, natures helping out though.
By all accounts, well just one really, this dolmen has a complicated floor, other smaller stones still lie around unexplained, the curve of angled pebbles at the front? of the dolmen are remnants of the paving, or so I'm left to presume, over 2000 finds from the dig and now there's a time capsule down there too.
Almost unbelievably the archaeologists say that the stones were never covered in a mound of any sort, but that you could walk under it even in the neolithic, I cant believe that, an open air burial chamber ?, burial chambers are supposed to keep the remains of the illustrious departed safe, it would be like building a car with no wheels, a plane with no wings, an interstellar mission with no murderous robot. Nope.
We're interrupted a couple of times by photographic opportunists from what looks to be a caravan site in the adjacent trees, but we're sitting at the front on the purpose made sitting stone, out of the way.
Here it comes, the sun is going down, (photo) going, (photo) going (photo) gone.
There are three clumps of nettles that seem not to have been mentioned by the sustainable trust, each clump has a squarish pit dug into the ground and in each pit is a large stone. The only thing I can come up with is Sweetcheat mentioned a nearby stone circle once, I think, maybe it was a dream.
Just like my whole time in Cornwall.
I parked by a field gate just down the road from the gate you have to climb over to get to the stones. Over the gate and the stones are easily seen about a hundred yards away by the far field wall. I neither sprinted nor asked for permission, sprinting is for young people, and permission is for people who don't belong, plus if you don't want people wandering round the field out back, move.
Another nine maidens ? really ? Is crap at counting a Cornish thing, you've got ten fingers......try again.
Never been here before and don't know anything about it, I like that.
At first glance it seems there's only four stones left of this circle, but another has been built into the adjacent wall, but only visible from the other side of it. I didn't know of the other, also built into the wall but closer to the house, probably from the second circle. Drat I'll have to go back for a longer look. When I learned more of these ruined circles I realised that I did know of these stones after all they're in Burls guide of stone circles but named as Wendron.
We went to Paignton zoo earlier on today, the kids asked "what next dad",
"umm, some stones maybe" I replied, pushing my luck,
That went better than I expected so we drove back into Cornwall and headed for Redruth, no mean feat with the A30 being widened and so, actual hell on the roads.
A trio of sites for this evenings delectation, with blue skies and bright sunshine, I pulled up at the entrance to the farm house and saw the tall stone not far away. If you look on Google earth streetview there's an actual stone head on his way over to the stone.
The stones not far from the road but a locked gate needs to be climbed over, so we did. Private property or not a look from the road aint never going to be enough. En route to the stone a car drove up the farm house driveway, we had a good look at the stone, took a few photos, copped a feel and made our way back to the car.
When you get two full moons in the same month we call it a blue moon, today is that day, blue is nearly my favorite colour so with the moon showing us a full fat face we decided to pay a visit to Men an Tol.
Well, we were in the area already having just been up to the Nine Maidens so it would be prosecutably stupid not come over to the stones.
It was getting dark so we had the place to ourselves, then we reckoned that we may have gone through the holed stone the wrong way last time so we went through from the other direction three times, just to make sure, I really don't want Scrofula.
Then we were away, just a few minutes, that's all, a quick hello to an old friend.
En route to the wonder that is the Nine maidens, I spied a large stone protruding from the bracken and decided to have a look on the way back. So..... on the way back we made our way over to the stone and found a well defined ring of stones, oooh I thought, it's a cairn. Then I saw the hole with the metal in it and I realised where I am, Sweatcheat posted on this just the other month, hey look at that I said, that's good isn't it. Eric didn't get it , and I never explained.
The sun was very low now, and the light was going, the bracken was high and kind of obscuring so we headed off to Men an Tol, I'd quite like a photo of it with the full moon.
I have by now forgotten how long I've been going out stone hunting, but way back at the beginning before the kids were born we came to Lands end, but I decided it was a stone too far for my diabetic wife. The next two trips down here it was too far for my small children, but this is the day when it all comes together.
Today we went to the Scilly isles, first stone up the road from Penzance was Lanyon quoit, that's a good one, then we parked in the Men an Tol car park and Eric and me left Phil in the car and went for a walk.
All those years ago if someone had said you wont be going to that stone circle until your as yet unborn son is 13 I'd have laughed and come back down the week after just to prove him wildly wrong, but there you go, people who don't exist know the future.
We noted the entrance on to the moor where the holey stone is, I didn't mention it to Eric at the time but I intend to quickly call in on the way back. Then Men Scryfa goes by on our left, I fight off the urge to go over, I haven't seen it since my first time, pre kids, so we carry on.
