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Deinste 1 (Passage Grave)

Deinste 1 is a passage grave, which was sunk into the underground in the manner of the simple dolmen (Urdolmen). Until the 1930s there was a field consisting of 43 barrows in the heath around a now silted lake. In the remainder of a once large round mound, which contained two tree-coffin burials, lay a small chamber, whose easr end is strongly disturbed. Of the formerly three capstones only two are present. The third fell victim to stone seekers in the mid-19th century. In the first quarter of the 20th century, the open chamber was the target of robberies. The site could be restored and protected from further destruction. The big mound with a diameter of 25 meters was completely dug up. The support stones had been placed in a 90-centimeter deep pit and stand out only about 50 centimeters above the surface. The spaces between the stones were filled with stone slabs. On the south side was a narrow entrance. In front of it lay staircase stones and a door sill stone. A wedge-shaped stone closed the entrance.

The grave is located about eight kilometers south of Stade and 1.5 kilometers southeast of Deinste. At the train station in Deinste you drive on the Hauptstraße to the south. The Hauptstraße turns into the Kirchweg. After about 2 km you'll reach the private road Bei den Hünengräbern, which branches off to the left. Park your car here and walk about 350 m on this road, the tomb is then on the right, about 70 m in a field.

Visited May 2019
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
7th July 2019ce

Carn na Mairg (Carn Merk)

Visited: June 20, 2019

Carn na Mairg stands on the east bank of the River Thurso, just under a kilometre south from Westerdale. There is an excellent access path which starts 80 metres east of the bridge over the river Thurso. A new dwelling, painted blue-green, stands on your left as you walk across a concrete area to a tall fence. Pass through the gate in this fence and follow the path to the broch. The walking is excellent and the broch soon comes into view.

Carn na Mairg is a grassy mound standing at the very edge of the river. On its eastern flank, a large area of the broch wall is internittently exposed to a height of some fifteen or so courses. There is a well built entrance portal and passage on the southeast, though it was badly overgrown by nettles and on the east are the remains of defensive outworks.

But there is little to see of the interior of the broch, which is almost totally infilled. The only feature is a short section of a mural gallery which is exposed to show the neat walling courses on its inner side.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
7th July 2019ce

Deinste 1 (Passage Grave)

taken from the on-site megalithic board:

The megalithic tomb of Deinste is located in the middle of a large burial ground. As late as 1930, the burial ground lay in a heath landscape and comprised 43 hills. At a survey in 1959, 23 tombs were counted.

Tomb raiders had partly destroyed the megelithic burials already in the 20's in the search for stones, which were desired as building material. In 1928/29 the burial chamber was examined for the first time. The remains of the grave mound remained untouched, it should be preserved as a monument. But after the former heathland was converted into farmland and pasture and the mound was partly cleared, in 1959 an archaeological investigation of the entire complex was necessary. The excavations have been financed by the district of Stade.

The results of the investigation: The grave was erected at the highest point between two lowland areas. The supporting stones of the chamber are embedded in a pit excavated about 90 cm deep. On the narrow sides of the chamber is a supporting boulder; there are three boulders on the southern long side and two boulders on the northern side. Traces of the stolen northeastern support stone were detected.

The boulders point with their glacier-ground smooth sides inside. The gaps between the support stones are closed in detail with flat struck stones. In the approximately 40 cm wide gap between the southeastern and the middle support stone on the southern end of the chamber a so-called sill stone is fitted; the granite block placed on top closes the chamber. Two approx. 1 m long stones flank the passage to the chamber; it is paved with elongated rubble like a stair case. The chamber floor is double-paved with two layers of head-sized boulders, between which there is a bed of small stones with gravel. On their outsides, the support stones are packed with fist-sized beaten debris. Of the three capstones originally present, only two remained: the northwestern one, from which parts were cut off, and the middle one, which had to be "redirected" back to its old position during the restoration.

At about the lower edge of the capstone, a stone wreath of "bucket-sized" boulders surrounded the chamber. The stone wreath was halfway up the sand-hill, which had been so littered with the burial chamber that the capstones were scarcely covered. After 1928/29 a flint axe and two flint blades from the chamber as well as a small cup vessel from the filling sand of the chamber, which had been ejected during a robbery excavation, had been recovered in 1959, another flint axe and some ceramic discs could be excavated in the chamber. To the north, east, and south of the chamber lay ceramic slabs of old-fashioned broken vessels on the grown floor. The vessels were largely reconstructed.

In the Bronze Age, the Neolithic grave site, which was used in funerary beaker culture and the single grave culture for burials, has been extended. Presumably, three tree-coffins have been made. As part of the expansion, a mound of turf was built over the entire system. The mound had a diameter of 24.5 m and was at least 2.1 m high. In places, a stone wreath could be excavated from grouped stones, which bordered the large hill. In the upper layers of the extended mound, the excavators found remains of destroyed urns and cremated bones. Probably in the late Bronze Age and the early Iron Age so-called urn burials took place at the same place.

