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


Stone Circle


As the delightful Jane said, last Saturday it was one bloody visitor after another. Hordes of 'em. In addition, there was very bad light, threatening to turn into that sort of insipid gloom that works to suck every last vestige of contrast from a scene. But I speak as a photographer.

As a visitor of megalithic sites, it was wonderful to return to Castlerigg after a seven year absence. Then, I was seeing it for the first time on a cold, overcast winter's day. The whole place was very muddy, populated by sheep, and punctuated by the occasional hardy soul clothed in Gore-Tex and a strong constitution. It was idyllic, breathtaking and magical.

I had forgotten just how small and diminutive it seemed, surrounded by the imposing mountains and dramatic, rolling skies. Small, and perfectly formed. The sheep were still there, but had moved off a little, and I was looking forward to getting some more interesting photos with the different type of light.

The stormy rolling clouds were hinting at the possibility of some gorgeous soft modelling light, and with the insane obsession only a photographer possesses, I laid in the extremely damp grass, avoiding as best I could sheep turds and muddy patches. The light glimmered, and instantly the stones began to sing, poetry against the plunging valley now lit with soft sunshine. Perfect!

Scrabbling up, covered in muck, I swiftly moved to get a shot of the massively female stone that formed part of the intriguing cist within the circle - exquisite, exquisite light; long lens; harmonious picture, here it comes . . . as did four garrulous Spaniards, who sauntered into shot, lit fags, hung around, sat on the stones, took pictures sporadically - and NEVER when the light was at it's best, aarrgghh! - before ambling disinterestedly off to their car. Ten minutes of hanging about as if they were outside a coffee bar in Madrid. I ask you. The pain!

I wouldn’t mind, but it’s a long old drive from Oxfordshire, and as a non-driver, it’s even harder to get places. So with that, and the regular flow of people, this wasn't quite the experience I was hoping for. Heigh ho. And that was it, really. The light went, the stones didn’t have quite their previous essence, and I returned to Jane and our group, swearing never to buy another Seville orange. Meanwhile, Jane was reclining on a heavy duty Eastern rug, having knocked out a lovely painting without any humans cluttering it up. I’m sure these water-colourists have it far too easy . . .
treaclechops Posted by treaclechops
31st August 2003ce

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