The track bends to the right and we follow it on up the hill, I thought we'd have been able to see it by now, surely when we get to the top of the hill we will be able to, and so it is.
The top of the hill has a small standing stone standing just proud of the bracken on it, I decide to have a quick look at it on the way back. But from here the nine maidens are clearly visible maybe a hundred yards away, onwards.
Eric stops to answer natures call and momentarily loses his phone, but I am blissfully unaware of this because I am at the stones and they are blowing me away, I am alone in brilliant sunshine at a stone circle that it seems I can only get to once in a blue moon, bugger where is that boy I can't see him at all, that's never a heart warming feeling. Then he just pops up out of the heather and mozies on over, all unhurried like.
I'm kind of glad that I didn't come before the re-erection of stone/stones, i'm sure the impact would have been lessened if more stones were lying down.
Whilst maybe half of the stones have gone the circle is still complete, no quarter is left stoneless.
Sweetcheat says this is his favorite site of all, I never really got that, I cant quite put my finger on my favorite site, but being here right now, I can see why he likes it. The stones are tall and made of a fine kinda stone, the barrow on the edge reminds me of Arbor low, the cut off outlier reminds me of Mithcells fold's outlier. I suddenly feel connected with vastly disparate places all around the island, i'm feeling giddy like I did when I got to the ring of Brodgar. The sun is beginning to set, and we're bathed in glorious golden light, but then someone else turns up at the stone circle coming from the direction of the mine whose name I may not mention.
We're sharing the stones with a couple now, it's proving impossible to photograph the stones without getting a fat old man in them, then his slim wife points out the full moon just risen in the east. Then my phone alarm goes off, it's a reminder that today is the day of a blue moon, that's two full moons in the same month. It shouldn't have the impact on me that it did, it's a simple occurrence, but it blows me away, you should literally imagine an explosion with me at its epicenter, leaving only a stunned and smiling shell. It's taken maybe 18 years to come here, and not only am I here, i'm here with my son at a very decent stone circle on a beautiful day at sunset and with a full moon rising and it's blue.
This is why I do this.
You cant go to Bants Carn without having at least a quick look at the ancient village, with time all run out we had a whirlwind tour, stopping only to photograph the best bits. I can well see how someone could spend all day on this hillside, but we only have two minutes.
The stones used in some places are big ones, standing as tall as me, the houses are easily picked out from the many various stones, it mostly reminded of Chysauster.
But mostly it was just a very pretty place to be, like most of St Mary's.
I've fallen for Scilly a bit, can't tell though can you ?
Sadly this is the last of the trio of "show" sites that I've got time for today, and even sadder is that I've got the least time to spend at one of them. But, it was quite easy to tear myself away from this little beauty because a noisy family had set up camp for the day no more than twenty feet from the chamber. Strangely there would be no one at all at the Halangy down settlement down the hill.
But my ten minutes with the stones were very productive, that's not the right word, rather, this place is about three hundred miles from my house but I'd prefer to be here for just ten minutes than at home all day watching crap on TV. A very worthwhile ten minutes, I found the place to be very beautiful, the light on the water, the distant beaches, the pinky red heather, the green grass, of course grass is green, but right now, it's, just more. Even the gorse has shed it's new sweary name.
The burial chamber is now my new lost love, we had just ten minutes together, a brief encounter to be sure, but not on a stinky railway station but on a pretty sunlit island, a ten minute rendezvous that i'll always remember. She was beautiful, showing more naked stone than the other two sites I fancied, check out those capstones, you can see it all. Inside the tomb was light, airy and a cool place to be.
From outside the tomb looked like a spaceship to me, Cylon maybe, or the attack UFO's from Independence day.
But is she beautiful? can a burial chamber, which is after all, an arrangement of stones, be beautiful?
Naturally speaking, shouldn't only the opposite sex be beautiful, why rainbows, why a tiger, a diamond, a car, are they all linked, why do we find so many things to be lovely ?
Answers on a postcard to.........
From Innisidgen lower it is but a two minute walk to this bigger better burial chamber. I'm no linguist but I've decided that an Innisidgen is a stunningly beautiful place with an ancient site that you wouldn't mind spending eternity at, it should be entered into the next edition of the dictionary. It's almost my idea of absolute perfection, what it really needs is some big mountains across the water and I would literally never go home.
The burial chamber is kind of hunched high on one side as you look at the front, inside is graveled and dry, I could easily sleep in there for a night, in fact, you could bum around the island for several days sleeping in a different chamber each night, though some might frown upon this, you know what people are like.
