This really is the most idyllic location for a site, I'm blown away (and not for once by the incessant Manx winds).
We initially found it tricky to find, no signposts indicate its presence, and there are a maze of little lanes around the village of Cregneash. We took a narrow left turn just after the village car park, heading towards the coast, having spotted a sign to 'The Chasms'. The lane soon ended near the cliff tops at a bumpy car park. Heading towards the old cafe building, now just used as a shelter, we opened the gate and entered the chasms.
They are well named, as yawning gaps litter the area. Picking our way through them we initially head left, (as it turns out the wrong way!) and spend about twenty minutes clambering around and trying to find the site. Eventually after heading back the other way we spot the circle and work our way down to it.
Now the sky is a gorgeous blue and it's wonderfully sheltered here at Cronk Karran. I'm sitting in the circle listening to the call of the gulls and watching the sun sparkling on the sea.
Although there is some argument as to whether Cronk Karran is a cairn circle or hut circle, to me it clearly feels like a dwelling place rather than a site of burial or ritual.
One section of the wall is double skinned, but this only extends for around six feet and has clearly defined ends. It reminded me of the stone beds built into the houses at Skara Brae on Orkney, and I wonder if it was used for this purpose here? Certainly after reclining in it for a while it was just large enough for me to stretch out fully, and in the warmth of the sun, on the relatively soft grass, I'm almost dozing off.
After reading Kammer's fieldnotes I had high hopes for this site , and it doesn't disappoint, it'll be hard to tear ourselves away. Cronk Karran is a definite must visit if you are on Man.
Visited 26th August 2003: Cronk Karran is the site I enjoyed the most on Mann. There's some disagreement as to what it represents, but the favourite theories are hut circle or cairn circle. Although the stones are pretty unassuming, the location and tricky access make it very special.
Following the GPS from the car park we arrived at the cliff top and were very perplexed because the little LCD arrow indicated that the site was out at sea. A large stone wall blocked the immediate view over the cliff, so we moved west along the coastal footpath, over another wall, and got an aerial view of Cronk Karran from the cliff top. The circle is small, and it sits on a shelf below the cliff.
To the east of our vantage point was a strange looking old building (presumably a shelter) with benches in it, and opposite this a gate in the wall that skirts the cliff top. On the gate a large sign read...
PERSONS VISITING THIS AREA DO SO AT THEIR OWN RISK AND SHOULD PROCEED WITH CAUTION
MANX MUSEUM & NATIONAL TRUST
This was as close as we felt the kids should get, so I continued on my own. Beyond the gate there were indeed chasms aplenty, and I trod gingerly around them trying to find a way down to the shelf. This wasn't easy, and the exercise took on the feel of a 1980s computer game without the usual quota of three lives.
After all the trouble getting to the circle, I found it very peaceful once I was there. The situation is exposed to the south, but walled in by cliffs to the north and east. The circle doesn't appear to have an entrance as such, but there were signs that the 'wall' was made up of two rows of stones. Also of note was a small quartz stone incorporated into the wall. I wanted to stay for longer, but with the others waiting for their lunch up top, I had to move on.
I feel obliged to emphasise that Cronk Karran is not easily accessible, and the chasms and cliffs represent a significant danger to anyone visiting. The view from the top of the cliff is very good, so some people will be happy enough to view the circle from afar. If you decide to get closer, please take care.