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Hunebedden in Nederland


After many trips to the Netherlands this time I really wanted to visit Hunebedden. My partner is Dutch and our Daughter half Dutch so with a love and interest of all things prehistoric this was a trip I was really looking forward to. I wasn't disappointed.

The Autumn Equinox seemed like a good date to start my investigations into these monuments.
So where to begin when choosing the first Hunebed to visit? We opted for Great Borger, not only the largest but possibly the most famous and definitely the most visited. Very easy to find, with museum, gift shop, cafe and a very pleasing reconstruction of a hut built to represent how people would have lived at the time. This may all be superficial to the site itself but was sensitively done and helped with the educational side of things for Dutch school children and adults alike. The focus is on the Dutch language but their are translations into English among other languages. I think the visitors center had a nice feel and the National Trust could learn a lot about what the Stonehenge experience could be like with a similar approach.
So to great Borger itself. As Julian Cope wrote in The Megalithic European the Hunebed does remind one somewhat of a dinosaur skeleton. My first impression was a similar feeling to seeing those dinosaur skeletons in the Natural History museum as a child. Although there were many visitors on site we had the place to ourselves more than once during the visit. It's hard to compare the structure with anything I've seen in the UK, and the place felt different too. I spent some time walking around, looking at Borger from different perspectives, checking alignments, and also tried dowsing with interesting results. My One year old daughter finds the site of the Dowsing rods hilarious, as did some of the other visitors but the mother (not in law) had fun with them and was a natural!
I would say that this place does have a soul but you have to concentrate, and need to want to find it. A shorter visit might give you the same feeling as somewhere like Stonehenge, not in scale but in the feeling of being a tourist attraction as much as somewhere of great importance and interest. Don't be fooled though, tune in and you shall reap the rewards.

With a list of places to visit but without a whole week to dedicate only to Hunebedden the next place to visit was the Bronnegar complex.
This place is more remote, but still very accessible. This being the Netherlands I would suggest arriving by bike a good way to arrive. You wont be alone with this form of transport.
Bronnegar is made up of five Hunebedden in varying states of disrepair. At best with D21 you will visit a magnificent example, It's right next to D22 as well in a nice little semi enclosed area. Both are intriguing in their own way. Both have Oak trees growing right next to them, at D22 the tree almost appears to have split the cap stone from one angle, in fact it's just up close but looks fantastic. At D21 the Oak tree is also right next to this very well preserved monument. While sitting there meditating on the place I found myself drifting and thinking about the trees. Of course they wouldn't have been their at the time the monuments were in use but there still seemed to be a great relevance to my modern perspective of the monument. I was thinking about a recent permaculture course I took, and about pioneer species, natural succession and Climax community, when the stable community that is reached and no further succession occurs. This seemed very relevant to me when considering these old stones and the people that put them there, coincidental? Maybe but still a beautiful vision of life beyond words and history.
The other three Hunebedden D23, D24 and D25here are not in such good shape, at worse being quite ruinous, as a whole complex though the place is magickal, and far more that the sum of it parts. Viewed and experienced with an open and inquisitive mind Bronnegar is an essential place to visit.
I look forward to the other treasures that the Netherlands hold, until next time.

D27 Borger — Images

28.09.10ce
<b>D27 Borger</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>D27 Borger</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>D27 Borger</b>Posted by texlahoma

Bronneger — Images

28.09.10ce
<b>Bronneger</b>Posted by texlahoma

D21 Bronneger — Images

28.09.10ce
<b>D21 Bronneger</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>D21 Bronneger</b>Posted by texlahoma

D22 Bronneger — Images

28.09.10ce
<b>D22 Bronneger</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>D22 Bronneger</b>Posted by texlahoma

D23 Bronneger — Images

28.09.10ce
<b>D23 Bronneger</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>D23 Bronneger</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>D23 Bronneger</b>Posted by texlahoma

D24 Bronneger — Images

28.09.10ce
<b>D24 Bronneger</b>Posted by texlahoma

D23 Bronneger — Images

28.09.10ce
<b>D23 Bronneger</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>D23 Bronneger</b>Posted by texlahoma

D25 Bronneger — Images

28.09.10ce
<b>D25 Bronneger</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>D25 Bronneger</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>D25 Bronneger</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>D25 Bronneger</b>Posted by texlahoma

Hunebed Center — Links

12.10.10ce
This is the website of the Hunebed Center Museum at Great Borger.

