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Loch Eriboll (Round Cairn)

Like most visitors to the far north-west of mainland Scotland, I guess, the great Loch Eriboll - arguably one of Scotland's most enigmatic sea lochs - has erstwhile featured as a rather extensive (c10 mile long) watery backdrop to the approach to Durness, the town (in season at least) a bustling focal point for those enjoying the superb coastal scenery this exquisite corner of Sutherland has to offer. In abundance.

This year, however, I manage to infuse a degree of structure to my wide-eyed wanderings, somehow finding myself in the position to allocate a full day to traverse the A838 between Tongue and the southern extremity of The Kyle of Durness... the proviso that I camp at the latter notwithstanding. Furthermore, in stark contrast to my last venture two years back, the generally inclement Scottish weather is anything but, a golden glow announcing a more-or-less cloudless dawn at my camp near Loch Hakel, what vapour there is smothering Ben Loyal, the mountain appearing as if immersed in whipped cream. So, following a glorious diversion along the eastern shore of Loch Hope, an almost impossibly blue Loch Eriboll beckons beyond Ard Neackie as the A838 swings south. Hey, it would be rude not to stop this time, particularly seeing as the chances of encountering such conditions again are pretty slim, it has to be said.

Passing Eilean Choraidh - apparently used by the Norse of yore as a burial ground (it appears 'Loch Eriboll' is derived from the Norse meaning “home on a gravely beach”) - I park beneath the imposingly rocky flank of Creag na Faoilinn overlooking the loch to the south. Unlike eagle-eyed TMA-er Carl, I can't positively identify the cairn from roadside, so head for the eastern side of Lochan Havurn, before veering to the right. The going is rough - very much so - with intermittent bog to make things more, er, interesting. In retrospect it's no doubt easier to approach via the house at Foulin (there's a souterrain to see nearby as well, if that's your bag). But there you are... whatever route is taken the cairn, upon arrival, will be found to be a beauty of the type.

Small, but perfectly formed... and, as far I could tell, apparently inviolate (?)... this is an excellent, unassuming monument. The setting is exquisite for a lowland cairn (let's face it, it can't really get any lower), the vast expanse of Loch Eriboll, stretching away to the northern horizon, contrasting vividly with the towering crags of Creag na Faoilinn to landward. Hey, if visiting punters can manage to vacate their Bronze Age perch there's even a personal beach close at hand. As it is I prefer the former, an ideal spot to relax, drink coffee and chuckle at the antics of the numerous 'themed tourer groups' (Porsches, Harley Davidsons, brand new, shiny 4x4s etc) passing by in convoy upon the A838, the relative proximity of the road somewhat paradoxically accentuating the splendid isolation of the monument. Such is the idyllic perfection of the scene it almost beggars belief to recall that Eilean Choraidh was used as a target practice proxy for the infamous German battleship Tirpitz during the war... and that Loch Eriboll has been a surrogate home for Royal Navy - as well as Merchant Navy - groups on numerous occasions, thanks to the deepness of its water.

Such is the vibe I could've stayed all day... but there is so much more to see beyond Durness. Yeah, tell me about it.
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
18th December 2016ce

Welshbury (Hillfort)

A very overdue visit on 17.12.2016.

It's the best part of 7 years since I added this site to TMA, so really about time I made the effort to come here. Heeding the warnings of Carl's approach, I come at the site from Little Dean to the south, via the edge of the woods below Chestnut Inclosures. It's been a claggy, misty December day and the light is dull, tendrils of mist rising from the Severn a couple of miles or so to the east.

Where the path Carl was on gets to the southern edge of the hill, a narrower footpath heads north up the hill - it might be easy to miss this in summer as the vegetation seeks to strangle it, so look out for a stile into a field on the south, which is opposite the entrance to the footpath. Coming from this direction the ascent is at its most gentle, the steeper slopes of the hill are on the north and east sides.

Before reaching the fort, there is a meeting with a remarkable tree, a massive beech of huge height and girth, and great age for the species. The woods here are a lovely mix of deciduous trees, birch and beech, oak and chestnut. The footpath arrives at the southern tip of the fort, where a bank rises on the right but nothing on the left, making it a little difficult to gain bearings of the layout at first. In fact the fort is an irregular shape, like a "q" with this bank being the western side of the short tail (in fact it's very similar in layout to Midsummer Camp on the Malverns). It's immediately apparent that the banks here are stone-built, plentiful mossy stones protruding through the winter cover of dying vegetation.

