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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

Rudston Monolith (Standing Stone / Menhir)

25/09/2017 – We had popped down to Scarborough for a long weekend just for a bit of walking really. A few days before we came I noticed that we weren’t too far from Rudston so we crammed 3 days of walking into 2, leaving our last day free for a visit to this mega monolith.

Easy enough to get to by car but we were on the bus, which still wasn’t too tricky. Morning 121 bus from Scarborough to Burton Agnes and then a 3 mile or so walk down quietish country roads to Rudston.

We arrived at the south side of the church and had a little debate as to which way round the church we wanted to go for our first sight of the stone. These things are important I think, it’s not every day you get to see the tallest standing stone in Britain for the first time. We chose clockwise.

Rounding the corner of the building and there it stood in all its glory. It really is impressive and as wonderful as I hoped it would be. It seemed to grow and grow as we edged closer. It was hard not to just keep staring at it. So solid and timeless. I know the church and graveyard setting isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I quite liked it and loved the difference in height between the monolith and the similar shaped gravestones round it.

After having a look at the small stone and cist in the corner (it looked a little sad hidden away and dark with the overhead leaves at this time of year) we sat across the road on a bench and had our butties.

The inside of the church is worth a look and has a small display about the history of the area.

After one last look at the stone we started the slow walk back to the bus stop. We kept an eye out for any sign of the cursus that crosses the road to the south of Rudston but no luck. Did manage to find a coffee shop in Burton Agnes which helped with the wait for the bus.

Top day out and the Rudston monolith is a must see site.

Happy us on the bus back to Scarborough for an evening of chips and gravy and two penny falls.
thelonious Posted by thelonious
29th September 2017ce
Edited 2nd October 2017ce

Seamer Beacon (Round Barrow(s))

24/09/2017 – I liked this one. Not really much to see but the walk up from Scarborough is nice and the top very green with a good clump of trees hiding the beacon. Worth going for a little leg stretch. Nice views and the access is fine.

If you are in the area it’s worth popping by the Rotunda Museum near the sea front. Nice display of objects from Star Carr and Bronze age Gristhorpe Man with his fantastic tree trunk burial.
thelonious Posted by thelonious
29th September 2017ce

Louven Howe (Round Barrow(s))

23/09/2017 - X93 bus out from Scarborough to the Falcon Inn on the A171 to start a nice loop of three hills - Brow Moor, Stony Leas & Barns Cliff End. Long day and it was dark by the time we caught the bus back.

Good track to start through the trees and then out to the moor to make the small climb to the trig on Brow Moor. Even though it was still early in the day I knew already we just didn't have the time to look round this area for cup marked rocks which was a bit sad. We pushed on and headed west.

The walk between Brow Moor trigpoint and Louven Howe on the top of Stony Leas was easy going but felt long. The crossing of Jugger Howe Beck was nice and Burn Howe was worth a look. It did feel good to finally make it to Louven Howe for a sit and a brew.

There's plenty of round barrows around here and from the ones we saw, they all looked pretty much of a muchness. If you want to visit one or two, this and Lilla Howe make for a nice walk from a few directions. I don't think this would be the best place to visit in rubbish weather though.

Louven Howe has a large hole in it, I couldn't make my mind up about it. Bit odd.

After a stop to rest and take in the views, which are good, we headed south to enter the trees and make the long walk back to the A171 via Barns Cliff End.

Nice day out but couldn't quite fit in everything we wanted to see.
thelonious Posted by thelonious
28th September 2017ce

The Macleod Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Walking further westwards on the A859 from the Coire Na Feinne Chamber Cairn we jumped the fence at the next cattle grid to head north over the dunes towards the MacLeod Stone. A few days before I'd been looking at several sites in the area but ran out of time but not today. Although we were all tired, even B, we plodded on to be re-invigorated when crossing the ridge to see the massive standing stone.

Not many people mention the possible wee cairn that surrounds the stone. There are at least two kerbs still earthfast in an area that has a scatter of stones almost 6m wide. Canmore says there isn't enough evidence but ever the optimist I'd like to think there had been a cairn at some point. One thing for sure is the fact that the stone can be seen for miles away coming in from the Atlantic.

