When reading the big orange book one of the pages that stays in the mind most is The hill of many stanes, if you know what I mean. And so it is with this site. (see previous pic)
Over the hill a hundred yards or so is a large low ring cairn.
Even though this is the biggest stone in the area and the most tangible of ancient activity I left it till last, storm clouds brewed over the horizon but golden morning light bathed the valley below me, despite the rain it was a magical rainbow filled morning. Then I had to change a flat tyre upon returning to the car, you can't have everything.
Visited 18th June 2004: This was a sneaky visit on my way back from a conference, so time was short. As it turned out, good weather was running short as well. Having approached cross country in beautiful sunshine, I arrived in ominous gloom.
No sign of an 'ovine choir' on this visit. I could smell the rain, and I had no coat, so I ran to the stone. As you can see from the photos, there was plenty of sunshine, just not over me!
Before the heavens opened I rattled off some photos. The sheep (although absent on this visit) are eroding the soil around the stone, and polishing it up by rubbing on it. The end result, a sort of grubby brown sheen, isn't what I'd call aesthetically pleasing. Access is pretty good though. You could feasibly get a wheelchair up to the stone with some help from a lackey.
"There she is!," cried the exquisite Cheryl suddenly, heading off into the field, and up a slight rise. Further up the hill, a large flock of sheep began bleating astonishingly loudly and persistently. Following Cheryl, we came to the most beautiful and charming standing stone, our arrival celebrated by the Powys Ovine Choral Society.
Carreg Hir is about five feet tall, wonderfully solid, round, and stout. Greeny-yellow lichens on her northern side were complemented by a large, thick, greasy black mark about her middle; she was obviously much frequented as a scratching post by the members of the choir.
As ever, she commanded stunning views from three points of the compass, but the view behind led to the nearby brow of the hill. What is that all about?
This particular stone felt very soft, welcoming and nurturing. She's definitely female. There was something of apple-cheeked farmers' wives about her, or the warmth and stillness of breastfeeding mothers, or even a priestess-like magnetism...