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It was a nice day, and I fancied a run up to the Rollrights to take a look at the sculpture installation, to see what all the fuss was about. I should mention right now that I'm no artist.

We headed up the M40, and instead of heading through Oxford as usual, stayed on to J10 then cut across country, which gave the opportunity of stopping off at the Enstone Hoar Stone. I've yet to take a photograph of this that I'm happy with. The light under the trees is always so lacking that I really should use a tripod. All the photos I've taken here, whether with flash or not, always end up out of focus and with a strange hue to them that my limited Photoshop skills cannot correct.

We then stopped off in Chipping Norton for some retail therapy for Mikki, and lunch for both of us (this is becoming a habit when we head up this way!) After lunch I picked up a copy of 'The Greater Ridgeway' by Ray Quinlan. This breaks down the track from Hunstanton in Norfolk to Lyme Regis in Dorset into short sections, each with a description. Although not a distance walker, I wouldn't mind giving some of the sections a crack one day…

Fed and watered, we headed for the Rollrights, which were incredibly busy! I chose to avoid the circle initially, walking instead down to the Whispering Knights, where the crop had recently been harvested, allowing better views and easy access to the fencing. I then walked back to the car via the King Stone, the area around which had been turned into a temporary car park!

Mikki said that in my absence, a certain Mr J Cope had walked past, with a substantial entourage. And I'd missed him! I've not heard much of his stuff, other than the obvious chart hit(s), but it would have been nice to say thanks for the book. Another day, another location maybe.

And so, onto the circle. I've never seen it so busy, and at first glance, it was difficult to see the sculpture at all. There were a group of a dozen or so, clustered closely around it. I realized that they were trying to dowse around the sculpture, one person reporting a very strong reaction from it!!

I tried to get some photos, but no matter which angle I tried I wasn't able to get a good view of the sculpture that would give good reflections of the stones and the contrasting textures without blockage from the assembled throng. I've since seen that Jane managed this in her photos, so much better than any of my attempts. I also tried to get a shot through one of the holed stones, but again, the results were disappointing due to the constant presence of human traffic between my viewpoint and the main centre of attention.

So is the sculpture a Good Thing™? I'd have to reserve judgement on that. It certainly attracted a lot of attention, and people seemed to ignore the stones in its favour. In its defence, on all previous occasions I've been to the circle, I've not really felt fully in touch with the stones there. Today was different. I managed to really look at the stones in context, despite the crowd, and the stones had a good feeling about them. I'll know better if it was the 'Sculpture Effect' next time I pass this way, after it's been removed.

Returning to Mikki, I wanted to try to take a look at some other sites, over toward Stow, so we continued our journey. I'd hoped to see the barrow at Lower Swell, and The Tump, but couldn't see anything from the road, and didn't feel disposed to explore off road on this occasion. Similarly for the Cow Common barrow cemetery, or maybe I just wasn't looking properly.

We did find the Condicote Henge, which is amazingly unspectacular, and hardly worth the petrol. The barest outline of the featureless henge can be seen from the side of the road.

And so we returned home. Next week, Uffington and the TMA picnic!

ocifant Posted by ocifant
21st July 2003ce
Edited 22nd July 2003ce

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