Fantastic stone, fantastic scenery, fantastic day and some sun burnt legs!

Visited 3/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
25th September 2017ce

Coire na Feinne (Chambered Cairn)

We came to this site after a day at the beaches of Luskentyre with its fantastic colour schemes and the reverse walking of the Coffin Road. Normally coffins would come from the east to the west so we walked in the opposite direction to come back via the northern following the old main road, quarries and Laxdale. We spotted no coffins.

The best place to park is near the chippy van at the Horgabost Camp Site and walk west up the A859 until its junction with the minor road heading east to the Horgabost township. With the road passing nearby, indeed one of the stones looks like it is trying to escape, the chamber cairn is situated in a garden looking west into the beautiful bay. Only the capstone and six slabs remain in the well tended garden. At least the cairn is being looked after. All the smaller cairn material was removed long before the house was built.

After asking permission I was allowed to wander about and have a look. Great wee place, very easy to find.

Visited 3/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
25th September 2017ce

Dun Stuaidh (Promontory Fort)

After the stunning day at St Kilda and, for me, life changing events a next day early morning walk was required. The walk to Dun Stuaidh was perfect for the job, so I set of in the drizzle which soon turned into a beautiful Harris morning.

From our chalet I walked south towards St Clements Church taking the first tarred road heading south west. This crosses over a causeway/reservoir with beautiful views looking back north up the Abhainn Thorro Burn and the Rodel Valley.

As the road reaches the west end of the reservoir go onto the track which heads uphill to give glorious early morning views of Loch Roghadail, St Clements Church, Rodelpark Dun and the islands to the south. The track follows the coastline looking down onto the fort. Follow this until a dry stane dyke heads south, follow this downhill to the shore. All sorts of very old fishing boat material, long deserted houses and enclosures can be seen. In the bay can be seen several very expensive yachts.

The fort and its front door is straight south. A short climb through ancient walls leads to the northern end of this spectacular site. Erosion has played a big part in the forts history but there is plenty left to admire. Walls, especially on the eastern side, surround the fort. The western side is greatly eroded whilst to the south the fort is almost completely gone. Only a small finger of land, no more than a foot wide remains, with no one watching it is much easier to take chances so I walked to the end to get pictures looking back north. The northern defences still survive if somewhat crumbled. Near the entrance are a couple of enclosures. It appears to me that the sea doesn't seem to be affecting this area quite so much as grass and weeds appear to be fighting back on the low lying area just to the north of the fort.

A beautiful start to another wonderful day which would include Luskentyre Bay and the walking of 'The Coffin Road'.

Visited 3/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
25th September 2017ce

Bioda Mor (Stone Fort / Dun)

The final prehistoric sight and site of this St Kilda visit would be the fort at Bioda Mor. This is a truly spectacular place, rugged cliffs, natural archways and thousands upon thousands of seabirds including, our favourites, the puffins. To make sure nobody would get lost this island is aptly named Dun.

From our vantage point at The Lovers Rock we could see where the fort was situated on the western side. Nearer The Milking stone we could see the fort from the bay/eastern side. It is a truly remarkable site. Earlier I had asked if I could scramble across to Dun but was given a polite but stern answer of no. However it can be arranged, possibly the next visit.

We sailed from the small pier at Hirta, glimpsing the quarries at Clash Na Bearnaich on the way. Nothing can really prepare you for the scenery about to appear. Nothing can stop the feelings of immense respect for the builders as they have literally built on sheer cliff face. Defensive walls can clearly be seen built various places. Nearer the centre of the island this wall is over 2m wide and 1.5m high. Fallen walls can be seen clinging to the cliffs on the bay side way above us and the sea.

This was stunning enough but even more stunning are the views around Stacc Lee, Stacc An Armin and the island of Boreray, another place I need to find a way onto. Each of them nave their sad and inspiring stories to tell. Then we set sail to the east on the amazingly calm Atlantic Ocean back to Leverburgh. As we neared the ferry port the standing stones at Borvemore, Nisabost and on the island of Ensay could just about be seen, Ensay being clearly visible. Had the ancient peoples built a type of light house? I don't know but they certainly told us that land and safety was near.