The big tree nearest to the chamber has a long rope hanging from it, a tarzy i'm informed, it keeps the kids occupied whilst I lose myself in this paradise.
The chamber is sited on a slight ridge that allows good views east, north and west, I'm not very beach oriented, but the way the light shines on the sea is, well it's lovely. But even the way the light strikes the grass, the ferns, the rocks, it's really too much for this Cheshire plains based soul to take.
All too soon it's time to vacate the premises, the kids almost have to drag me down off the rocks next door to the chamber.
I will certainly be back.
A perfectly blissful place.
It all got a touch confusing trying to find this place, I couldn't work out which turning to take off the main road, in the end a passing walker asked if we needed any help, to which I jumped at. He directed us down Pungies lane, then turn right onto McFarlands down, after about a hundred yards of rough cobbley track you come to a sign Left to Bants Carn and right to Innisidgen. We took the bikes with us as far as we could then left them and walked on down the footpath along past the beach, passing a rather redundant Innisidgen sign, a single path, with no turn offs, and half way along it is this daft sign pointing the only way you can go anyway. It should have been back along the track where it would have been informative and helpful.
And we're there, we sit on the dry mossy grass next to the chamber, have an eat and drink, and wonder at our surroundings, I have to keep pinching myself and reminding myself that were still in England, in England, but this definitely isn't Crewe Toto.
The whole mound and chamber are built upon a slope just above the sea line, the chamber is open at both ends, and only two capstones remain. Some big white kerb stones are showing.
It's a great little tomb, but overshadowed somewhat by the wondrous surroundings, I've not got much connection with the coast or beaches, but this place is lovely, but not quite as lovely as Upper, up there, but it's not visible from here because of the verdant growth of ferns, but I can see the rocks that overlook it.
This is one of those places that is, at one of, the ends of the world, ancient man had a thing for at the ends of the world, The Isle of Lewis and Orkney are two other good ones. Like them it takes a lot to get here, firstly is the big drive down, it's a big drive from everywhere outside of Cornwall, then there's the two and a half hour puke fest on board HMS Nausea. Next you have to decide what to see, with little more than four hours to spend here the choice is a difficult one.
We rented a trio of bikes to get around on, with two much messy abouty kids with me, speed was going to be key today. The plan, such as it was, was to get to all three of the sites in the TMA big orange book, first on the list, because it's closer is the Great tomb on Porth Hellick down.
Scilly isn't just extremely out of the way, it is extreme in many ways, there are up to seven other chambered cairn in the near vicinity, none have been restored like the Great tomb. The next hill over also has a tonne of tombs too, Do you like oddly shaped weathered big stones, they've got loads all over the place. Loads of exotic plants and extremely none English weather, hardly any cars ( except that one) and they're not, and this should be strongly emphasised speaking French.
Extremely good !
Scillonian tombs aren't great big massive affairs, like in Brittany, these tombs are low, get on your knees, melting into nature tombs. So with goosebumps and
a flutter in my chest I get on my knees and sidle past the blocking stone at the entrance and enter the crypt.
Chamber, but crypt went in better, there's possibly too much cement visible inside, reminding you too much that this is a restoration job, never a bad thing is restoration, but some go better than others, at least there's no modern bricks showing.
The unroofed passage was my favorite part, the old bright stones bursting with little flowering plants, even if some of it was gorse, my new worst enemy.
Walking round the tomb the kerbing stands pround of all flowers and grass, the tomb has a deflated look to it, like a cushion used by Brian Blessed for a while.
Monkey boy suggests a photo from the tree house in that tree over there would look quite good, I couldn't help but agree so we climbed up for a look about, and concluded that this was an extremely good place to be, not up the tree, I hate heights, but the down, put us on a marvelous up.
It's taken a really long time to get here, I've until now only seen it from the A386 Tavistock to Okehampton road, from where it looks very much like a Dartmoor Glastonbury, a Dunnideer, a Beeston, a lone hill with a medieval building on it. I liked the look of it from the A386, so I decided that one day I'd have a look, and with my usual get up and go-ness it's taken well over ten years.
Parking is at the Brentor church car park, parking is free. Then across the road through the gate and there's the Tor with the church perched on top.
If you keep left on the path, your taken through what I hope is the original entrance to the fort, a long bank curves from here around the base of the hill.
But most people, myself included would most likely head straight to the top, to the best view, to the most obvious point of interest, the church.
