The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Latest Posts — Fieldnotes

Showing 1-25 of 16,832 fieldnotes. Most recent first | Next 25

Hilton Farm, Boundary Marker 18 (Cup Marked Stone)

From the Dalmuinzie Stone I made my way back west to the Hillhead Road and walked north west following the track. Once the track straightens jump the first gate (the fifth field from Hillhead cottages) and head south across the field. The stone(s) are next to the fence and wall which in turn is next to a wood.

The cup marked rock lies next to the boundary marker. Its cup has a width of 7.5cm wide, being 2.5cm deep. This is quite an impressive rock almost kerb like. Sadly it might have once been part of a long destroyed cairn remnants of which can be seen scattered all round.

Visited 24/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
21st October 2017ce

Dalmuinzie Farm, Boundary Marker 16 (Cup Marked Stone)

Between Bieldside and Milltimber on the A93 take the Hillhead Road heading north and stop at Hillhead Farm and cottages. From here I headed east across a small field, jumped a burn, climbed back up, went past some trees and went down another small hill until I spotted a large stone beside which was one of the boundary markers of Aberdeen.

The stone has a single cup mark which is 9cm wide and 4cm deep. In prehistoric times there were a couple of nearby cairns so no surprise that there are cup marked rocks nearby.

Visited 24/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
21st October 2017ce

Bardshillock Wood (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

On the way down to Woodend House's cairn/cist I had a look in past Bardshillock Wood, a site near a studio where I had worked (and work) with many bands. I had always intended to visit and never found the time.

Heading west from where the B9125 becomes the B977 take the first road heading south, signposted Hirn. At the Mill Of Hirn, the studio, turn right and head south west parking at Drumfrennie Farm. From here walk the short distance south into the woods on the east/left hand side.

A hardly used track leads almost straight to the hut circle which has been built mostly below ground level. The walls are almost 2m wide and made from fairly large stones. These are now covered in turf but trees mark the site as they are just outside the huts perimeter of 8m. The height of the wall varies but it never reaches more than 0.5m. Nearby enclosures and a small cairn can hardly be seen thanks to the vegetation.

Still a nice site to get the sunny day going.

Visited 17/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
20th October 2017ce

Woodend House (Cairn(s))

Previously I had tried twice to find this place, once from the north at Trustach getting completely lost and on the second occasion getting totally drenched by falling into a burn. This time, no mistake, it was fairly dry and a different route planned.

I parked on the A93 and walked south, then south east past Woodend House along the banks of the fast flowing River Dee. The house is still being repaired after the floods of a few years ago, the same floods that washed the A93 away beyond Ballater.

Once next to the River Dee keep going until a small hut on the north side of the track. From here head straight north. Treacherous underfoot conditions because of tree cutting but ironically these help with the finding of the site. White markers circle the cairn warning the forestry people to stay clear so the site is easier spotted. It is a beautiful site with the cairn being at least 10m in width standing at 1.5m tall. Several large stones encircle the site.

A well preserved cist survives in the middle of the site, sadly its capstone lays (probably) broken nearby. Makes me wonder what the robbers removed. It is just over 1m in length, 0.5m wide and 0.6m deep being made with upright slabs.

Not wanting to make any mistakes I retraced my steps to the hut and proceeded to the A93. With the leaves changing colour the trees make an attractive scene.

Visited 17/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
20th October 2017ce

Gellaig Hill (Cairn(s))

After visiting a few more ruinous hut circles at the Strone I headed back to were I had parked at Braenaloin. Nearby there is a gate and track heading south east. It is a decent track with only one or two steepish bits but on the whole nothing difficult. It also helped that I had a cracking day.

To the north Glen Gairn and to the north east stunning views of Morven which would get even better at the end of the climb. The cairn is on a flat plateau as the track takes a sharp turn east. From here the views and colours of Aberdeenshire are beautiful. As well as the late summer colours Morven, Bennachie, Kerloch, Clachnaben and Lochnagar can all be seen. At the bottom of the valley the River Dee glistens as it heads from Braemar to the North Sea at Aberdeen.

The cairn itself is massive like the cairns at Pittenderrich, Deecastle, Kerloch, Pressendye etc and had been missed by Canmore until Thelonius came across the site and Neil K (a keen hillwalker) wondered what it was. So I decided to have a look as well.