Because of this disorientation I initially keep heading north rather than following the bank around. The ground is still rising slightly, with a big drop now becoming apparent on the right (east). Soon I reach a confused junction of banks and ditches, which resolve themselves into the point where the tail of the "q" meets the body. The drop the east is now quite severe, with any view curtailed by the heavy tree cover and mist rising from the river valley beyond. Without the trees I imagine I might be standing in the thin upper reach of a temperature inversion.

Deep leaf litter muffles my footfalls. Towards the north I come to a clearer circle, a fairy ring among the trees. This is the only clear and relatively flat spot within the fort interior, and makes a good place to stop and take in the quiet of the woods on this somewhat eerie day.

At the northern end the ground drops very abruptly, a 5 metre drop from the top of the rampart to the next level down. It seems that this has been created by terracing the naturally steep slope rather than needing to create a wholly artificial defence, but it would certainly be a formidable obstacle and provides an excellent vantage over the valley below.

The killer construction though is on the west. Here a massive inner bank towers above two further lines of bank and ditch. There is a wide space between inner and middle defences, which gives the impression that the outer ditches are slight and shallow in comparison. This impression is quickly dispelled by dropping down the slippery slope for a closer look, which reveals the middle ditch to be a good 6 feet deep.

Near the southwestern corner, the lines of ramparts are crossed by a slightly raised causeway, but it's not clear whether this represents an original feature or a later intrusion. Either way it's a pretty steep climb back up to the inner rampart.

Disembodied voices and the bark of a dog rising from the valley settlement below to the west, the screech of an irate squirrel somewhere in the trees above me and seagull cries from the Severn are the only noises to interrupt the quiet. No boars today, although grubbings and scrapings in the soft earth at the top of the hill appear to indicate their occasional presence.

The day has been grey throughout, and this close to Midwinter the light fails early. By the time I've walked around the site and its defences, it's getting towards 4 o'clock and already darkening. Although it's a fairly compact fort, the multiple lines to explore make it feel bigger and it's taken me a good hour to get round it. It's an atmospheric place, and one that would repay a visit on a sunny spring day before the canopy refills and the brambles entwine the accesses.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
18th December 2016ce

Upper Balfour 2 (Cairn(s))

This cairn is hard to find as it is covered in all sorts of horrible and jabby vegetation. However not wanting to give in I flung myself thru the narrowest section to land on a small clearing which is the north section of the cairn. With all the vegetation it is difficult to measure the width. Canmore says 17 metres which seems about right, the height being 0.5 metres. The centre of the cairn can be found by crawling under the whins/furze etc. It has been houked or possibly it is a cist. Kerbs are visible in the south but impossible to reach.

Like all the nearby sites maybe one day the vegetation will be cleared and we'll be able to see them. As for me it was back to the car for plasters and bandages as these cairns had taken their toll on my legs.

Visited 24/11/2016.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
14th December 2016ce

West Brachmont (Artificial Mound)

Rabbits and badgers have had a real go at this artificial mound which might possibly double up as a ring cairn. Sadly vegetation made taking photos of the ring stones impossible but they are there. Some are also on the west side but have been incorporated into a wall (optimistic use of this word) The west is actually a wee valley which the mound looks on to.

The oval shaped monument is 11 meters long by 6 metres wide, the height being 0.5 metres. Canmore says the site is aligned north west/south east. Whilst this site isn't much to see it felt to me that it was central to something as it sits in the middle of a circular area made up of small hills. One bigger hill to the west is Cairn Mon Earn.

I parked at East Brachmont and walked north back up the minor road until the first corner. Jump the fence and head west. Some of the ground is boggy but if lucky a path (of sorts) can be found which almost leads straight to the site.

Visited 24/11/2016.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
12th December 2016ce

Tullos Hill (Barrow) (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery)

Keep going east from the Tullos Hill cairn to the next wee hill, however I approached from St Fittocks church and headed west. The end result is the same.

The barrow is badly covered in whins, furze but in some parts is visible. Rabbits have had a good crack at excavation so many holes to fall into which the unwary Drew did. At its widest it is almost 25 meters wide and sits at 1 metre tall. Some parts can be seen but it is difficult to spot.

One thing not in question are the views. Stunning views west to Tyrebagger, Brimmond Hill, north along the coast to Newburgh, east into the North sea and south taking in the multiple sites of the wonderful Tullos Hill.