Viewed 2/9/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
22nd September 2017ce

Clash Na Bearnaich (Ancient Mine / Quarry)

One of the main places I wanted to visit on St Kilda was the quarry at Clash Na Bearnaich aka The Chimney. Sadly we'd ran out of time but not out of scenery. The extremely knowledgeable crew pointed out the quarries as we sailed towards the fort at Bioda Mor.

As the photos show the quarry faces are quite high up the face of the hill. Walking due south of The Milking will be the route I'll take to get a closer look during our next visit. On the way I'll be able to look at the quarry at Gearraidh Ard. It all points to there being a sizeable pre Iron Age population.

Viewed 2/9/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
22nd September 2017ce

Tobar Childa (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

After the life changing events at the Lover's Stone it was time to make our way via the wall/path to the tarred road. It was either head further uphill heading north east or head downhill and east towards the village, not Hirta but the Iron Age hut circles of Tobar Childa. We headed towards Tobar Childa as time was running out as we needed to be back at the pier.

So downhill we headed which enabled us to see the absolutely stunning views again. The weather had started to get even warmer, unbelievable considering the tales of bad weather we'd been told about. Just to the south of the Abhainn Mhor burn we headed straight east to the hut circles. These are hard to find because of the sheer amount of gray rock lying about, they certainly had no shortage of building material. I remained to look for the ancient village whilst A headed to the pier.

NF09959955

This appeared to be a group of 4 hut circles the best of which I photographed. The hut had large stones surrounding its edge and is about 4m in diameter. Harsh place to live during winter possibly, however a lot of people told us that the climate wasn't so remote and the islands weren't so isolated as they were to become.

NF10039958

This group seemed to have the best built hut circle making use of a depression, perhaps man made, on which to build their wall. Almost all the hut circles in these groups are about 4m in diameter and this was no exception.

NF10099948

This was to be last stop on mainland St Kilda as A was shouting (probably louder than that) from the Main Street that people were assembling at the pier. NF10099948 had the largest of the surrounding walls. These were almost 1.5m wide and almost 0.75 tall.

Sadly two hut circle groups missed but I'll visit them the next time we're here. With that it was a mad dash through various cleits, enclosures, houses (ancient and more modern) and walls to the eastern end of Main Street.

Visited 2/9/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
22nd September 2017ce

The Thornborough Henges

Just spent three nights here for the Mabon celebrations. Rituals aren't really my thing but camping besides an henge with two others in close proximity definitely is.

I'm not sure what the situation has been in the past but at the moment you cant walk the direct route between all three henges, the way from the central henge to the north henge is private property, the field contains an house, big disappointment. On a more positive note you can easily walk from the central henge to the southern one, though you do have to cross a small lane.

If you want to visit the northern henge (you really should, it's easily the best imo) then it's quite straight forward.
From within the central henge leave by the gate facing the southern entrance, as if you we're heading for the southern henge but turn right and walk along the lane a short while, 300 metres-ish and take the first possible right (on foot) up a narrow path that's rather overgrown (atm) with sloe berries, stay on it till you meet the road. Cross the road and follow the other lane till you are almost at the point where it dog legs, dip through the hedge here (on your right) and you're in the northern henge.
It's well worth the effort. ;)
harestonesdown Posted by harestonesdown
19th September 2017ce

Lover's Stone (Natural Rock Feature)

With the fairies being very shy we followed the road to the west climbing steeply as we went. You could only marvel at the views to the east especially the stunning setting of Bioda Mor, home to the fort.

At the top the road splits heading north and south, we continued west on top of an old wall/path. From this point you can see the equally stunning Loch a' Ghlinne (Glen Bay). The path is a mixture of well trodden and bog. Also in some parts there are little bits of rock climbing which all added to the adventure except when, not for the first time, I used my knees as brakes.