It sits at well over 20m wide, stones that are visible, on top of a heather covered footprint a further 1 to 2m wide all round. Sitting at 2m high a windbreak has been made (this adds another 1.5m in height to the sites appearance) which surrounds the trig point. This has been built on top of a concrete base. However this has been built on top the cairn rather than on to the ground. Also interestingly kerbs appear at regular intervals round the site.

A stunning place with stunning views, totally worthwhile and a must visit if in the area. Best of all, a team effort :-)

(A DES report has been sent to Canmore)

Visited 10/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
20th October 2017ce

Trethevy Quoit (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

Visited: 10 Oct 2017

Visited after our trip to the Hurlers. As expected down a narrow single (almost) track road to a small 'island'. From here Trethevy Quoit is well signposted to a field gate. What initially surprises about this ancient monument is its proximity to some nearby houses and to the field entrance. I had read quite a bit about damage being done to the base of the monument by cattle and farm vehicles though could see no evidence of animals or any recent damage on this occasion.

It is an enormous monument which can't help but impress. Oddly though, I was strangely unmoved by it - perhaps I missed viewing it from a distance on the skyline first as with other monuments of this nature I have visited. Didn't have to walk through a bog, or jump a stream, or circumnavigate farm animals. Perhaps it was just too easy.

Very glad to have seen it though.
tjj Posted by tjj
15th October 2017ce

The Hurlers (Stone Circle)

Visited: 10 Oct 2017.
Part of an 'archaeology day' while visiting east Cornwall for a few days last week (also on same day walked by Golitha Falls, took in an early Christian stone cross, Trethevy Quoit and an ancient well).

We were turned away from the first car park as you drive into Minions as it had been taken over by a film crew for filming "The Kid Who Would Be King" (to be released 2018). So we parked at the second car park which had a horse transporter lorry carrying stunt horses parked up in it. We walked across the moorland towards the Hurlers and spotted a large fake trilithon, about the same height at Stonehenge. it did seem surreal especially when a friendly man in a high viz jacket told me not to take photos. I'm not very good at doing as I'm told these days.

It was a bit of a grey day with mist hanging low threatening to turn into rain and the whole experience seemed to be coloured by the bizarre nature of the background activity though I wouldn't go as far as to say it distracted from my first impression of the Hurlers. We wandered over to the Pipers - two comparatively large lichen covered stones, then had to choose between walking over to the Cheesewring or going to have a cream tea in a friendly looking cafe at Minions. The cream tea won.

A bit later we watched some of the filming taking place on the other side of Minions and perhaps more dramatically one wild pony chase another off into the distance then gallop back again across the road. Heart in mouth while watching.
tjj Posted by tjj
15th October 2017ce

Duloe (Stone Circle)

Visited: 9 October 2017.
Last week spent a lovely few Cornish days based in Fowey. Took a slight detour on route to visit Duloe stone circle. Not that easy to find using a road atlas and we were almost in Looe before we realised we had gone too far. Find it we did though as I have wanted visit Duloe since first reading Julian Cope's impressions in the TMA book.

Dated 2000BC, it is unique for being Cornwall's smallest stone circle with the largest stones. There is a (now much faded by the elements) information board which gives quite a lot of information if you able to read it. The circle is less than 12 metres in diameter and consists of eight quartz rich stones which contain ankerite. This suggests they were obtained from Herodsfoot mine, although similar stones are found at Tregartland Tor, Morval.

A nearby farm is recorded as being named Stonedown as far back as 1329 but the circle was not officially discovered until 1801, probably because it was bisected by a hedge and stood half in an orchard and half in a field. The bisecting hedge was removed in 1858 by Rev T.A. Bewes of Plymouth and 1861 the fallen stones were set up although the one broken in the process now lies prostrate. At the same time an urn said to be full of bones was discovered at the base of the largest stone but broken accidentally by the workmen and now lost. In light of this it is thought be a bronze age burial mound.
tjj Posted by tjj
15th October 2017ce

Trewortha Cairn and Cist

This wondrous site reminded me a lot of the not-too-distant Grim's Grave upon Dartmoor and, although not possessing the latter's exquisitely isolated location, may well top it in terms of sheer aesthetic appeal. You know, I reckon it does.