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The Boleigh Working


This had been a trip in the planning for many months. The only real plan though was to record in a Fogou. Boleigh Fogou to be precise.

Everywhere else we got to visit was a real bonus. What an amazing couple of days we had.

The trip began for me with a drive from Blandford Forum to Southampton Airport to pick up Brian Lavelle. We have become a pair of Fogou obsessive's over the last few months after choosing Fougou as the name of our band. We decided to spell the name Fougou after T.C Lethbridge and his spelling of the word. You're much more likely to see the word spelled Fogou these days though.
It would be fair to say that Lethbridge and the promise of seeing and experiencing a real life Fogou were the inspirations for the beginnings of our musical project.

Brian and I made the journey down to Boleigh Fogou. We met Rob at Rosemerryn, our home for the next few days. Rob and Laura are really lovely people and possibly the only people lucky enough to have a Fogou in their back garden. I would highly recommend staying here if you are thinking of visiting Cornwall.
Here is a link to their website http://www.rosemerrynwood.co.uk/

We stopped only to drop our bags in our rooms before heading straight out with Rob to see the Fogou.
Brian and I spent the rest of the afternoon recording in there and generally just taking it all in. The accoustics in there are quite unlike any place i have heard before. The dripping water adding to the sounds we made. Other ambient sounds such as the wind or birdsong are really reduced once you step into the fogou.

Boleigh Fogou is alive. There is no doubt about that. It is a living breathing entity. I have never in my life experienced anything else quite like it and the way I felt there.

We spent hours looking around the Fogou, sitting in the creep passage, experiencing dark, so dark that we couldn't see our hands an inch in front of our faces, and enjoying being there.
The first live performance Brian and I did as Fougou was in front of an audience of spiders, some of which were big enough to look us in the eye. With red spots on their backs, they were the only audience we could see but who knows who or what else was in there during the hours we spent in the Fogou.

On the Saturday we walked from Rosemerryn to The Pipers. Two enormous standing stones just a few yards down the road from our base. These stones are enormous and quite spectacular to see and be in the presence of.

Later we visited Tregiffian Burial Chamber. This lies on the side of the road and apparently used to extend through the road that so rudely cut it in half at some stage. It is impressive to see even now and has large Cup marks in one stone. I believe this is a replica, the original cup marked stone being in a museum somewhere. This stone also faces the wrong way now, originally having faced the dead inside the grave itself. There is also a cup mark on the capstone. Easy to find and well worth seeing if you are in the area.

The Merry Maidens. One of the best preserved and most complete circles I have ever visited was our next port of call. Brian and I had the place to ourselves for over an hour or so and only saw a dog walker, a couple of girls living in the back of a van and an elderly couple during our visit. We recorded here using just singing bowls with the microphone in the very middle of the circle. I also used a pendulum in a dowsing experiment around the circle with interesting results. I had never tried this before but influenced by Lethbridge and with an open mind I gave it a go. I'm not sure what any of my results mean but it was a start.
The Merry Maidens on an early March morning in Spring were a real joy to behold.

On Saturday afternoon we drove over to Carn Euny and again we were lucky enough to have the place to ourselves for a couple of hours. So we visited another Fogou, and took in the whole place, which is simply incredible to see. How on earth this place has survived so long is amazing to think about. The Fogou here is quite different to Boleigh. Bigger and more extensive but more sanitised and museum like in its reconstruction and preservation. Even so this is still a fascinating and compelling place to be.