Through a lease agreement between the owner and the district of Stade, the Neolithic burial chamber was preserved and made accessible to the public.
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
7th July 2019ce

Hammah 2 (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

Hammah 2, like Hammah 3, is still buried in a mound with a length of 20 m and a width of 16 m. The burial chamber is oriented approximately west-east and has a length of 6 m and a width of 1.5 m. It has four support stones on the long sides and one end stone on the narrow sides. All are still in situ. The capstones are robbed except for one fragment probably damaged by blasting attempts.

The grave is located in a small grove south of the Groß Sterneberger Straße. On this road you drive from Groß Sternberg to the east in the direction of Stade. Approximately 650 m behind Groß Sternberg a sign points to the right to the tombs (Hammah 2 and Hammah 3), here you should also park the car. You walk on the dirt road to the southwest, after about 500 m this track turns to the right and you reach a forest hut. Here you leave the main path and continue on the right side of the hut on the trail. Hammah 3 lies about 75 m along this trail, Hammah 2 is only about 40 m further on the same trail.

Visited May 2019
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
7th July 2019ce

Hammah 3 (Passage Grave)

Hammah 3, like Hammah 2, is still buried in a mound with a length of around 21 meters and a width of 18 meters. The burial chamber resting in the mound is oriented approximately east-west. The chamber has a length of about 5.5 m and a width of 1.5 m. The chamber still has four pairs of support stones on the long sides and a closing stone on the western narrow side. These are all still in situ, the eastern capstone is missing. Sprockhoff recorded only two capstones in his plan of the tomb. On my visit, however, I counted five, one of them broken (as a result of an attempt to carry away the stones?).

The tomb is located in a small grove south of the Groß Sterneberger Straße. On this road you drive from Groß Sternberg to the east in the direction of Stade. Approximately 650 m behind Groß Sternberg a sign (N53° 37' 54.5" E9° 23' 32.6") points to the right to the tombs (Hammah 2 and Hammah 3), here you should also park the car. You walk on the dirt road to the southwest, after about 500 m this track turns to the right and you reach a forest hut. Here you leave the main path and continue on the right side of the hut on the trail. Hammah 3 lies about 75 m along this trail, Hammah 2 is only about 40 m further on the same trail.

Visited May 2019
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
7th July 2019ce

Tulach an Fhuarain (Broch)

Visited:June 20, 2019

The third of a close group of three broch mounds on the bank of the River Thurso in Westerdale, Caithness, Tulach an Fhuarain is a featureless, fenced off grassy mound. It stands cheek by jowl with Tulach Lochain Bhraseil, just 50 metres to its northeast.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
6th July 2019ce

Tulach Lochain Bhraseil (Broch)

Visited: June 20, 2019

There's not a lot to say about Tulach Lochain Bhraseil except that it is a grassy mound lying 250 metres northwest of Tulach Buaile a'Chroic Broch in Westerdale, Caithness.

Although it is understood that a broch lurks beneath the mound, absolutely no broch-like features are to be seen.

On top of the mound stands a recent man-made structure.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
6th July 2019ce

Hammah 1 (Passage Grave)

Hammah 1 is a very well preserved passage grave consisting of ten support stones with the associated intermediate lining of dry masonry and three large capstones. The hill, which once covered the tomb, is still clearly visible. The tomb is located in a small clearing under an idyllic group of trees, only about 40 meters from the road.

Drive on the K3 northward from Hammah to Groß Sterneberg. Just before you reach Groß Sterneberg there is a small group of trees on the right side, the tomb is located under the trees. Parking is a bit tricky, but possible on a access into the surrounding fields.

This is a stunning beauty and must-see site, if you are in the area!

Visited May 2019
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
6th July 2019ce

taken from the on-site information board:

The megalithic tomb of Hammah

The more than 4000 years old megalithic tomb of Hammah is one of the best preserved Neolithic tombs in the district of Stade. The faithful preservation of the stone chamber is due to the Groß Sterneberger teacher Wilhelmi, who saved the grave after the First World War from being used as a source of raw material for a memorial monument. In 1924 the district of Stade leased the site of the megalithic tomb with an area of ??1100 square meters and bought the area in 1969. It is not without pride that the Hammah community keeps the megalithic tomb symbol in its local coat of arms.