Looking for a reasonably easy time to recuperate aching limbs pushed to their limit during the previous day's 10 hour walkabout around Brown Willy, Twelve Men's Moor, sexist nomenclature notwithstanding, appears to tick all the boxes. So, in accordance with my 'path of least resistance' game plan, I take the very minor road climbing steeply away to the north-west from the B3254 at Berriowbridge. Having safely negotiated Mr Hamhead's far from inconsequential tarmacadam 'bumps', I park at its terminus and set off on foot, heading very approx west along a bridleway (actually a surfaced track accessing Trewortha Farm). With the serrated skyline of Kilmar Tor rising to the left and Hawk's Tor to my right the scenery is appropriately 'rugged'... 'Cornwall-esque', if you like... as if to compensate for any intrinsic lack of significant height above ordnance datum in the area.

Simply put, there is an awful lot going on here upon Twelve Men's Moor - a plethora it might be said - should one possess a penchant for grassy stone piles, enigmatic, roughly circular arrangements of stone erupting from the earth as if discarded dragon's dentures (should've used fixodent)... and, first up upon my progressive linear agenda today, the utilitarian, yet immeasurably evocative little stone coffin: the cist. Far enough removed from our present time to sever any potentially uncomfortable, lingering connection with the macabre, there is something so inherently, demonstrably 'human' about these structures, their fabric seemingly impervious to the inclement weather of passing millennia... yet their former organic content anything but. As everyone of us knows only too well. This example - at SX252755, a little to the left (south) of the track - is a worthy specimen to represent the genre. Although lacking capstone, it stands exposed within its former cairn and, with settlements and associated field system in close proximity, it is easy - I find - to transcend the notion of a simple 'stone box' and contemplate what might have formed the basis of the hopes, dreams and aspirations of those that lived, farmed and died here at the dawn of our time.

Moving on a little further to the west and, again, to the left of the track, I encounter a small group of cairns (SX250752), one of which is a pretty substantial, grassy mound, another what appears to be a long cairn. Whatever the truth of its origin, the latter is certainly a 'long cairn'; however, as is the case with many cairns, I guess the definitive yes/no regarding prehistoric ancestry will only be attained by way of that excavation which will probably never be scheduled, let alone executed. Incidentally, grave goods including a disintegrating BWM 'key' fob are either indicative of the hitherto unknown exceptional technical prowess of the locals back in the day... or one very pissed off motorist in somewhat more recent times.

So, finally, the pièce de résistance is reached following a short walk across the moor to the approx south-west, passing what is, apparently (well, according to the map) a 'mound'. Albeit a not-very-clear-one obscured with summer vegetation. I'm compelled to say upfront that, in my opinion, this obscure 'Cairn and Cist' is one of the most sublimely pleasing monuments I've had the pleasure to encounter in a long while. Yeah, some sites are so joyous, invoke such a feeling of wellbeing in this traveller as to render categorisation superfluous. And this is such a site. Kerbed-cairn, cairn-circle, cairn and cist? Irrelevant. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say... and every wondrously wobbly orthostat surrounding the cist bears mute testimony to such an assertion today. Assuming one concedes 'mute' to solely relate to audible sound; there are other, non-empirical methods of communication. The combination of cist, cairn, uprights and landscape just 'works', you know? As if the constructors of this monument had an epiphany moment comparable with Da Vinci realising he was onto a winner with this Lisa Gherardini and her wicked smile. Why, even the farmer loudly strimming away like a demented Alan Tichmarsh in the field beyond the track doesn't affect the vibe.

Kilmar Tor rises to the south-east. And, as I relax, drink my coffee and think of 'stuff', it becomes all too clear that in order to complete.. to realise the coda... as Ralf Hütter would insist I should... I must return to the car via that shattered skyline of wonky rock. The main tor is riven with cracks as to threaten immediate, catastrophic collapse. The wind batters my person and prompts a fleeting self diagnostic. Why willingly choose to do this upon a supposed 'rest day'? All I can offer by way of explanation is the invitation to come and walk Kilmar Tor if you are able. Like the superb cairn and other monuments clustered below to the north, Kilmar Tor has what it takes. For me.
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
14th October 2017ce

Scorhill (Stone Circle)

Two days prior to the visit of Scorhill in the North East of the Dartmoor National Park we had tried to take friends to see Yellowmead concentric stone circles over on the Western side. We'd spent about an hour sloshing around an area of no more than a quarter of a square mile in driving rain and high winds and failed to locate it, even though we'd been there a couple of years before. So it was a relief to locate this circle so easily in profoundly better conditions. That's what Dartmoor is like!

