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Esslie the Greater (Stone Circle) — Images (click to view fullsize)

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Nine Stanes (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

My real target was the pair of Esslie circles, but seeing as it was so close I just had to have a look at this one too, best decision I made all day.
The Nine stanes of Garrol wood are really close to the road, so the kids decided to let me go on up alone, Mia the dog had other ideas so she joined me.
I don't half like stone circles that are hiding out in the trees, it lends a tremendous dose of atmosphere to any site. OK, they are conifer trees, planted by us to some unagreeable end, but they're still better than gorse. Lots of trees have recently been felled opening out the view somewhat, but what is left behind isn't pretty, not at all.
That ugliness is well off set by one of the best stone circles I've ever been to. There are quite a few stone circles that have somehow accrued the name Nine stones, but this is one of those rare occasions when someone who could count named the site. But the name is still so general that I'm surprised there isn't a stone circle somewhere that's called stone circle.
The stones are a lovely reddish granite, the recumbent still has both it's flankers, but one is having a lie down, six remaining circle stones makes nine, well done that man.
From the circle I can see Eric sat on the roof of my car, not ideal but I can stay in touch whist being in this other world, and that's how this place feels to me, another world, this has been a bit of a crap year for me, packed with such nasties as heart attacks, tax credit disputes, overworked underpaid and my old nemesis Sciatica, but whilst I potter about this ideal location it's all a billion miles away from it all.
After sitting on the recumbent with dog sitting quietly in lap for what I can only assume was too long Eric shouted me back to reality, it seemed my Garrol wood experience was over, but the reality that awaited me was a good one, Esslie's the Greater and lesser await my company, two more names that keep rattling round my noggin, beckoning me on, the show aint over til the last names done.

Nine Stanes (Stone Circle) — Images

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Glassel (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

I parked up the road from the Glassel house main entrance, and started off up the track into the forest. Like everyone else we found the route very difficult to traverse, the deep ruts of the track were full of water and about half a dozen trees barred the way, at the end of the track I had no idea where to go, the map was still in the car, very useful, I wracked what's left of my brain and didn't come up with a great deal. A large clearing had tree stumps that looked like stones, I resisted Eric's temptation to go in and have a look, instead we took the dogs along the river, away from the forest track the going was much easier, the path we were following was quite worn, I was feeling hopeful. To our right was the river, to our left was a high bank, I mentioned my worry that the stones might be up the bank but from down here we could walk straight past it without ever spotting it. So I went up for a quick look, and there they were, maps, directions, who needs 'em.

This was another of those sweet little stone circles set within trees, the dappled light flicked across the small clearing, trees creaked in the breeze, Mia the Jack Russell pottered about the site unsupervised, whilst Arthur, same breed, sat with Eric who now and then yelled like a Bigfoot, Oooooooowhoooooooooo! No reply.

This stone circle is even more of a conundrum than Image wood from whence we've just come, in appearance it looked to me more like the Viking long ship stone settings they have in Scandawegia.
Burl calls it a four poster, with a very close outlier, Greywether suggests inlier.
Four stones are very much like a four poster, but then there's two low stones at one side three yards away is another flat stone, and there's that inlier, a variant recumbant stone circle, half way between RSC and 4 poster, is another theory, neither is very convincing, and then there's that old photo with another stone a standing.

One could sit and ponder what it is we have here for quite some time, and still not know. So we sit a while and listen to the birds, photograph the stones and then say goodbye.
Totally unwilling to go back the forest track way, where death by forest track is a definite worry, we follow the wee path by the river, it leads directly to the road right next to where it crosses the river. This is the route you should take, much easier.

Glassel (Stone Circle) — Images

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Image Wood (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

The OS grid reference number is out slightly, the real grid ref is NO 524990.

I didn't know a great deal about this stone circle, in fact only the name of the place had stuck in my mind, Image wood, funny name, how did it get to be called that? The Scots have a wicked sense of humour when it comes to naming places, anyone who comes up with a place name like Twatt, twice, clearly should be in charge of naming places.

I didn't park near the cemetery, I parked on the B9094, where the Deeside way footpath crosses it. I did have a look down the long straight driveway up to the big posh place called the Mains of Aboyne, north of the circle, but there's no way to it that way, it's slightly further than parking by the cemetery, but I'm new here and making it up as I go along.