The creep passage here is open to the grounds surface and the temptation to pass through it was too hard to resist. However, I chose not to go down the creep as presumably was originally intended. To do this would have had me spill out into a heap at the bottom covered in mud. Instead I decided to crawl upwards out of the main chamber. It was quite a squeeze, and I had to scrape my way though, catching my back on the stones above me before entering the light at the end of the tunnel and being free again.
Carn Euny is high up on a hillside but surprisingly secluded and sheltered from the wind, at least it was on this visit.

On the way back we had a good view of St Euny's Well . This was a nice spot but spoiled somewhat by a large metal grid.

Next was a visit to Boscawen-Un. We approached the circle and saw people in the circle. As we got closer it was clear that they were dowsing with rods. We entered the circle and I asked the man in front of me if he was having any luck with the dowsing. He told me "Yes, It's always good here, would you like to try?". To which I said "yes", and so it began. I walked towards the center of the circle from the large Quartz stone, I was told to slow down and hold my hands further apart, making sure that the rods pointed downward away from me slightly. Almost alongside the large leaning stone the rods both turned in my hands. How very odd, and very exciting this was. When I walked across the circle towards the leaning stone (now leaning towards the left) I experienced the rods turning to the left alongside this center stone., completely in line with it. I had other results too with the rods turning in towards certain stones at different points. The Quartz stone was quite different though with the rods just moving freely in my hands when I stood by it. Why? Was this some kind of mental suggestion? Or perhaps it's something to do with magnetism, my body the conductor and the rods the indicator? I'm not sure what it all means yet but something happened and despite common sense and a certain amount of skepticism I experienced results. Have I been reading too much Lethbridge or is this the beginning of something I should explore further?
I must say that I loved being in this circle, a fantastic place in so many ways.

Saturday ended with another visit in complete pitch darkness to Boleigh Fogou.

On Sunday morning the rain and mist had set in and enveloped the whole of the Land's End Peninsula.
Undeterred we decided to go and find Men-An-Tol.

Even though a nice lady walking her dog had pointed us in the right direction, we still missed Men-An-Tol completely at first.
So our next stop was at Lanyon Quoit. An amazing structure and shelter from the rain for a little while, then onwards…

Mud rain and mist, my friends, we feared them not.

Reaching Men-An-Tol was a joyous experience.
I first set eyes on Men-An-Tol on a postcard I received from Julian Cope / Head Heritage. It was printed with a black and white photo of Men-An-Tol taken by Julian Cope on one side, with printed news of a new band called Queen Elizabeth on the other. Years later I was there, looking at Men-An-Tol in real life.
Before too long I was crawling through the hole, the wind, mud and rain all cheering me on. And so ended The Boleigh Working.

St Euny's Well — Images

30.03.10ce
<b>St Euny's Well</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>St Euny's Well</b>Posted by texlahoma

Carn Euny Fogou & Village — Images

30.03.10ce
<b>Carn Euny Fogou & Village</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>Carn Euny Fogou & Village</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>Carn Euny Fogou & Village</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>Carn Euny Fogou & Village</b>Posted by texlahoma

Boscawen-Un — Images

30.03.10ce
<b>Boscawen-Un</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>Boscawen-Un</b>Posted by texlahoma

Tregiffian — Images

30.03.10ce
<b>Tregiffian</b>Posted by texlahoma

The Pipers — Images

30.03.10ce
<b>The Pipers</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>The Pipers</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>The Pipers</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>The Pipers</b>Posted by texlahoma

The Merry Maidens — Images

30.03.10ce
<b>The Merry Maidens</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>The Merry Maidens</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>The Merry Maidens</b>Posted by texlahoma

Men-An-Tol — Images

30.03.10ce
<b>Men-An-Tol</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>Men-An-Tol</b>Posted by texlahoma

Lanyon Quoit — Images

30.03.10ce
<b>Lanyon Quoit</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>Lanyon Quoit</b>Posted by texlahoma

Boleigh — Images

30.03.10ce
<b>Boleigh</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>Boleigh</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>Boleigh</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>Boleigh</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>Boleigh</b>Posted by texlahoma

Tregiffian — Folklore

31.03.10ce
It was previously thought that treasure was buried under the monument, and digging over the years certainly weakened the foundations and probably contributed to its collapse.