Having visited numerous stone circles and ancient sites on the moor over the years I have to say this is one of my favourites and also very easy to get to. You don't really see it until the last moment as it's in a slight valley and the stones themselves are not really very tall, the biggest being about two metres, but with the strong sunlight and brooding skyline they appeared to shine invitingly.

Apparently it's never been tampered with in the sense of re-erecting some of the fallen stones, though it's obvious that stone cutters have tried to split some of them in more recent times as they bare small drill holes, so it has an air or pure authenticity.

Well worth a visit!
A R Cane Posted by A R Cane
13th October 2017ce

The Strone (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

The Strone has magnificent views of Morven and Geallaig Hill and is home to many hut circles most of which have taken a fair battering and difficult to photograph. However one still survives in reasonably good condition thanks to the use of large rocks and later construction (according to Canmore). It is 6m wide and has its 2m wide front door to the east. Water would have been supplied by the Braenaloin and Coulachan Burns, both of which run into the River Gairn to the north.

From the A93 take the B976 north, an old military road. I parked at Braenaloin and walked back up the hill to the hut circles. Handy place to park as the track that leads up to Geallaig Hill starts here as well.

Visited 10/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
11th October 2017ce

Borve Chamber Cairn (Chambered Cairn)

After splashing down the hill I arrived at the road near the Sgarasta standing Stone (plus friends) and proceeded to walk north east along the A859 following the same route I'd taken to the find the track to Dun Borve. Spectacular scenery all round as the sun blinked between the clouds which created different types of atmosphere and colours to hillside, sea and sand.

There is a hard way and easy way to reach the cairn. To get there I found the hard way. The chamber cairn can be seen from the road and I immediately jumped the first fence just north of a small burn, the Allt Sta. Sadly, for me, not the best idea I've ever had as this was a boggy mess. However I made it to firmer stuff as I headed west. As the burn headed downhill I climbed a small hill to see that the cairn was only about 100 meters away.

Sadly the cairn has seen much damage but I think its still impressive. The capstone rests in front of some of the stones it probably sat on. It appeared that the standing stones were teeth and the massive capstone a tongue, prehistory sticking its tongue out to modernity. The surrounding cairn is 20m wide and it still has surviving kerbs. It is best preserved on the western side at just over 1m tall. Like a few sites nearby I wonder if erosion will finally win the day.

As I picked up my rucksack the sun once again appeared and several sites came into view. Dun Borve to the east is easily spotted with others to the north and south. To the west Taransay and much further to the west St Kilda. When you see all of these sites, its the same everywhere, you realise just how good the prehistoric peoples were at navigation. They simply used the sea and stars/landmarks as a road. That same road will take me back to St Kilda in the reasonably near future.

With that I took the simple way back to the A859 via a track which had appeared from nowhere. Another type of road which led to the ferry and road home.

Visited 5/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
10th October 2017ce

S64, Scarista (Burial Chamber)

From S70 I headed north jumping several recently made streams, a couple of older and wider streams plus a few fences. All the time to the west it remained cloudy but to the north west the sun was breaking through to light up Luskentyre and its famous beaches. Gradually I was also heading downhill as I approached the remnants of another burial cairn.

The cairn at S64 is also built on a platform about 10m wide and resembles its neighbour at S70. At certain angles the site looks like a complete wreck but closer up the kerb survives quite well and the chamber inside would have been around 4m by 3m. At its tallest it is 0.4m. Down below the stone and its friends at Sgarasta can be seen which made me wonder if the two burial cairns on the hillside were connected to what many consider to be Harris's most important site.

As I made my way back down to the road the wind picked up, the sun finally came out and Borve beach could be seen. Just to the north was Borve Chamber Cairn, the final site for this trip.

Visited 5/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
9th October 2017ce

S70, Scarista (Burial Chamber)

The final morning and the final three sites for this visit starting at the Scarista S70 cairn. Heading north from Leverburgh we parked near the Isle Of Harris golf course to climb up to the first of two cairns to the east of the road. Underfoot conditions were soggy as there had been a lot of rain through the night. Small streams had become torrents. However, at least the rain had stopped by the time I reached S70.

From the golf course I headed almost straight east crossing the Sgarasta Mhor. As soon as you see a fence in distance keep a look out for a green patch. This is the remnants of the cairn which at one time must have been impressive. Still impressive are the views in every direction.