Visited 24/11/2016.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
12th December 2016ce

Gwern Einion stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

It occurred to me after the visit that, with its flat top and broad base, this stone would make an ideally shaped orthostat for a chambered tomb. thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
11th December 2016ce

Craig y Dinas (Hillfort)

I first came across this defended settlement whilst blue spotting on Coflein some years ago, always keen to find somewhere new to observe I spied it through the looking glass that is google earth, and it looked good.
But it can take me a while to get there, sometimes it can take years, as it did here. During my journeys elsewhere, esteemed TMA'er Gladman came over and had a look and provided much picturey goodness, it does look good. I'm on my way Craig.

Two dolmens, a cairn circle, five standing stones, and a cairn have seen us through most of the day, but Ive seen them all before so as far as I'm concerned I've saved the best til last.
Dark skies are brooding over the mountains, there is no threat of rain from them, this afternoon they are for aesthetic appearance only. But Thesweatcheat and I are basking in the late golden glow of a beautiful December day, the light right now is just sweet, you could bottle it up and sell it for a million pounds a bottle. Bloody cold though, the biting winds are searching out gaps in my umpteen layers of clothing, there are no gaps, but it's still cold.

Leaving the Pont Scethin stones behind us we head south walking the more or less level ridgeway up to the fort, the ground is littered profusely with rocks, I note like Gladman the small pointy ones that remind us of those black and white horses, whilst noting them I cracked my knee on a big rock, cor strewth that hurt, still does several days later, heroically I said nothing .
As anticipated we reached the fort, as this is the easiest route to the fort I was kind of expecting the entrance to be here, but it weirdly is just left around the corner on the forts east side, but we didn't know that until we had already climbed up and over the high rampart, instead of the expected entrance there are two extra lines of ramparts at the north end.

Once in the fort I follow Alken on an anticlockwise peripheral walk, but I soon get distracted by the large chunk of sloping bedrock with a small boulder resting upon it's very top, I park my arse on the slope and take in the scene, it is very lovely. The sea view is a good one, that's where the blue sky and sunshine are coming from, the far off Lleyn peninsula succeeds in looking further away than it is, the Afon Ysgethin is a river of lava, lit up perfectly by the soon to be setting sun.
The mountain view is better still, dark clouds keep the peaks mostly in shadow whilst the sun does it's thing lighting up the mountain sides, the way light hits something at this time of day is, well, it's special, it shouldn't be, it's just the ground interacting with light that's spent longer in the Earths atmosphere, but, my it makes you take a deep breath and stare longingly for this kind feeling all the time.

Three of us have been here now but the other two both said it was better than they were expecting, do they not do there homework, tsk, for me it was just what I was expecting, I knew it would be a good one, and the good weather was a true bonus, Voodoo priestess I love you.
The walls, in places, are in what looks like still genuine iron age build, true I wouldn't know if there's a difference between their walling techniques and those from other time periods, but it's there, and it looks good. Presently we have worked our way round to the entrance, it's a bit small, and curly, and someone has shifted rocks around to make a throne, are you seeing this Fowler, i'm looking your direction. Out of the entrance and down hill fifty yards are hut circles, I think I saw four, one of them is in very good condition, very good for almost gone anyway.

Back up to the fort and it's time for the sun to sink into a low bank of cloud that hugs the far horizon, once more I totally and inadequately manage to photograph the moment. A few deep breaths later and it is sadly time to go, there will not be time to search out the cairnfield almost right next to the fort, it is going dark and we've a long drive home, nothing more to look forward to today except the drive home with lovely Lisa Tarbuck, but I will most assuredly be back soon, well, relatively soon.

Oh God, is that Dale Farkin Winton?
postman Posted by postman
6th December 2016ce

Hill Of Tillybath (Cairn(s))

Hill of Tillybath is a wonderful site in an area that is often overlooked. That is about to change.

I approached from the east taking the second minor road north, west of Strachan. Stop at the forest walks car park on this road. Follow the path north east until a sharp corner. A few yards further on there is a large boulder near the track. From there head north west and you'll walk straight into the cairn. A large boulder, possibly a kerb, marks the eastern edge of the site.

The cairn is oval shaped being 8 metres in length and at its widest 6 metres. Some kerbs remain in place. A possible cist can be seen in the site. The capstone that covered it now leans against a tree. Near this tree cairn material can be found. At its highest the cairn is 0.6 metres.

Lovely site and a good vibe! After a good look round it was onwards to the Hill Of Goauch and the fantastic views south.