Eventually the path evens itself out and leads straight to another of the islands famous sites - The Lover's Stone. Resembling the highest diving board I've ever seen its an impressive site. It also reminded me of the Reporting Scotland (news program) logo. Stories of how the St Kildan men did their balancing acts are well known. As this link shows they were brave men.

https://scotlandonscreen.org.uk/browse-films/007-000-000-153-c

I, of course, did exactly the same thing with an excellent result.

Despite the wonderful scenery, and there is a tremendous sense of well being and sadness here, it is a dangerous place. The weather can change in an instant with high winds and squally showers at any moment. For those with problems with heights I wouldn't look over the edge it is a helluva drop.

Probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

Visited 2/9/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
18th September 2017ce

An Reidhean (Stone Circle)

Visited: May 23, 2017

The existence of this 'possible' stone circle was announced following a Discovery and Excavation in Scotland exploration on Skye's Strathaird estate in 1998. Don't go expecting to see a monumental structure: like most of Skye's stone circles, there is really very little remaining.

The site is located half a kilometre north of the small community of Drinan, situated half-way down the western margin of Loch Slapin. To visit, step on to the moor immediately north of the cattle grid (on the road, just before entering Drinan) and head north for 450 metres, uphill of the fence (you will have to park down in the village). The walking is excellent on firm, short heather and there are no fences to cross.

Make for the slightly higher ground and look down. The circle occupies a conspicuous grassy spot in the otherwise dark heather of the moor, about 40 metres west of the fence line. Three earthfast stones stand on the southern arc of the slightly raised grassy oval: the rest of the perimeter is devoid of stones. A trickle of stream runs close by it.

This location is about 30 metres northwest of the Grid location quoted by Discovery and Excavation in Scotland. However, I don't consider this significant: after all, the Grid reference they gave for the Cuidrach Stone Setting in 1989 proved to be more than a hundred metres in error.


 

The walk to the site is rather featureless but, as the map above shows, there is a slight 'greening' of the vegetation where the small stream trickles down past the circle. Also, looking east towards the loch, you should be level with a band of trees that straddles the path to the cottage beyond.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
18th September 2017ce

Carn Wen (Gwastedyn) (Cairn(s))

Travellers heading south upon the A470 - or at least those with a tendency to, perchance, lift their eyes above the horizontal plane - will note, upon leaving the limits of the busy town of Rhayader, a substantial ridge dominating the skyline. This is Gwastedyn Hill, and, although rising to no more than c1,565ft, the 'summit' is conspicuously crowned by a neat 'beehive' cairn of the type so beloved by visitors to the erstwhile 'wilder', more inaccessible heights of Cwmdeuddw feeding the famously nearby Elan Valley Reservoirs with their not inconsiderable watery excess. However, appearances, as are often the case, are deceptive here, for no Bronze Age VIP was interred upon that rocky spine. Indeed, a rusting iron lattice-work 'beacon', set upon a post beside the cairn, commemorates a much more recent event... that of Queen Elizabeth II's 1977 Jubilee. An event which this then proto-Modern Antiquarian spent dressed as a pirate... well, as the wondrous Mr Ant said, 'ridicule is nothing to be scared of'... attending the local street party, whilst Mr Rotten and his dodgy cohorts had their collars 'felt' by the Thames river police. And Rod Stewart apparently got to No.1. Apparently. Don't get me wrong; The Pistols were just stupid kids.... but out of the mouths of babes, as they say. Curious how 'criminality' is sometimes defined, isn't it?

Nevertheless should one decide to park up just beyond the sewage works (on the right) and follow the (unsigned) public bridleway, steeply up through trees beside a tumbling stream in the general direction of Bwlch-y-llys, an equally taxing pull up the bare north-west flank of the hill will bring ample reward in a fantastic panorama to all points of the compass. Here the Royalist can drink his/her fill... the prehistorian, however, must head to the true summit of the hill some way to the approx south-east, where.... well, to be honest I don't think anyone's been able to define just what the hell is going on.