Built on top of an almost 12 meter wide platform the cairn has what looks like a central cist and a ring of kerbs. Rectangular in shape it measures at 5m by 4m. Parts of the cairn reach 0.4m at their highest. As usual a fair bit of houking has occurred. It would be unfair to describe any site as my favourite but these sites looking into the Atlantic and the nearby islands are hard to beat. The weather certainly adds to the atmosphere. As I walked away to the next site the sun started to appear causing the sea to change colour and the beaches of Luskentyre to shine.

With the scenery in full morning mode I splashed my way to the next site.

Visited 5/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
8th October 2017ce

Buttern Hill (Cairn(s))

I approach from Bray Down:

http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/post/154482/fieldnotes/bray_down.html

Having not undertaken any homework back in Essex - well, in mitigation I had expected to push on to Land's End following a few days upon Dartmoor, so had no expectation whatsoever of still being upon Bodmin Moor on the penultimate day of the fortnight - I'm not anticipating much from Buttern Hill. Aside from some sweeping views to Rough Tor under very welcome clear conditions... and the chance to 'reverse engineer' the vista enjoyed from Brown Willy three days earlier. Yeah, I do like different perspectives, me.

As usual things don't go to plan; mainly, I guess, because I like to bring along, as it were, a rough artist's sketch in my mind and fill in the detail as circumstances dictate. Either that, or I've an appalling short term memory. One of the two. Anyway, upon leaving the summit of Bray Down I encounter (presumably) the same herd of brooding bovines I met on the way up. None shall pass. Consequently I detour around and forget all about the settlement apparently sited below, instead fording the river - or is it now a stream? - rather more elegantly than earlier in the day. From here, after hanging out with some wild ponies for a short while, 'up' is the only required direction. As I recall Yazz pointed this out, rather emphatically it has to be said, during the late 80's? I think. But then again the longer term memory isn't what it was either nowadays. Anyhow, whatever the correct timeline, her long, 'stompy' legs would've no doubt made far easier work of the grassy pull to the summit of Buttern Hill than mine. But there you are. One must work with what one has got.

As I approach the summit the first of a linear grouping of reasonably well defined cairns comes into view. Not bad at all. What I'm not prepared for is the 'contents' of the primary cairn... a damn well near perfectly preserved example of a cist, complete with fine cap stone slipped back to reveal the interior. Wow! Incoherent thoughts flash into my brain, which, sort of summarised, I guess relate to the wonder of finding something such as this standing more-or-less intact after all these millennia. Or something like that. OK, the location, the topography, isn't quite as fine - in my opinion - as that occupied by the western cairn upon Bray Down from whence I've just come... but you simply can't argue with archaeological quality such as this, even with the associated cairn being reduced to a grassy ring delineating the monument.

Er, except it seems that you can. It is therefore with a high degree of irony that I have to endure a pair of ramblers, suddenly appearing like the shopkeeper in Mr Benn, do just that, loudly 'debating' over my head what this could possibly be? A kennel, a sheep shelter, perhaps? Thankfully they are soon gone. Now whether the catalyst for accelerating the action was the pungent odour of sheep hanging in the air... or me apparently not going anywhere soon - odd man that I am - is probably a moot point. Anyhow, the trade mark Bodmin Moor 'utter silence' is resumed and Buttern Hill lives again in the imagination, if only for a short while. What price a couple of Bronze Age people somehow turning up in lieu of the now departed ramblers? Ha, dream on. So I do until advancing time dictates I must leave and return to the car.

Yeah, both Bray Down and Buttern Hill are fine objectives for the TMA'er in their own right. However a walk combining the two, in my opinion, might just well be one of Bodmin Moor's unexpected gems.
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
8th October 2017ce

Scarista - S56 (Stone Row / Alignment)

There seems to be stone rows aplenty in these West Harris shorelines. Scarista has three, but I only found one and like I've said a few times before when I get back I'll look again.

This stone row is made up of three small boulders, a fourth stone could well be missing but could also be covered in turf. Horgabost has similar sites.

It was time to head back to Rodel after an exhausting day, the next day would be the last day of the trip.

Visited 4/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
7th October 2017ce

Scarista S-51 (Platform Cairn)

Situated very close, about 50-60 meters north, to the standing stone and mound is a wee platform cairn. It is about 15m wide and no more than 0.2m tall. Only the west side of the platform can be seen, the rest being turf covered.