Visited 1/12/2016.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
5th December 2016ce

Upper Balfour 4 (Cairn(s))

Thankfully the de-vegetation have made this cairn easier to find.....a little bit. Once again it has been covered in cut down branches, whin, furze etc.

There are kerbs surrounding the wee cairn and they can be felt under the turf. Also there might be a cist going by the shape of the hollow in the middle. A slab, mentioned by Canmore, is visible but only just and backs up the cist theory. It is also covered in vegetation. It is almost four metres wide and 0.5 metres tall at its highest.

Like nearby Knappach, a good tidy up could make this a fantastic area.

Visited 24/11/2016.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
5th December 2016ce

Pont Scethin, Double cairn (Cairn(s))

The map just says cairn, and I think we found a cairn, well, it was a slight bump with several stones protruding, if it's where maps says a cairn is then it must be a cairn. But for some reason know it all smarty pants Coflein says it's a double cairn, whatever one of them is. It gives no more information at all, there is only one cairn, and even that one is easily ignored, as it is almost flush with the ground.

Dear Coflein
About this double cairn at Pont Scethin, I believe you have been grossly mislead, so I submit myself for employment at your soonest convenience, presumably when you have laid off your current, erm...fool?
Yours sincerely
Postman
postman Posted by postman
5th December 2016ce

Pea Low (Chambered Cairn)

[visited 4/12/16] My what a beast this is. Magic.gov.uk has this as an oversized bowl barrow akin to the much smaller mounds on the hills to the north and west, I disagree entirely. This is surely one of the neolithic round cairns that dot the landscape of the southern white peak.

Its lovely here on a cold sunny winters day with low light spreading the shadows. The two pits are clear as are the original quarry pits in the surrounding fields. Its placement in the landscape is suggestive of a different purpose to the cairns on the steep hills nearby, this one much closer to the valleys and the water sources, not so much a statement to the gods but a usable monument for the everyday folk.

Access is ok. About 15-20 minutes walk from Alstonfield over muddy fields.
juamei Posted by juamei
5th December 2016ce

Waun Hir (Ring Cairn)

New and improved fool proof directions.
Presuming you've gone past Bron y Foel Isaf, turned right into the fields by the footpath sign, and arrived easily at the ruined buildings with two pine trees. Now follow the wall from the ruins south, climbing unsteadily over two low loose walls, look right for an alcove in the field wall, pass it by and in the corner of this field is a gate. The east/west wall by the gate is actually aligned on the cairn circle. Go through the gate into the field towards a small circular group of bushes, the stones encircle the bushes.
Moving through the field towards the stones is harder than it sounds, the grass is very long, the ground very uneven and riddled with tiny streams.
The bushes within the ring are much more grown than my first time here, nine years ago, I couldn't find it second time round, but I didn't have fool proof directions like this time. Found it very easily, went straight to it.
The undergrowth, even in December, is covering the stones far too much, part of me wants to spend all day there cleaning up, chopping back, revealing stones, perhaps on a warm day in March, maybe I will, but I probably wont.
The cairn circle is in places several courses high, I find it hard to believe the kerb stones of a cairn circle would be on top of each other. Some fiddling seems to have gone on here, some large stones stand slightly off the circumference, a group of stones off the circles south west corner, suggest, something, Alken reckoned it might be another circle or something, maybe, they are very suggestive.
Some of the stones are very large, some are standing edge on to the cairn. It really does need clearing up.
The light was just amazing, the sun poured down upon us, blue skies over the sea, but cloudy darkness over the mountains. The weather and the light can make or break a site, I cant even imagine how gloomy and depressing the place would be in fog and rain, am I turning into a fair weather stoner?
Probably.
postman Posted by postman
5th December 2016ce

Bron y Foel Isaf (Burial Chamber)

It's been nearly four years since my last confession to Bron y Foel Isaf.
I am now fully prepared to accept Moelfre as a sacred hill, or at least a mother hill, a focal point, I think all the sites seen today have had a view of cairn topped Moelfre.
In the opposite direction to mother hill is the far away looking Lleyn peninsula, floating mysteriously in the air, itself dotted with lots of burial chambers.
The wall is very unsteady around the dolmen, stones moving under every movement, be careful, or don't, even push the confounded wall over maybe.
postman Posted by postman
5th December 2016ce

Llanbedr Stones (Standing Stones)

Haven't been here for seven years, the stones are as lovely as ever, the shorter stone is still half white with what I presume is lichen, and it has a small notch in its western edge, it aligns with a young ladies bedroom on the road a hundred yards away, it could, you don't know.
The taller stone does have some white lichen but not much, it does have a quartzy shine to its side, and it does have a good shape.
The tree is still there and looming large over the stoney pair, I like trees, I once stopped visiting stones for a while and took up visiting heritage and remarkable trees, one thing trees have over stones? they're alive.

