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Brainport Bay Solar Alignment

Stone Row / Alignment

<b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by greywetherImage © greywether
Nearest Town:Lochgilphead (14km SW)
OS Ref (GB):   NR976951 / Sheet: 55
Latitude:56° 6' 20.23" N
Longitude:   5° 15' 18.44" W

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Trafalgar Wood Standing Stones

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<b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by greywether <b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by greywether <b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by greywether <b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by greywether <b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by greywether <b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by greywether <b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by greywether <b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by greywether <b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by greywether <b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by greywether <b>Brainport Bay Solar Alignment</b>Posted by greywether

Fieldnotes

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Ha! I made it back almost exactly one year on from my previous unsuccessful attempt to find this wondrous solar alignment, sited upon the shore of the equally exquisite, prosaically named Loch Fyne. It is not what I expected, but nonetheless I am enthralled. And that's a fact.

For a start the two stones forming the alignment are small little things, the inner set within a 'notch' or cleft in the rock outcrop chosen by the ancients (whether this is naturally occurring or specially worked for the task I can not say), the outer standing proud above lochside and apparently acting as the 'sighting stone', at least according to the fading information panels. Behind the stones stand a series of 'viewing points' set at progressively further distances from the uprights. These are comprised of stony platforms, a split boulder (or maybe two close set boulders in parallel) and, lastly, an upper platform now buried within fallen trees. I clamber upon one such tree in an attempt to approximate the view from the latter.... but then realise I'll probably break my neck if I don't get down pretty sharpish. The boulder position is better - not to mention safer - offerings of quartzite pebbles indicative that other Heads are well aware of the vibe of this special place.

Yeah, the vibe is incredible, the bluebells dazzling, birds noisy.... the sun throwing shadows around the woodland clearing. I need more time than I have... but I'm so glad I came back. OK, Stonehenge may be the show site when it comes to solar alignments - and much else besides, of course - but this diminutive little alignment is, in my opinion, just as much as real a deal. Much more to Gladman tastes, to be honest.

To get here take the Minard Castle driveway from the A83 and park at the entrance to the first forestry track on the left (ignore that to the right). Follow the track and, forking right, descend to a deer fence, noting the Trafalgar Wood standing stone/alignment within. Follow the fence to the right and entering a gate, trend diagonally left down through the woods to emerge lochside via another gate. Turn left, move around the corner.... and there you are.

Some things are worth coming back for, don't you know? What a wonderfully moving place.
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
5th June 2013ce
Edited 6th June 2013ce

A disappointing - and only partially successful visit, this.... since I was expecting a lot having noted Greywether's comments and images. Quite excited, in fact. Steady on, old chap. However I, er, sort of assumed that the alignment - information boards 'n' all - would be easy to find without a 1:25 OS map. And I certainly didn't expect the area to be almost totally over-run by head high vegetation ... including the infamous rhododendron... and a plantation apparently set-up in 2005 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. I'd rather they hadn't, but there you are.

I approached via the Minard Castle B&B turning from the A83, taking the first left forestry track. Logging operations ensured this was strictly on foot, although personally I'd walk anyway (note the possibility of closure if making a special trip). The track forks right and soon enough arrives at a heavily overgrown hilltop surrounded by an unclimbable deer fence. I first follow this to the left toward the shore of wonderful Loch Fyne, but see nothing. So, to the right, then. Sure enough, a standing stone pokes its head up through the greenery. But how to get to it? Further along a gate in the deer fence offers promise... only to meander down hill toward the loch. Backtracking, I try to penetrate the screen of vegetation, cursing the brambles, getting increasingly more disorientated and pissed off with bloody 'Trafalgar Wood'. I try again, but eventually have to admit defeat. Sometimes Nature just will not be bargained with, you know? So, onto the beautiful shore of Loch Fyne, trending left and then right. I see nothing, although the fact that such a wondrous 'watery vista' is not enough in itself is, in retrospect, frankly ludicrous. It is frustrating, the feeling that the stones are just 'around there' no doubt well known to all who search out such things in the field. But it is not to be, not today.

Time is running out if I want to reach my Tinto nightly stop-over by dark. Then I suddenly notice that someone has actually made an unobtrusive hole in the fence below the aforementioned standing stone seen at the start. I crawl through to find the monolith is indeed a handsome monument. But what's this? There's more, in the form of two(?) further stones which lie broken in apparent shattered alignment before it, heading uphill. A stone row? Looks like it, but aligned upon what? Too much vegetation to tell. Unfortunately I must leave it there. Perhaps a lochside approach from Minard would be more revealing. But at least I managed to glimpse something of why the ancients came to view the greatest of our stars here. I shall return, better prepared, if I can some day.
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
24th June 2012ce
Edited 24th June 2012ce

I've been meaning to visit this site for some time and, now that I've done so, would fully recommend it. It's on the road to Kilmartin so anyone visiting there might want to call in. There's a lot to see though so you'd need to allocate two hours at least if you want to cover all of it.

It is now part of the Brainport Bay Heritage Trail (includes wildlife, geology, etc) with parking, leaflets, waymarking and information boards.

Like any archaeoastronomy site, there are problems but what is interesting about this site is that the main features are difficult to explain in any context other than for solar viewing.

For a full description of the site and some of its problems, see the Clive Ruggles book mentioned in Miscellaneous. Only brief details are given here along with the photo captions. I've also posted photos of the information boards but they skip over some of the issues.

For parking, you have a number of options depending on how far you want to walk and how you feel about taking your car along forest tracks.

Easiest but with most walking is to park at the start of the Trail in Minard (by the shore just before the traffic lights if going south).

Alternatively drive south and turn left at the sign for Minard Castle B&B. There is a large parking area first on the left next to the forest track.

If you want to take your car into the forest (I did!), you can get near to the Solar Platform site by turning right after a while and going down the narrow winding track. There is room to park and turn ONE car here. You will be next to the standing stone and to get to the platform head E along the path (do not follow the waymarkers).

The Oak Bank stone sites can be reached by going along the forest track and not turning right. Parking and turning for ONE car at the end.

Visited 24 March 2004
greywether Posted by greywether
30th March 2004ce
Edited 30th March 2004ce

Miscellaneous

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A full description of the site and some of its problems is in Clive Ruggles' "Astronomy in Prehistoric Britain and Ireland".

There are probably four separate features at this site but since they are close together I have kept it as one site rather than create sub-sites.

They are listed below along with grid references, National Monument Record numbers and, where appropriate, the lettering used in Ruggles shown in {}.

Solar Alignment Viewing Platform NR97639511; NR99NE10; {A,B and C}

Cup-marked stone NR97589512; NR99NE8

Standing stone NR973950; NR99NE15

Oak Bank stone, cup-and-groove stones NR97429526 {L}, NR97429528 {K and J}
greywether Posted by greywether
30th March 2004ce

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Stones of Wonder


More information including a photo of midsummer sunrise at the site.
greywether Posted by greywether
30th March 2004ce

Latest posts for Brainport Bay Solar Alignment

Trafalgar Wood (Standing Stones) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Trafalgar Wood</b>Posted by GLADMAN GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
7th June 2016ce