Cornish Ancient Sites — Links

31.03.10ce
This is a web leaflet about Carn Euny you can download as a PDF

Boleigh — Miscellaneous

07.04.10ce
"In the middle of this barton of Trove on the top of a hill is still extant the downfalls of a castle or treble intrenchment called … , in the midst of which is a hole leading to a vault under ground. How far it extends no man now living can tell by reason of the damps or thick vapours that are in it, for as soon as you go an arrow flight in it or less your candles will go out or extinguish of themselves for want of air. For what end or use this vault was made is uncertain though it is probable it was an arsenal or store house for laying up arms ammunition corn and provision for the soldiers of the castle wherein it stands. In the wars between Charles I and his Parliament divers of the royal party pursued in the West by the Parliament troops under Sir Thomas Fairfax were privately conveyed into this vault as far as they could proceed with safety, where Mr Leveale fed and secured them till they found opportunity to make their escapes to the king's friends and party."

William Hals
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Hals

Weblog

Changing seasons on Dartmoor


On Friday charlie and myself drove from a rainy pre holiday season Torquay through thick congested traffic towards Dartmoor. The relief to be out of the way of all that traffic and up on the moors was enough to compensate for the downpour of rain that greeted us as we were looking for the The Plague Market At Merrivale. At first this proved a little difficult as the mist swept in so suddenly and we could only see a few feet ahead of us and could see no evidence of stone rows or circles as we wandered around, although there were stones everywhere. All of a sudden the mist lifted out as quickly as it had appeared and the sun broke through shining down upon one of the stone rows now stood right in front of me. i waved across to charlie and we made our way in awe walking down these amazing stone rows. the stream running between the rows was really high and made an amazing sound that i wish i'd recorded. we spent the next hour or so looking at Merrivale Stone Circle, the menhir and investigating all the hut circles, what a place! it was very peaceful, maybe it the changeable weather but there seemed to be little in the way of traffic or other people about.
Travelling with a copy of the modern antiquarian we decided to look for an easily accessible site without too much walking involved next. not usually our style but my recent poor health dictated taking it easy! So we headed off to The Spinsters' Rock. We found it easily, driving up the tiny lane to the farm at the top and parking in the lay by next to the gate. the site was well signposted both from the road and at the lay by. The field was full of sheep and a beautiful horse that didn't move the whole time we were there. the sun still graced us with it's presence only occasionally dipping behind the clouds. The spinsters' Rock looked perfect, we spent our time just chilling out and pondering on the legends of the spinsters or witches or Mysterious Old Man and his three sons putting up these stones.

The Plague Market At Merrivale — Fieldnotes

05.06.05ce
The relief to be out of the way of all that traffic and up on the moors was enough to compensate for the downpour of rain that greeted us as we were looking for the The Plague Market At Merrivale. At first this proved a little difficult as the mist swept in so suddenly and we could only see a few feet ahead of us and could see no evidence of stone rows or circles as we wandered around, although there were stones everywhere. All of a sudden the mist lifted out as quickly as it had appeared and the sun broke through shining down upon one of the stone rows now stood right in front of me. i waved across to charlie and we made our way in awe walking down these amazing stone rows. the stream running between the rows was really high and made an amazing sound that i wish i'd recorded. we spent the next hour or so looking at Merrivale Stone Circle, the menhir and investigating all the hut circles, what a place! it was very peaceful, maybe it the changeable weather but there seemed to be little in the way of traffic or other people about.

The Spinsters' Rock — Fieldnotes

05.06.05ce
we headed off to The Spinsters' Rock. We found it easily, driving up the tiny lane to the farm at the top and parking in the lay by next to the gate. the site was well signposted both from the road and at the lay by. The field was full of sheep and a beautiful horse that didn't move the whole time we were there. the sun still graced us with it's presence only occasionally dipping behind the clouds. The spinsters' Rock looked perfect, we spent our time just chilling out and pondering on the legends of the spinsters or witches or Mysterious Old Man and his three sons putting up these stones.