Visited 4/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
7th October 2017ce

Sgarasta (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Heading back from Hashinish we stopped to have a look at what many say is Harris's most important prehistoric site. It certainly has the views and a lot of other sites can be seen from here, some very close indeed. The stone might be lonely but it certainly is by itself as hard to spot sites are in the same field.

It is a tremendous site, surrounded by burial cairns high above to the east and the Borve Chamber cairn. Just to the coast side of the stone there is mound that is almost 12m wide and up to 1m tall. It is made up of earth and small stones and what appear to be a couple of buried kerbs.

I was told to look in the field and I'm glad I did as I found a couple of other sites. Reporting back to my informant I was told I should have looked harder. As Tjj says 'it is a place full of wonderful surprises'. Next time!

Visited 4/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
7th October 2017ce

Bray Down (Cairn(s))

Now, since I'm not in the habit of adding to the physical burden that is my already way-too-heavy rucksack with a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary - nor, I have to admit, Apple's apparently 'wondrous' device, so subjecting my movements to the scrutiny of GHQ - I'm not privy to the official definition of 'idyllic'. Not even sure I've spelt it correctly, to be honest. But no matter, since, whatever the selection made by Dr Johnson's scholarly successors, I'd suggest the following would suffice nicely: "Where the Penpont Water is forded by the Bothwick-West Carne road, Bodmin Moor". Yeah, this is quite some spot to begin my last day in Cornwall. Not so much 'chocolate box', as, upon having eaten both layers of Terry's All Gold, finding a third beneath within a TARDIS-like confectionary dispensary.

A track heads southward, well sort of, following the right hand (western) bank of the water course, Bray Down, a perceived hint of cairn at the apparent summit, rising to my left. The route becomes progressively more boggy in short order, prompting thoughts of crossing sooner rather than later... or perhaps more to the point, why didn't I set off along the left hand bank, muppet? Sure enough, the terrain soon degenerates into a quagmire and it takes all my not-very-copious reserves of ingenuity to find a way across dryshod. Giggity, indeed. Nevertheless, once across, a short, rough ascent brings me to the summit, much to the apparent bemusement of some cows. Well, it is hard to tell. Might have simply been bovine indifference.

The summit of Bray Down is crowned by - in my opinion anyway - a trio of cairns. OK, only the western-most is particularly upstanding nowadays... but the survival of an arc of large kerb stones is more than enough supplementary detail to compensate for the assumed robbing of its near neighbours. As Mr Hamhead notes, exposed natural outcropping can be seen within the cairn, prompting deliberations as to whether this was intentional, symbolic, or utilitarian in nature. Or just plain lazy. Or damn clever. Whatever the truth, a truth now forever lost in the ever receding depths of time, this is a great cairn with excellent views across Bodmin Moor and, nearer to hand, within sight of a nice little logan stone. As for the other two monuments.. the middle, bearing an OS trig pillar, is ravaged but clearly rather substantial back in the day... whilst the eastern is substantially overgrown, of no great height, but nonetheless displaying a not inconsiderable footprint.

Furthermore, a triumvirate of upland cairns, unlike people, doesn't make a crowd; rather an appropriate environment generating a vibe imploring the visitor to plonk oneself down and partake of possibly upland Cornwall's greatest resource: utter silence. A revolutionary act, perhaps, in an era of information overload arguably reaching critical mass. Yeah, Robespierre and the other Jacobin nutters might not have approved, but there you are. Of more concern is the abundance of aerial insects in the immediate vicinity of the western cairn. Or, more specifically, their identity. Well, seeing as ancient cairns are, in my experience (not to mention the Mam C's) prime locations for bees to establish a hive, one has to take these things seriously. Fortunately the creatures are particularly noisy flies. Annoying, but without a sting in the tail, so to speak.

Lazing in the sun upon Bray Down (don't you just love the inconsistencies of the English language?) - particularly following the flash floods experienced earlier in the week - is a great way to spend a few hours. However eventually Buttern Hill calls from across the valley. Time to complete the walk:

http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/site/10341/buttern_hill.html
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
7th October 2017ce
Edited 8th October 2017ce

Dun Borve (Stone Fort / Dun)

Toe Head certainly left an impression on me and I'll definitely be back but Dun Borve was calling so I retraced my steps back to Northton and the A859. I also retraced my steps back to Croft 36, obviously I needed sustenance.

Once back on the A859 I walked north following the road past Scarista, which I'd visit later in the day, the golf course and the still clouded Sound Of Taransay. Just to the north east of the sites at Scarista there is a handily placed sign post indicating the track to Dun Borve, very handy indeed.