Two things, however, are apparent to me today: the remains of a substantial cairn still stand at SN98686614... the Carn Wen (White Cairn), one of a number so named in the extended locality; and secondly, the inclement weather, the peripheral effects of Hurricane Irma no doubt, is certainly in no hurry to leave. But what can you do? Except offer heartfelt 'thanks' to the wondrous institutions of Berghaus and Karrimor for the blessings of their waterproof garments. Not so much in physical genuflection, you understand?.... but such a posture does have much to recommend it when faced with rain seemingly not in obeyance of the laws of physics.

In my opinion Carn Wen is worthy of the honour of such personalised nomenclature. As Coflein duly notes, it features "...the remains of a substantial bouldered kerb and a possible cist". Always welcome features to find associated with one's upland cairn. Furthermore, to seal the authenticity deal, as it were, "A battle-axe, a bracelet and some other relics' were recovered in 1844 and a large erect stone was noted at the centre of the monument". So, clearly, what we have here is but the shattered remnants of what once was. But it is enough. Large, erect stones notwithstanding. However there is more... apparently much more, for immediately to the approx north-west stands the circular 'Druid's Circle' feature, currently interpreted as "a roundhouse and enclosure" (at SN98676615), whilst to the north-east, three further cairns have been recorded by CPAT. None of this detail was obvious to me, I have to confess. Although, in mitigation, lashing, freezing rain and swirling hill fog do tend to adversely affect observation. If not authentic upland vibe.

After a couple of hours the weather's onslaught finally triumphs over my resolve and I descend back to the car... ironically in brilliant sunshine. Yeah, Gwastedyn Hill is a curious place. Just what an apparently prehistoric 'enclosure' is doing immediately adjoining a bone fide summit burial cairn is, of course, open to much debate. If Iron Age, perhaps it was indeed - for once - actually associated with those enigmatic Druid priests, holding ceremonies with meaning now lost in the mists of time, if no longer, thanks to penetrating sun, opaque mists of H20?
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
17th September 2017ce

Llety'r Filiast (Burial Chamber)

Visited 13th Sept 2017: my second visit to the Great Orme. The first two and half years ago was specifically to visit the Copper Mines. This time we went went up to the top of the Great Orme by the tramway from Llandudno - which is a recommended and enjoyable experience. As before, however, there was a fierce wind blowing along with daunting rain showers sweeping in over the Great Orme headland. Wonderfully dramatic but not really walking weather. Had a look around the Visitor's Centre and learnt about Cromlech ar y Gogarth or Cromlech on the Great Orme (Llet y'r Filiast). The helpful volunteer told me it could be found about 150 metres below the Great Orme Mines so we used our tramway return tickets to take us back down to the Halfway Station. From here we found our way down to some houses on the higher edges of Llandudno - and asked a local resident. The cromlech was actually in a field at the end of Cromlech Road with a good stile into the field. In the great scheme of magnificent restored portal tombs this one was quite small but none the less very satisfying to find on that wind swept chilly North Wales day. The cherry on the cake of a memorable day. tjj Posted by tjj
17th September 2017ce

The Milking Stone (Natural Rock Feature)

The House Of Fairies was minus its inhabitants so we decided to follow them to their other hiding place The Milking Stone. We headed slightly south west, to the tarred road and followed it as it went steeply uphill. The stone is situated near the first large corner on the road.

After hearing no rattling spoons we reckoned it was safe to approach as the fairies had obviously moved on. There are glorious views of the villages of Hirta, prehistoric and the more modern, Hirta Bay, island of Levenish (a stac) and the magnificent cliffs of Bioda Mor, home to a fort. A stunning scene with the weather to match.

Resembling a recumbent stone it is about 4m long, 1.5m wide and 1.5 tall.

As we continued up hill I'm sure I heard the clinking of cutlery behind me. When I looked around there was an army vehicle just about to overtake us.

Visited 2/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
14th September 2017ce

House Of The Fairies (Souterrain)

Walk north west from the burnt mound, past the houses and graveyard. Look carefully for a hole in the ground. This might seem easy but it isn't. Behind the village, indeed the whole of the natural amphitheatre, is covered in rocks all of which are the same colour.