But most radical and astounding of all, the god awful fence has gone, it was all the way round the stones and the tree, it was too close to the stones, sure you could climb over but that's not point, it was ugly and in the way. But now it's gone and it looks like it was never there, I wonder what prompted them to remove it. Other sites that could benifit from a good defencing, Bodowyr, Lligwy, Kits Koty, come on every one get your fences off.
postman Posted by postman
4th December 2016ce

Gwern Einion stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

The first time I came to Gwern Einion portal Dolmen I had no clue this was here, even though I'd climbed the gate in the second picture, right next to the stone. But farmer told me off for not using the footpath, that I also didn't know was there, so I didn't come back this way and kept on not knowing it was there.
But Rhiannon added the site page and a misc post and I saw it on Coflein so I couldn't miss it again could I.

A somewhat oddly shaped standing stone, it cant be seen from the other side of the wall as it goes round the stone rather than just upto it. That's all really.
The nearby gate now has barbed wire on it to stop itinerant townies wandering at will, well he should get out of the bloody way, should Will.
postman Posted by postman
4th December 2016ce

Gwern Einion (Burial Chamber)

Thesweatcheat asked me how long it had been since I last came here, I wasn't confident I knew precisely so I guessed, five years maybe, ha! I was miles out, the answer surprised me, it was just over one year, September last year ? What could this mean, anything? am I not paying attention and just wandering willy nilly and not taking any of it in? Am I seeing stones so much that it all melds into one long stoning day? Or do I always live in the now, the impact of my last trip here is undeniable, is it important when I was here? Nah.

What I like most about this Dolmen is that it's amid old and ruined farm buildings, it would not be good at all if the buildings were in use, you'd have to don the meek face and ask permission, pah, not into that.
The dolmen is old, the buildings are not, but they are, if you get me. I like seeing it peeking over the old walls, I like seeing it through the old roof space of the big building, of course you have to climb onto the wall to see it like this, there's so many ways to see this dolmen. I've seen a few dolmens in different surroundings, some in woods, some on hill sides, some in field banks, but mostly just sitting in an empty farmers field, but Gwern Einion is in a pretty singular situation, and I like that. How boring would it be if they were all in a grassy field, well, not boring, but variety is the spice of life , is it not?
postman Posted by postman
4th December 2016ce

Parknook (Cairn(s))

Take the B9077, Leggart Terrace/South Deeside Road, west leaving Aberdeen and take the first minor road heading south. Follow this road, past the Tollohill car park, until the first minor road leading north west. At the first corner there is enough room for a car to park. This is the west entrance to the Parknook/Tollohill Wood walks.

Follow the path uphill and on the first ridge head north. This will lead to the severely mutilated and all but gone Parknook Cairn. A near neighbour was removed altogether.

What is left is the outer rim of a once 17 metres wide cairn. At its widest this rim is two metres wide and stands at almost 0.5 metres tall. Possible kerbs also survive to the south and east. Still it has very beautiful surroundings and now remains undisturbed.

Almost gone, it is an echo from a long time ago.

Visited 1/12/2016.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
2nd December 2016ce
Edited 4th December 2016ce

Upper Balfour 3 (Cairn(s))

From the Kirkton Wood cairn I headed a wee bit further south, jumped the fence, found a gate, climbed over and headed east into a forest of whins, furze and various jabby things. Still I found a route through the frozen wastes and underfoot conditions from hell. They may have been cut and burnt a lot of vegetation but the remnants are just are as bad and treacherous.

This would be a nice cairn if there wasn't so much vegetation piled on top of it. A broken tree adds the scene and helpfully marks out the site and width of the cairn. Kerbs are visible on the eastern side of the cairn which sits at over 9 metres wide and is 0.6 metres tall. The centre has houked which might explain the small pile of stones nearby.

The views from here are stunning, Morven to the west and Bennachie to the north.

Visited 24/11/2016.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
2nd December 2016ce

Kirkton Wood (Kerbed Cairn)

Leave the B9077 at Kirkton Of Durris heading south and park at the village halls. Follow the minor road until it ends and head up the hill following the path until it also ends. Just before it ends look immediately west and the cairn can be found. Also helpful is the sign saying the site is a scheduled monument.