This track isn't in very good condition, however marker poles lead to the dun which is easily spotted as a prominent rocky landmark.

Walls surrounding the site are measured at over 14m and some of it remains built, a testament to their, the Iron Age peoples, building skills. The entrance to the dun is in the east leading to a circular turf patch indicating some type of building, enclosure or forecourt. Various buildings have been attached to the walls i.e. sheiling huts, wind breaks. Like Canmore I think it is also a dun as it is a small area for a complicated and larger structure such as a broch. A superb place for a look out as it looks to the Sound Of Taransay to the north, the Atlantic to the west and the mountains of South Harris to the east. It is also, more importantly, looks over the largest expanse of fertile land in South Harris. This explains the prehistory, all the graveyards and The Coffin Road.

Also in the area are cup marked rocks. Tiompan has kindly posted some these to this site page.

Another wonderful place, is there no end of them here? I missed the south direction earlier, as there is another dun and possibly cairns to the south, a considerable walk which I'll do next time. Time to walk back south to Rodel avoiding the camper vans whilst admiring the landscape. Later on it was up to Hashinish, now that is a road!

Visited 4/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
7th October 2017ce

Toe Head (Broch)

From Croft 36, Northton, keep heading north until the road and village end at a gate. Beyond is a track which has lots of farm machinery old and new abandoned at the track side. Keep following the track taking the second track going west. Should be said that the track from Northton to Toe Head is very good and fairly flat. This will lead straight to the broch on the western edge of Ceapabhal. The scenery is of course stunning, the first part of the walk looks onto the Sound of Taransay, the second part has the rugged coastline and the Atlantic. All the time Ceapabhal watches over the comings and goings.

All the prehistoric ages are represented here with evidence of Mesolithic through to the Iron Age. Traces of these can be found nearby as settlements, rock art etc have been found along the coast to the south. My next trip to Harris will involve a walk looking for them, todays main aim was the broch at Toe Head.

A lot of the broch still stands. Sadly for it, it stands as part of the ruined chapel Rubh’ an Teampuill, point of the temple. Other parts of the broch can be seen on this lonely promontory. The site is built on the highest part of the promontory with traces of wall to the north. In fact traces of the wall can be seen all round the church suggesting it must have been huge, some of the walls must have almost 1.5 wide. As well as being used for the church, stonework had been used to build a dry stane dyke on Ceapabhal. To the west end erosion has taken place, the cause of this being easy to see. Weather changes here quickly and wind had grown very strong, the sea very rough. After a decent look round it was time to get the feet moving again.

Wonderful place and a place to let the imagination run wild, or in my case run riot. Next stop, the long hike to the stunning Dun Borve.

Visited 4/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
7th October 2017ce

Cefn Gwernffrwd (Stone Row / Alignment)

Wow. It is over 11 years since we last visited. But noticed there is much more information online about this complex since then

Dyfed / Cambria Archaeology carried out a survey in 2007 which says there was another stone row recorded in 1975 which is no linger visible. Lots of detailed info, references and drawings here:

http://www.dyfedarchaeology.org.uk/projects/cefngwenffrwd.htm

Some notes / images on the Stone Rows blog:
https://stonerows.wordpress.com/gazetteer/region/mid-wales/cefn-gwernffrwd-row-i/

They still haven't linked it to this though
http://www.themodernantiquarian.com/site/8966/cefn_gwenffrwd.html
nix Posted by nix
5th October 2017ce

Carn An MacAskill (Cairn(s))

About a mile up the road, on the A859 heading north from Kyle's Lodge, is Carn An MacAskill. The morning was still very moody but it didn't rain which ensured truly fantastic views towards the Sound Of Taransay, Ceapabhal (home to Toehead Broch) and the village of Northton could all be seen. Cloudy weather seems to add to the atmosphere especially when it starts to clear so different countryside colours can be seen, including the colour of the sea.

About 200 meters (south) before the road to Northton jump the fence and head to the top of the wee hill to the east. A small walkers cairn will led me to the site.

Some kerbs can be seen in the 6m wide cairn which has a height of about 0.5m. As usual there appears to be some houking damage. An impressive and scenic site.