But on the way I noted a load of other earthworks, including another inner entrance.
Soon enough the wind is blowing, Crows are keeping an eye on all who get to the top, and i'm getting that mountain top feeling.
Really, I didn't even know this was a hill fort until I decided to make this my stop off point. It's just a bonus really, the main thing about this extremely extinct volcano is that you can sit on top and marvel at the world before you, and if you've got any questions God is just over your shoulder.
"God, what are coincidences made of?"
"You wouldn't understand"
It's been so long since my last time here I haven't a clue which way I came from, all I remember is it was across lots of fields and we eventually came at it from the east.
That was the wrong way, approach from the south, much easier, comparatively.
My daughter Phil and me attempted to follow the footpath to it, for there is one, but it is never used and so overgrown as to be invisible. It was too overgrown for my girls soft girly legs, she went back to the car, whilst I battled on. A big machete would be very handy here.
Eventually I came out of the trees and there are the big stones. They are very big, and very white, and with no farm park I was free to clamber up on to the top of them. It was now that I received a phone call asking if we wanted to go out to the Plough for tea, grumbles, and no Trefignath, but ok.
I walked all around looking at the stones from near and far, I scrambled on the stones and crawled underneath them, I had a good look at them close up too, I doubted that they were entirely made of quartz, but on closer inspection it looks like they are.
Imagine if this was next door to Duloe stone circle, quartzite heaven.
It's generally accepted that they are a fortuitous arrangements of rocks, evidence of an ancient burial remaining unsubstantiated, but I see no reason why the large flat stone could not have been moved into it's current position, I cant think how else it got where it is.
This place is not on the map, I found it through luck (or not) whilst blue dot thumping on Coflein, the best way I've found to flush out new and interesting sites.
I parked to the south and could see my quarry sat atop its rocky Gorsedd, it was no further away than the walk to my mum'n dads house round the corner, 400 yards tops.
But, and the size of the but can not be understated, a sea of Gorse seemed to completely surround the site.
At first I thought Id just get to the outcrop next to it and sit there a while, time was going to constrict my playtime here, sadly. But the rogue in me thought screw it c'mon how hard can it be?
I found a path through the gorse, bramble and bracken.
The path, it is not an actual footpath but rather a critter worn path, I saw some wee ponies earlier perhaps it was them, took me almost right next to the site, only a twelve foot vertical cliff to scale and I'm there.
Arriving at the top was an exhilarating moment, the view was phenomenal, distant Snowdonia wreathed in thick white clouds, the sea is east and west and Holyhead mountain big and white was the northern horizon, and that famous hut circle group somewhere over there (I'm pointing can you see me)
Only three stones remain upright, there no taller than three feet, and they curve, as if describing an arc of the chamber, Coflein say they might be part of a large cist. I also fancied a couple of long stones as curb stones.
But the best thing is the view, sure Holyhead is a bit of an eyesore, after Port Talbot it's, for me, the worst town in Wales.
Like I said, time was against me, somewhere to go, but like always I tried to go in a straight line back to the car, biiig big mistake, from now on gorse will always be spelt with a small G.
Sign my petition to get it's name changed to M****r F****r, that's a bad swear word there.
There is no easy way to get here, there can be no drive by action photo, not even a leisurely sunny picnic, you cant even, if you get there, point at the ancient site and say there it is. This is about as far from civilisation as you can get in Wales, but it is not off the beaten track, it is right on it, it is not far from the maddening crowd, you'd think it would be, until 40 odd runners jog by.
My walk started in the full car park at Bwlch y Dduefaen, after a quick shufty round Barclodiad Y Gawres, and the standing stones it was follow the old grey wall up the hill. After much turning round and staring off wistfully into the distance I got up on top of the first summit, Carnedd y Ddelw, it has a very good cairn. Then up to Carnedd Penyborth-Goch on top of Drum, it too, as the name suggests is a cairn, it's not quite as good as the last one but it occupies a superior position.
The plan was get up Llwytmor mountain, but as my memories fade into soft middle age I realise that I cant get to Llwytmor without going up Foel Fras. So I just go up there, and decide to see what is what when I get there.
The incredible landscape up on Foel Fras should have been enough to keep me seated here until it was time to go, but a couple of race marshals are just a few meters away and the runners are passing by closely, did I mention there is some kind of cross country race going on, these fruit cakes are actually trying to run up a mountain, they fail quite entertainingly, it does me good to see people more knackered than me, one plonker had his shirt off and asked me for sun cream, your kidding right, expose my skin to the angry sun?. I watched them pass me by and wondered how you would go about getting up a mountain quickly, apparently you bend over double, grab your knees and push, wringing every last drop of energy from those poor abused legs.
