You know how sometimes when you re-visit a place years later and maybe the stones are bigger or smaller, or it was further to walk than you remembered, or something will be different to how you remember it.
This is not that place, it stayed unretarded and unchanged in my memory, it was just how I remembered it, and it was just as perfect a place as it was eleven years ago.
Last time I came the rest of the family stayed in the motor home and I got to come here on my own and spend some quality time alone with a pair of perfect strangers, Christophe the guide and Pierre plats herself.
This time the kids elected to stay on the beach and create some sand sculptures, apparently they're too old for sand castles now, which works well for me because Christophe aint here so we are totally alone now.
Being alone at such a place as this is a rare thing in a Breton summer, but rather than rush round I take my time with her. First of all I take a good long look at the big standing stone in front of the passage entrance, the side that faces the sea is ragged and gnarled, bitten hard by the power of windy seas. But the reverse side is still smooth, and peppered with cup marks, one is as deep as a golf ball, one is half as deep and maybe ten more fainter still. Then I take a walk to the back of the passage on top of the capstones, there could be sixteen capstones but some maybe broken, so do you count it as one or two now.
You can see the curve of the capstones as they cover the priceless art work underneath, at the elbow to the passage a side passage turns left, you can see it's two capstones from above as well. At the junction of these two passages the capstones have on their upper surfaces carved grooves, one stone has about nine another has only two. Their purpose eludes me, but I suspect they are not original. Whilst i'm at the far end a man enters the passage, then I can hear him swear in English about his wet feet, evidently there is a puddle of substantial size in side, he doesn't last long and soon rejoins his partner for their evening stroll on the beach. Now it's my go inside.
A great man once said "Entering a burial chamber is a lot like making love to a beautiful woman" or he would have done if he ever did so. But I am and the thought isn't a million miles away from my mind.
The first carved stone you pass is the entrance pillar itself, not arty carving but you can tell it's been done. The puddle inside is quite extensive but some one has put stones along its length to step along, tottering along I make it to the bend in the passage and the junction with the left turn. In side the smaller passage which doesn't go much more than ten feet it is dry, but there is debris from other visitors. I rejoin the main passage and look out for the arty bits, of which there is many, they are coming thick and fast and soon I'm looking for them on all the stones. It is a megalithic treasure trove this place the carvings are still so neat and fresh, I angle my torch, like so, to pick out the shapes more clearly, they are quite breathtaking. Now I'm at the end of the passage and a side slab cuts off the end six feet in an almost chamber, it's quite dry at the back and I sit for a while with my back to the wall. Someones coming, but the puddle dissuades them form disturbing our embrace and penetrating further, no puddle can dampen my ardor I'm in up to the hilt.
"Entering a burial chamber is a lot like making love to a beautiful woman"
Is it ?
I'm sure that it is.
Just then Eric comes looking for me and pokes his head in through a gap in the roof, caught again, our time is over, all too quickly, he informs me ive been here for an hour, how time flies when your having fun.
Moth insisted I see one in particular, knowing my mind would be blown by it. Les Pierres Plats is at the very southern tip of the Locmariaquer peninsula, now hidden away in the dunes overlooking the beach. Parking among the camper vans in the shade of the pines, a short walk of 300 metres takes you to the monument which heralds its existence in advance with a tall menhir poking above the gorse.
This amazing tomb is full of mega-surprises. Its little low portal leads into a long passageway which curves sharply round to the left. The total length must be 20 metres or so, but it never gets tall enough to stand up in. After five metres or so is a side chamber to the left. But keep going – you'll need your torch – and you are rewarded with the most magnificent and surprising carvings on the great walling slabs. Something that looks like a fern leaf or a rib cage, another looks like a diagram of botanical cell, another looks like a phallus… Cup-marks be damned! THIS is rock art and you'll wet your panties.
The outside of the mound is badly eroded, how much longer people should be allowed to walk around it and on it is debatable. Footfall is taking its toll.
A definate A list site this one. A very convenient carpark is sited right next to the beach. We parked amongst the other motorhomes and I left the rest of the family making sandcastles, a short walk down the path next to the beach takes you directly to the Allee Coudee. When I got there I found a guide waiting for any one who visits he had a torch so I let him tag along, he didn't speak much English and my French ain't great, all I could get out of him was whilst lighting the rock art and pointing was "Goddess" and similar one word explanations. His name was (and still is I presume) Christophe. After a couple of minutes I managed to explain my name is Christopher too, but not that I thought he had a really cool job.
The passage bends to the left half way down
which is what differentiates an Allee Couverte from an Allee Coudee. It has carvings on nearly half the stones (hence the guide/guardian) and with a tall cupmarked menhir at the entrance, this is a real gem of aplace