Time to head to Croft 36 for a tremendous hot pie, a small diversion on the way to Toehead :-)

Visited 4/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
4th October 2017ce

Kyle's Cairn (Cairn(s))

Another early start on a dampish morning started at the Kyle's Lodge Cairn just to the north west of Leverburgh. There is a tarred road heading south west from the A859 and I walked until the corner just before the roads end.

The cairn is situated just above the road on a small platform and has several kerbs still standing. It is about 6m wide and 0.6m tall with impressive views over to Ensay, whose standing stone can be seen in the distance.

A fine place to watch various wildlife and ships/boats in the bay. Soon, maybe to soon, I was in full flow heading towards Northton.

Visited 4/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
4th October 2017ce

Cox Tor (Cairn(s))

The concluding afternoon of a fortnight's deliberations in the far west country duly arrives... and with it, that curious, emotional juxtaposition of muted acceptance of the party's imminent end with the warm, still glowing embers of time well spent. Such ambiguous, inconclusive moods perhaps should not be conducive to rousing finales, even accepting that sitting around upon hill tops doing, frankly, not a lot, could be considered 'rousing' by most. However, as chance would have it, Cox Tor plays host to just such an event today. For me. Well, it's a personal thing.

The portents are not good when, following a memorable morning at the isolated Ingra Tor my megalithic antennae, fine tuned by a fortnight in the field, duly overload upon arrival at what can only be described as a massive, and furthermore full car park below and to the south of the tor; that is, at the point where the B3357 begins a steep descent toward Tavistock. What is this all about, then? Bemused, I watch punters of all shapes and sizes, seemingly attired for the pleasantries of the beach, disgorge from vehicles to head northwards across the gently undulating hillside toward the unseen summit above and beyond. Subconsciously looking for a reason to opt out, not to join the merry throng, I check the map once more, only to reaffirm that, according to the wondrous OS people anyway, Cox Tor is indeed crowned by several 'Cairns' depicted in that beguiling, 'antiquarian' typeface. Guess it would be rude not to, then.

To call the ascent short and straightforward is pretty much like saying, "come to think of it, the bloke with the moustache and hat in Frankie didn't do a lot, did he?" Consequently it's positively affirming to find that, upon arrival, the summit of Cox Tor is a wild, rock strewn, uncompromisingly brutal place. With extra wind and cold to send my poorly clad fellow punters heading back to their cars in short order. Dartmoor-esque, you might call it. In fact there is so much loose rock surrounding the summit outcrop that, at first, the penny doesn't drop that here we have another fine example of perhaps that most enigmatic of West Country prehistoric monuments... the tor cairn. OK, I know the stone row is Dartmoor's signature feature; but, for me, there is just something SO primeval about (apparently) venerating the living rock itself.

As it is, however, the sight of a fine, round cairn a little way to the immediate north has me hurrying away to take a look and, concurrently, take in the wider views. It is a pretty hefty stone pile, perched upon the northern edge of another, lesser outcrop and with expansive views to all point of the compass save the south, that being reserved, as you would expect, for the ever more intriguing summit. Looking north-east the landscape is vintage Dartmoor, seemingly desolate, featureless moor... but in reality packed with prehistoric treasures, tangible reminders of the people who once called Langstone Moor and its environs 'home': a stone circle, numerous cairns, cists, monoliths... hey, even a hill fort crowning White Tor. Looking west the visitor has no need to attempt to reconcile such apparent ambiguities, a series of patchwork fields leading the eye toward Cornwall and the mysterious, rolling hills of Bodmin Moor. But that's another, wondrous story.

After sitting out a brief, yet violent weather front, I check out another, apparently less well defined cairn a little further to the approx north to find it appears to be a pretty substantial ring cairn - as opposed to robbed round cairn? Perhaps not. An extended walkabout highlights at least one additional small cairn before, gazing across to White Tor and its tor cairns, I - finally - make the connection. Returning to the summit crags, now in brilliant sunshine, the surrounding girdle of shattered rock is obvious, in retrospect. Duh! The summit area is way, way too small to have been a habitable defended enclosure, so I have no doubt that something rather splendidly incomprehensible to my modern thinking - for better or worse - was going on back in the day.

Yeah, clearly Cox Tor was a significant member of the canon of Dartmoor's upland sites back then. What is also certain is that it is the perfect locale to end a fortnight in the west. When something promising so little ends up delivering so much one can only shrug one's shoulders and go with the flow...
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
1st October 2017ce
Showing 1-25 of 16,832 fieldnotes. Most recent first | Next 25