Like I said, this new to me summit should have been enough, but the newly laid path isn't too steep up to the next summit, which looks like it's got a killer view of Yr Elen and if i'm not mistaken is Garnedd Uchaf, I absolutely refuse to call it by that new fangled name, what ever it is.
So I gird my loins, I lied there sorry, I don't even know what girding is, and head off for what surely must be my final destination.
Coflein says very little about the summit of Garnedd Uchaf, it only assumes there was a cairn here because of the mountains name, Carnedd is a cairn. But it also, just to add to the TMA'ers confusion, says there are some piles of stones that delineate the county border, it was I think one of these that I've photographed and put up on here.
There may well be a ruined cairn up here somewhere, but there is so much stone up here that you could probably point at ten collections of stone and say is that it? or maybe none at all. There is enough stone up here to build half a dozen Castleriggs and still have enough left over for a Long Meg or two. Perhaps the most conspicuous of prominent rocks up here is what earned this peak the name of Carnedd, it certainly looked like a big cairn from Foel Fras. I take a seat among these highest rocks as much out of the wind as possible which is not at all because it's coming from the direction I want to face. The direction you want, no, the only way to look is southish, the view is stunning, possibly the best view in Wales, shoot, I may have said that before. Immediate and centre is yr Elen, to it's left is Foel Grach, Carnedds Llewelyn and Dafydd, to it's right Carnedd y Filiast, Elidir Fawr and maybe Y Garn, and many more as the saying goes. With no cairn to inspect there is much time to admire the view, and it is admirable. But mountain watching, brilliant as it is, always has an end and I'm reaching my end of the day, the good thing about the route I've taken is I get to see the whole thing again, all four or five miles of it.
By the time I get back to the car my feet aren't just sore, they're positively throbbing, and the battery in my camera died too soon, and I didn't have anyone to say "hey, that looks good doesn't it" to, I felt a bit guilty not having Alken with me, I know he'd have loved it.
The Chipping Norton triangle, a triangle whose sides are 4,5,and 6 miles long, the north point is at the Rollright stones, the south west point is at the Churchill stones, and the south east point is at the Hoar stone burial chamber near Enstone. Along the south line of the triangle is Knollbury hill fort and the Hawk stone. All completely meaningless of course but it's broadly true.
Not been here for ages, I liked it then, and I like it now, you don't have to share this site with any long views, it's just you and the stones. A very private place, despite the crossroads, I even like the fact that it's at the crossroads, many strange things occur at crossroads, I imagine.
What is it with Hoar stones round here, there must be half a dozen, and that's not including the Thor stone and the Hawk stone both surely deriving from Hoar, and what is a Hoar, and do they moan?
What a brilliant standing stone this one is, gnarled, pitted and worn beyond belief, but that's not all it's got going for it. With long agricultural views east and south, the many wild flowers everywhere there aren't crops, the skylark giving it some high above, the stones size, over seven feet, and the early morning sunshine, but that's not the stones doing, that's probably Sod's law, the sun was late coming out at the Rollright's on this summer solstice morning.
I drove past it once, then had to go back, then move up a bit further, there's no clue as to where the stone is, but a bit of perseverance will pay off, it's not a long road.
What a brilliant stone.
I parked in the wee lay by to the south west of the fort, from here the south bank of the fort is a mere ten feet away. Over a very flat topped wall that's made to look inviting to climb over and up the bank to the top, inside the fort a large brown Doe spots me and bounds away to the far bank and up onto it, it turns to watch me for a minute then it's gone over the other side.
I set off on the obligatory walk around, clockwise. The grasses are very long and it doesn't take long to get soaked from the knees down, I plod on. Turning the north west corner to where the deer was, I can see where it was sat in the grass, but no tracks because of the way it bounds over the grass.
The east end is very disturbingly open, ploughed down to get into the fort is my thought, but I don't know.
The fort is very rectangular for the Iron age.
This would be an amazing place to lie in the grass of an evening and watch the clouds float by, and perhaps get up to some shenanigans below the grass line, but not in the morning though, that would be weird, and wet.
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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
Balnauran of Clava
Nine stones close
Bryn Celli Ddu
The Druids circle (penmaenmawr)
Gwal y Filiast
La Roche au Fees
Talati De Dalt
and these are only the ones that immediatly spring to mind, so many stones and not enough lifetimes.