The woods are very pretty, light and airy, paths go all over the place, picking the one I hoped went in the right direction wasn't easy, I got it hopelessly wrong and ended up mostly guessing my way there, but get there I did, eventually.
Canmore calls it a four poster, of that i'm fairly dubious, mostly because there's five stones, but also because Burl says there's a couple of missing stones, but Burl also goes on to say that it could be a folly built by the big house just north of here.

What ever the reality is behind this circle, one thing for sure is that it's a good looking site. Sites up on a hill with great views is only just in front, in my mind, to a nice secluded woodland site.
Lovely place.

Image Wood (Stone Circle) — Images

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Hafodygors Wen (Ring Cairn) — Fieldnotes

It's been quite warm and cloudless for several days now and I'm beginning to think this years summer solstice sunrise might actually happen, when I left the house the sky was clear and by no means dark, even at 3am.
It's been two and a half years since I was last here and I really wanted to have a look and make sure the gorse bush removal scars had healed, I've also had an equinox sunrise and a winter solstice sunrise (too cloudy) so just a summer sunrise to go and I've got a full hand.
But more miraculous than sunshine and heatwaves in North Wales, my Sciatic back has finally given up making my life hell and returned to the normal background pain of before.

After taking the wrong turn by the pub in Tal y Bont and ending up near Cerrig Pryfaid, I had to turn about, retrace my journey back and then up the right road, lots of hairpin bends on the right road, note to self.
Parked in the usual place, by the gate, followed the same wall down to the river, which is easily crossed in this heatwave, then the squelchy bit up to the stones. Just in time too, thanks to that miss turn I only very just made it in time.
I get the camera out and prepare to capture this particular stellar moment, but I'm too out of breath and just plain knackered, so I rest for 30 seconds have a drink and then set about the sunrise with some gusto. It's a perfect sunrise, a big lazy orange ball heaving itself out of the sea and into the sky. I didn't even realise til now that I could see the sea. It's really quite warm in the hills today, and that's not something I often say, it is a beautiful gorgeous day and I cant think of a better way to start the day, though it actually started a couple of hours ago, but still.

Back to the sun rising out of the sea on the solstice, that happens at the Druids circle too, on the equinox the sun rises from behind a medium sized hill at both sites, on the winter solstice the Druids circle sees a sunrise from behind a mountain, ie Tal y Fan, I wonder if the winter solstice from Hafodygors Wen also rises behind a mountain ie Moel Eilio, guess I'll have to have another crack at the midwinter skive off work day, wont I.
Enough of the skies now, looking down at the stones, I'm extremely heartened to see that there is no sight of any gorse bush removal scar, completely healed so it has, like they were never there at all.
All the place needs now is a little car park, at the gate where I've parked, a path, I'll say it again, a path, a proper one down to the river, where a proper group of stepping stones takes you over the river and up to the stones by the driest route. Then again scratch all that they'd probably put a fence round the stones and put up an information board in an inappropriate place.
Not to my stones your not.

Hafodygors Wen (Ring Cairn) — Images

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Hafodygors Wen Cairn II (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Hafodygors Wen Cairn II</b>Posted by postman

Pen Llithrig y Wrach (Round Cairn) — Images

<b>Pen Llithrig y Wrach</b>Posted by postman

Pen-y-Gaer (Caerhun) (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Pen-y-Gaer (Caerhun)</b>Posted by postman<b>Pen-y-Gaer (Caerhun)</b>Posted by postman
Showing 1-50 of 9,234 posts. Most recent first | Next 50
After visiting over a thousand ancient places and driving between fifteen to twenty thousand miles every year I can only conclude that I'm obsessed with these places, and finding this website ten years ago only compounded that obsession, at least I'm not alone anymore.

My favourite places are:

Ring of Brodgar
Callanish
Balnauran of Clava
Torhouskie
Swinside
Nine stones close
Bryn Celli Ddu
The Druids circle (penmaenmawr)
HafodyGors Wen
Gwal y Filiast
Grey Wethers
Boscawen Un
La Roche au Fees
Drombeg
Uragh
Talati De Dalt

and these are only the ones that immediatly spring to mind, so many stones and not enough lifetimes.

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