The House Of The Fairies is one of St Kilda's most famous sites. Its north end is covered in grass whilst the southern end has its lintels exposed. Sadly the hole which can be seen is a hole in the roof which is half way along the original structure. Agriculture and dyke building has seen the other stones removed and the former southern end filled in. To get into the 9m remnants is easy enough and their is enough room for taller people to get to the end hunched down. About 5m from the entrance there is a small passage heading north east. Even at the entrance there seems to have been passages going in both directions, these might have been a wall that has been long since removed.

The fairies must have been nervous and decided to hide from view. Perhaps they'd gone to The Milking Stone, which we were going to next. It was a privilege to see and enter this site. A real taste of the prehistoric times and a good chance to appreciate their building skills.

Visited 2/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
14th September 2017ce

Village Bay (Burnt Mound / Fulacht Fia)

Just a few metres to the west of the cist is a wall and on the other side of this can be found the remnants of a burnt mound. The oval shaped site is 20m by 10m and set in what appears to be waste ground, for much later settlers, near a consumption dyke. At its highest it is no more than 0.4m.

If you look closely in the walls burnt and broken pebbles can be seen and I agree with Canmore that there must have been several of these mounds, as there must have been cists whose stones probably provided lintels for the village houses.

Once again it is an indicator that the prehistoric people had a better time of it than later settlers. It certainly proves that they had a wider food choice.

After this we had to visit the faeries and their house.

Visited 2/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
12th September 2017ce

Village Bay (Cist)

When walking along Hirta Main Street keep a count of the houses and look for houses 7 and 8. Follow the wall that marks their plot border towards Hirta Bay until it stops, a few yards in front is the remnants of the cist. That is the easy way, I on the other hand decided that almost every neuk and crannie had to be explored.

Not much remains except for some stones set on edge, the loose lintels have probably been placed in one of the nearby walls.

When you look up and all round from this location you can see what a huge amphitheatre this place is, just how high the hills are and just how good the prehistoric folks nautical skills were. Then a helicopter interrupts, look slightly to the east and the view is of large tanks of the fuel variety. Prehistory and modern life in the space of a second.

Visited 2/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
12th September 2017ce

Aoismheal (Oiseval) (Souterrain)

Our first stop, on a gloriously warm day on St Kilda, was the probable remains of a souterrain built into a wall in an enclosure. It has been also described as a subterranean feature or a cist. If a cist whoever was interred must have been huge. During the 1800's land had been cleared for agricultural purposes so it was dug up and built into a wall. The remains of the underground feature are only a few metres from were they once had been place.

From the pier walk east and find the track which leads to the Main Street of Hirta. Once on the track heading west, the army base is nearby, go into the second enclosure. Being a dry stane dyker myself I appreciate that the one thing the later peoples were good at - building walls. The site is in the north east corner of the enclosure.

D. MacGregor in the 1960's said this site was Neolithic which, for us, meant an excellent start to the St Kildan trek.

Visited 2/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
11th September 2017ce

H141 - Horgabost (Stone Setting)

This is the furthest north of the stone settings and it looks directly north into the bay at Nisabost, the wondrous sands of Luskentyre and the mountains beyond. Also it looks down on to the camp site and the chippy van.

Spread over an area over 12m the stone setting is on top of large green mound. The furthest north part of the site resembles the outer edge/arc of a hut circle.

The underfoot conditions are quite good as the grass is reasonably short thanks to the army of local greenkeepers i.e. the sheep who do a fine job. Some parts are sandy thanks to the dunes.

A great place to spend an hour or two. Nobody bothers you at these barely known about sites, so a great chance to try and emulate these folks from a long time ago.

Visited 1/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
11th September 2017ce

Horgabost - H10 (Stone Setting)

From the standing stone at Horgabost walk about 100 meters to the north west. Yet another unusual site, for me, a stone setting appearing to look north to the Nisabost Bay and the mountains beyond.

The setting is on top of a small grassy hillock being spread over an area of 3m by 2.5m. There also appears to be some very small and pointy standing stones. Yet another site that makes me wonder what is underneath all of these dunes, could be the Forvie of the west.

Visited 1/8/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
11th September 2017ce
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