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

costaexpress’s TMA Blog

Post to the TMA Blog

Le Petit Menac

Following numerous field trips this year my wife had asked me to hold off any more visits, at least until the spare room has been decorated in time for Christmas. this was not an unreasonable request as I had started to decorate the room some two and a half years ago. So it was with some dismay she caught me in the study with Julians book open at the section about Carnac. 'Trust you are not thinking of going there any time soon because you can think again'. 'no, No, NO!, how could you think such a thing, I know my priorities'. Anyway, over a glass of wine that evening I realised that there was no way out of this mess and I blurted out that not only was I thinking of going but that I had already booked the van and myself on the Eurotunnel leaving Saturday morning. I made the bed up in the van, stacked the fridge with food and beer and waved cheerio to an empty kitchen window and blew a promise on the breeze to paint the spare room immediately upon my return.
The 640 miles to the Arzon peninsula (my first port of call to visit the cairn du petit mont) proved easier than I had expected and I was there late afternoon having left home at 1.30am in the morning giving me time to drive past the main alignments as a taster for Sunday morning.
I decided to start at the Kerzerho alignment at Erdeven. What an amazing place with the main stone avenue gently progressing down the hill away from the main road. As I walked down the avenue I encountered a large group dressed in Brittany kilts enacting a strange ceremony including a mock beheading on one of the flattened stones, whilst not threatening my presence wasn't really appreciated and I took some photographs and left knowing I could come back later. as I approached the main alignment at Menac I could not believe the car park, everything I hate, kids running around spilling ice cream, dogs barking, groups preparing for Sunday cycling club and adults wondering as far as the information booth. It got worse as I approached the stones and discovered I could only enter with a guide, however, putting all to one side the scale of the alignment simply took my breath away. I knew it would be big, but not this big, where do I start, how do I get to really appreciate it? After a short while I realised I needed to move on and went to the Kermario alignment. Wow, just two cars and totally free access to the stones which wound there way first down the hill and then back up towards Kerlescan. Here I was also able to visit the Dolmens of Kermario and Kercado and a wonderful walk up to the Giant de Manio. It was then on to the alignment at Kerlescan and a walk around to the Menhir behind it. Next on my agenda was to find the alignment of Petit Menac, not as easy as it sounds. Following a few false starts I crossed the main road and followed the path into the forest, and wow what a magical, mysterious place it turned out to be. The stone avenue is clearly visible despite the growing vegetation and the mature woodland slowly winding to the left and then up the hill into the wood. I was there for over one hour and not one other person ventured into the woods it was impossible to compare it with the crazy going ons at the main Menac alignment, so peaceful so full of atmosphere with the suns rays penetrating the trees and illuminating the stones
So what are they all about, why are they there? They certainly convey a great sense of ceremony of a grandeur on a scale we do not see any where else. Was one erected for every birth, for every death, are they a silent army or are they standing stations for a grand ceremony?
The next day was spent visiting some of the seemingly never ending number of important sites in the area in particular the megaliths of Locmariaquer where on one rather touristy site is the broken menhir of Er Grah, once the tallest standing stone in Europe and the Table de Marchand and the Er Grah Tumulus which at 460 feet long was on a scale I have not seen before.
I spent a further day travelling across country to La Roche Au Fees and the Dolmen de Bagnieux. The first being one of the most impressive megaliths I have ever seen on a huge scale in a woodland setting. Once again I had the place to myself to enjoy and to wonder. The Dolmen at Bagnieux was a real let down, stripped of all dignity and a 4euro side attraction to the local café, really wished I had not seen it. I wanted to release it and set it free although I knew it was already long dead.
And so that was my short trip, you will be pleased to know I bought a tin of white gloss on the way home, having read the multiple warnings on the back of the tin I have locked it in a cabinet in the back of the garage afraid of what damage it may do and in any case my wife said she would have preffered flowers!

Posted by costaexpress
15th October 2015ce

Comments (5)

Great notes, you bring the trip to life :) thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
16th October 2015ce
Sorry you didn't rate Le Grand Dolmen but I guess after the wonders of the alignments and such a long drive its less-than-beautiful setting (!) might well come as something of a letdown; I only had to go a couple of miles to see it and had prepared myself for anti-climax. I still think it's impressive in its sadly confined space, not too dissimilar to my experience of Trefignath recently. ironstone Posted by ironstone
16th October 2015ce
i agree with you there, Trefignath is quite an impressive site robbed of any atmosphere by the modern industrial estate road and the Auminium works in the background, still enjoyed it though. I think you are right about the Grand Dolmen, I hadn't prepared myself for it being locked up behind a high wall and gates (I had to ring the bell 3 times), and in such a confined space, on the positive side there was a space for my camper van right outside! Posted by costaexpress
17th October 2015ce
I've just watched some u tube stuff about Carnac & would love to see it. Your blog is smashing. Lucky man. Now get your wife a treat :) Posted by carol27
28th October 2015ce
Will do carol27, what I did not tell her was that the trip was your fault! I read your blog about your autumnal drive and immediately knew I needed another field trip Posted by costaexpress
4th November 2015ce
You must be logged in to add a comment