The kids had made some friends at the hotel and their parents granted me two hours leave to go see some stones, so with no small amount of glee I bombed it over to Locmariaquer. Followed the signs for Table des Marchands, went straight past it, turned right at the cemetery down a very thin road until I saw the sign for Mane Rutuel. Parking here is precarious to say the least, there is not much room at all.
A path leads you in between some houses and past their gardens, there was someone at the burial chamber before me, so I strolled as slowly as I could. That's the thing about sites around Carnac, you very rarely get the place to yourself unless your there out of season, but I guarantee that they never stay long. The young English family didn't even go in, what's the point ?
This long Allee Couverte sits in an area barely big enough to contain it, there is just enough room for three to walk abreast around it. After walking around it I bent low and passed through the entrance.
There is a lot of concrete here, more concrete than in any other site ive seen here, it's not particularly pretty. The passage opens out slightly into a round-ish chamber, tall enough to stand upright in. But beyond the round-ish chamber is the concrete chamber, it seems cut off from the rest of the monument, like it wasn't used at all, almost all the wall stones are concrete, graffitied and littered. It is best appreciated from the outside, where the concrete is almost invisible.
The massive capstone that sits at the end of the passage is truly gargantuan, the carved human figure on it's under side was not visible to me, mostly because I didn't know it was there. Was this capstone one of the menhirs from the alignment up the road ? it is very rectangular, unlike most other Carnac Menhirs. So I don't know.
But that is where I'm going now, even though it's closed for the day.
From the by now familiar car park of Table des Marchants, Er Grah and Grand Menhir Brisé, we walked 100 metres down the lane past the Locmariaquer cemetery and around the corner from the cemetery into the village towards the Mané Ruthiel.
Surrounded by lovely houses and flowering trees is Mané Ruthiel. (Julian calls it Mané Rutuel, but I'm following the road sign spelling. I've also read it spelt Mané Rutual in a couple of books. Take yer pick!)
In my notebook I wrote: 'Wild! Inconceivably big!' It's a very long passage grave (about 20 metres) lined with MASSIVE wall slabs, with lots of mound still left but the most remarkable thing about it is the capstone of the main chamber (which is divvied into two rooms). The capstone is a reused menhir - a GARGANTUAN one!
Just picture the scene: a work gang moves, creates and erects a whopping great menhir. Chief carver has made a nice big human figure on it so the design can be seen from a good distance away. It looks great. But later on head honcho has a better idea. 'I know' il dit, 'let's move that menhir and use it as capstone on my new passage grave.' The work gang finish their pork chops, pick up their levers and off they troop. Moving a 100 ton stone? No problem.
The carved figure now forms the ceiling of the interior chamber but it's so big you can hardly make it out! This was indeed a cracker.