This , I think, would also be a good site for some gentle restoration. Canmore says there are four kerbs in the southern flank, I agree and would add another two. Sadly the path clips the site on the eastern side and as usual some houking has also been done. Despite this the cairn is still sits at 11 meters wide and is 0.6 metres high.

This is a well situated cairn which many years ago would have wonderful views, especially north. Today it still has wonderful views, the trees in their Autumn colours.

Visited 24/11/2016.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
2nd December 2016ce

Gardom's Ring Cairn

The path makes its descent, cutting through a cairnfield of pretty large, irregularly shaped cairns. The Gardom’s Edge ring cairn is completely hidden by bracken, but can be spotted by the forked silver birch that grows from its embanked edge. Once found, the course can be followed round easily enough, but really this is a place for a winter visit if you want to see it properly. thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
1st December 2016ce

The Three Men of Gardoms (Cairn(s))

We follow the arc of Meg’s Walls south, before leaving the wood to emerge at the Three Men cairn. The three stone piles are clearly modern, but they sit on a much larger footprint. The views from here are great, looking down on Baslow as the sun sinks further. It’s starting to get colder and it won’t be long now until dark, so we press on without lingering. thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
1st December 2016ce

Gardom's Edge (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

Next up, we encounter the stonework of Meg’s Walls. Half-buried in the undergrowth, too large to take in easily, this is a fascinating survivor enhanced by a lovely woodland setting. But we’re really here for rock art. After a bit of rooting about in the undergrowth, we find it on the edge of the woods, looking towards the steep western face of Birchen Edge. The light is now too low to illuminate the panel, but casts a soft orange glow across the moor ahead of us.

Despite knowing that it’s a replica, the panel itself is still very impressive. I love the variety of patterns, whatever it represents – or doesn’t. Water has collected in the deepest cup, reflecting the slender trees and blue sky above, an ever open, all-seeing eye on the world.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
1st December 2016ce

Gardoms Standing Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

The main reason for coming here is the rock art panel, so memorably filled with pink flowers by Postman a few years ago. But first, I’m hoping to find the standing stone, something of a rarity in this area. We walk through the woods, trying to stay away from the treeless edge, as I know the stone won’t be found there. It turns out to be further south than I’d realised, another site that the Ordnance Survey map doesn’t show. Eventually it makes itself known, as we get towards the higher part of the wood. The light has gone strange now, the low sun filtered around the edges of a bank of cloud giving an ethereal glow to the woods and the stone.

The stone is a good one, a little taller than I imagined and different from each angle and direction. Like many of the best standing stones, it gives off a feeling of sentience. Even though I know this is just projection on my part, it’s hard to shake once felt. There’s no malignance, or beneficence, just a presence. I often find woodland sites hard to leave, and the stone definitely exerts a pull. As we leave I’m compelled to look back, Orpheus to Eurydice.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
1st December 2016ce

Barbrook I (Stone Circle)

The third of today’s stone circles, and very different again from the other two. This is yer classic Peaks embanked circle, compact and neat. Unlike, say, Nine Ladies, the stones are quite varied in size, although with no particularly obvious grading towards a compass point. The top of one of the stones has cupmarks, something I was completely unaware of, but which recalls the stone at Stanage we visited yesterday.

When we first got into stone circles, I read that the Barbrook sites and Big Moor were closed for environmental reasons – this was in the days before the Countryside and Rights of Way Act opened up swathes of access land, and before the internet might have told me different – so we never came here on our earlier Peaks holidays. As I’ve felt throughout these last three days, the long wait has both sharpened and sweetened the experience of finally coming to these sites. They compare with the best.

The proximity of the track perhaps keeps this from quite reaching the heights of Barbrook II as a place to find solitude, but in truth no one passes our way in the time we’re here. We will definitely be back here.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
1st December 2016ce

Barbrook cairns (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery)

The cairn cemetery lying between Barbrook II and Barbrook I proves well worth a stop off. A widely varied group, mostly dug into in the mid-19th century, many have excellent kerbs. The star of the show is the rebuilt cairn closest to Barbrook I, a bit of a classic of drystone edging about four courses high. One of the stones in the surround shows an interesting weathered pattern that is probably natural, but just possibly could be the very eroded trace of cupmarks.

From here we drop slightly to Barbrook I.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
1st December 2016ce
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