Due to a combination of not reading TMA properly and Bovine Intervention, we didn't get into the Mother's Jam proper. You head up Eastwards out of Avebury, past the scaggy farm and up on to the Ridgeway (you can just see the crest of Silbury above Waden Hill). Cross straight across (following the coloured bridleway sign) along the unbelievably sheep-shit coated path (I swear the sheep do it on purpose - the rest of their field isn't that bad) until you get to the horse gallop thing (looks like a racecourse).
Attentive readers of the TMA will now cross these gallops, and "descend to a sea of stones".
Fellow Gibbons will not cross the gallops, but instead head down into the field on the "wrong" (Western) side, and no doubt, like us, find themselves literally marooned on top of an enormous stone, eating sandwiches, and looking back at the 10+ curious cows gathered around the base of the stone.
There was loads of them! We were sat down by a large stone, and had decided against sitting on it, due to possible damage to lichens, "what if every who came here did it?" and so on, got the butties out, and generally admired the view. Mrs Gibbon let out a bit of hoot as she spotted a young calf, followed by several others, coming in about 15 ft away. We scrambled up the stone (there's 2 quite big ones, at the south-western end of the gallops, on the Avebury side), and watched in horror as the couple of cows mooed as loudly as they could, calling in the others for a look, surrounding the whole stone, looking at us.
We were up there for over half an hour. Occasionally the odd cow would drift off, but it would soon be replaced by another, galloping in from over the horizon, in response to the signal. We were praying that no-one was going to come past and see us, perched up there. It wasn't as if we were *frightened* or anything. Oh no. Just that the cows had formed a very solid circle around us. And they were looking at us. Ruminating.
We were finally saved by the rattle of the feedbucket. All the cows all legged it off down to the farm at the bottom of the hill, and we were left to have a root about. As it turns out, we were in the "wrong" side, but there's still plenty to amuse. Down at the bottom of the field, there's a whole heap of stones, many arranged in various straight lines. Follow the field straight up (there's a long-barrow shaped tumulus, with poles in the top - not sure exactly what it is), and there's at least 2 more "destroyed" circles, one on a small hillock, the other around a small ditch. Not quite the "natural earth altar" we were expecting, but that's what you get for not paying attention, and being scared of cows.
Possible the most beautiful part of the Avebury complex we've visited so far. Well worth the visit just to try and imagine what a shocker of a job it must have been to bring the stones in, and to see the Henge of Avebury from a new angle. Will return, avoiding the cows. Probably get aliens next time or something ...
Posted by RiotGibbon
8th August 2000ce