The Plague Market At Merrivale — Images

14.06.05ce
<b>The Plague Market At Merrivale</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>The Plague Market At Merrivale</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>The Plague Market At Merrivale</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>The Plague Market At Merrivale</b>Posted by texlahoma

The Spinsters' Rock — Images

14.06.05ce
<b>The Spinsters' Rock</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>The Spinsters' Rock</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>The Spinsters' Rock</b>Posted by texlahoma

Weblog

below the cloud towards the old man o' mow


my first trip out of 2005 took me first to the cloud in cheshire. i'm up here in sandbach with charlie visiting family and so thought we would have a trip out with my mum and sister natalie. we went all around the cloud passing a barrow in a nearby field and headed towards the bridestones. as we approached the Bridestones the sky was dark towards jodrell bank observatory and the welsh hills in the far off distance. we did encounter the barking of dogs on approach to the stones although they quickly stopped again leaving us in peace. as we entered the enclosure the sun broke through the sky and created amazing views past the stones and across the landscape. this is an amazing place to visit and in very good condition. by the gate there is what looks like a capstone to the tomb or maybe it is another standing stone which has fallen over at some point. either way it is huge.
from the bridestones we drove back through timbersbrook around the cloud and spotted a stone circle in the grounds of rainow hill, on lower rainow lane. not sure what the history behind this circle is, if it has much history at all! but it does cut a fine shape on the field and the views from the house across the stone circle and the panaramic view across to far away hills must be breathtaking on a sunny summer day.
from here we drove to mow cop and the castle built in 1754. there is a suggestion that mow cop was used as a watchtower by the romans although no evidence has been found of their occupation. i could imagine this though standing their looking out as it would make the perfect location for a watchtower. even more than this the place does feel like it could have been an important ancient site, especially because of the hills prominence on the landscape for miles around and the natural outcrop of rock that looks so dramatic breaking the view on the horizon between the earth and the sky. there are also some upright standing stones here within the rocks but i don't know from when they originate. as well as all this though there is the old man o' mow, which is situated on an ancient cairn, before the castle was built the cairn would have been the highpoint of the land and it is though that it was a burial mound linked to the bridestones, although it could simply be a boundry between two counties.

The Bridestones — Fieldnotes

04.01.05ce
As we approached the Bridestones the sky was dark towards Jodrell Bank Observatory and the Welsh hills in the far off distance. we did encounter the barking of dogs on approach to the stones although they quickly stopped again leaving us in peace. As we entered the enclosure the sun broke through the sky and created amazing views past the stones and across the landscape. This is an amazing place to visit and in very good condition. By the gate there is what looks like a capstone to the tomb or maybe it is another standing stone which has fallen over at some point, either way it is huge.

Old Man O'Mow — Fieldnotes

04.01.05ce
We drove to mow cop and the castle built in 1754. there is a suggestion that mow cop was used as a watchtower by the romans although no evidence has been found of their occupation. i could imagine this though standing their looking out as it would make the perfect location for a watchtower. even more than this the place does feel like it could have been an important ancient site, especially because of the hills prominence on the landscape for miles around and the natural outcrop of rock that looks so dramatic breaking the view on the horizon between the earth and the sky. there are also some upright standing stones here within the rocks but i don't know from when they originate. as well as all this though there is the old man o' mow, which is situated on an ancient cairn, before the castle was built the cairn would have been the highpoint of the land and it is though that it was a burial mound linked to the bridestones, although it could simply be a boundry between two counties.

The Bridestones — Images

09.01.05ce
<b>The Bridestones</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>The Bridestones</b>Posted by texlahoma

The Cloud — Images

09.01.05ce
<b>The Cloud</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>The Cloud</b>Posted by texlahoma
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