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Serpent Mound, Loch Nell

Artificial Mound


Every now and then a site visit leaves the traveller with a sense of 'what the bloomin' eck do we have here?' Usually this is due to partial destruction, severe undergrowth obscuring form, that sort of thing. But this is something different. Sure, I'd heard of the great Native Indian Serpent Mounds of Ohio, seen a possible 'tail' appended to the Bryn-yr-Hen-Bobl in Anglesey, and read about Stukeley's serpent analogy for Avebury. But here, upon the bonny banks of Loch Nell? The real thing? Yeah, right.

However, during the dying embers of the day I head approx north from the nearby chambered cairn to take an all too brief look at this eroded earthwork. Marked upon the 1:50k OS map simply as 'cairn', this description may well have sufficed if the western section was all there was to be seen here... a large, approx circular cairn bearing a deep excavated cist. Nice. But what's this, a narrow, 'serpentine' ridge (hell yeah!) leading towards, and therefore connecting the cairn to, another, tree covered feature to the approx east? Well, some form of burial monument, clearly. But why the 'body', assuming the cairn to be the 'head'? Symbolism, then. But why the second cairn/mound/hillock at the other end? And was there meant to be a 'tail' section added to that? To be frank, I haven't a clue. But, whatever it is, The Serpent Mound certainly lives up to its assigned name. Does exactly what it says on the tin, so to speak.

I walk the ridge and have a look beyond... perhaps another section, perhaps not? I wish I had more time, but there's a camp to sort for the night and dinner. Basic human requirements. Serpent Mound... love the name and leave here intrigued by this enigmatic, yet virtually unknown site. Oh yesssssssssssssssss.
12th June 2010ce
Edited 13th June 2010ce

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