In August 1921, Prof. dr. K. H. Jacob-Friesen archaeologically examined the burial chamber and published in 1924 the obtained excavation results. The tomb has been erected on a flat top of a hill. The carrier inventions are recessed in the sandy soil; their glacier-polished smooth sides point inwards. 'Lining bricks' closed the gaps between the support stones. Up to the upper edge of the support stones a sand hill has been heaped up; the resulting inclined plane has facilitated the application of the capstones. In 1968, as part of a restoration, Dr. J. Deichmüller gained further insights: a gravel of beaten granites and rolling stones surrounded the burial chamber as an abutment within a radius of 2 m and to a depth of 2.25 m (measured from the top of the middle capstone); the ground inside the tomb was paved with a larger debris.

In 1921, the excavators found outside the burial chamber an urn burial of the pre-Roman Iron Age at one of the supporting stones. The chamber contained only Bronze Age inventory: 7 shards of an ornate ceramic vessel, an ornate bronze arm ring preserved in fragments and also some cremated bones. The excavators concluded that Bronze Age people had cleared out the remains of the Neolithic primary burials, along with grave goods, before using the chamber to funnel one of their group members.

Scientific investigations by Dr. Leuschner and Dr. Delorme have revealed that around 350 AD, Hammah began to build up bogs, which eventually led to a complete overmooring of the Neolithic and Bronze Age tombs. The bog saved the tombs from access by people seeking building materials for roads and house foundations. Only by the extensive cultivation of the moor at the beginning of this century, the originally 3-4 m thick upland moor was drained and dug.

As part of the research project on landscape development and settlement history in the Stader area in 1983, the eastern edge of the hill of the megalithic tomb and some Bronze Age burial mounds were archaeologically examined. The results were submitted in 1985/86 in the series of the district Stade "Beiträge des Landkreises zu regionalen Themen" ("Contributions of the district to regional topics").
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
6th July 2019ce

Hammah

The four megalithic tombs are located in the area of ??the municipality of Hammah belonging to the integrated municipality Oldendorf-Himmelpforten in the Elbe-Weser triangle in Lower Saxony in a former bog. During the draining and cultivating of the bog during the First World War, the stones of several tombs, which had originally been erected on a flat, sandy hilltop, on which the moor formation started later, unexpectedly came to light. The four tombs are part of a larger necropolis that stretches northeast of Hammah in the northwest-southeastern line.

Hammah 1 is located near the belonging to Hammah district Groß Sterneberg immediately east of the two places connecting Bahnhofstrasse. 1.1 km east-southeast of this are the tombs Hammah 2 and Hammah 3 at the southeastern end of the necropolis. They are only 20 meters north-south from each other. There are also two burial mounds at this site. Hammah 4 is about halfway between Hammah 1 and the tombs of Hammah 2 and Hammah 3.

Visited May 2019
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
6th July 2019ce

Achvarasdal (Broch)

Revisited: June 18, 2019

I revisited Achvarasdal broch once more and was impressed by the improvements made since a year previously.

The entrance passage and the central court of the structure have been cleared of weeds, particularly plants of giant hogweed, and are now tastefully laid out with pink gravel chippings to create a much more pleasant visitor experience.

Members of tbe Caithness Broch Project and Caithness Countryside Volunteers are to be congratulated on their efforts, which include installing layers of geo-textile to inhibit future regrowth.

But the battle is not completely over as a number of mature hogweed plants were spotted within a few metres of the broch wall on the northwest. Hopefully work will continue to achieve total eradication of this dangerous, invasive species.

Broch Clean-up
You can read about the clean-up process in these articles from The John O'Groat Journal and Caithness Courier on April 4, 2019 and April 24, 2019
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
5th July 2019ce
Edited 6th July 2019ce

Heinbockel (Chambered Tomb)

Unfortunately there is not much left of the megalithic tomb in Heinbockel. Only two supporting stones, as well as a capstone and a end stone of a northeast-southwest oriented burial chamber is preserved. Its width is 1.5 m, the original length and the type of the tomb can not be determined. The information board makes like the entire system a rather sad impression. The proximity to homes and a road also does not contribute to the overall atmosphere.

The tomb is located directly in Heinbockel. Drive on the K57 from Hagenah towards Heinbockel. Just when you enter the village turn right into the road Im Buschberge, which leads directly to the tomb. After 300 m you come to a T-junction and the road Kötnerende, the tomb is located directly at this T-junction on the other side of the road.

Visited May 2019
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
4th July 2019ce

taken from the on-site information board:

The megalithic tomb of Heinbockel

Only one end stone, two opposite support stones and a capstone testify to a megalithic tomb from the Neolithic (the younger Stone Age) in Heinbockel. The accompanying drawing illustrates the general principle according to which megalithic tombs have been erected: The longitudinal sides of the burial chambers are formed by paired boulders, the conclusion on the narrow sides is formed by a eratic block. The capstones rest on the stones.

Over the centuries, the megalithic tombs were largely destroyed because their stones were sought after for construction purposes. An impressive example of such a changeable tomb-to-quarry history is this remnant of a megalithic tomb. It is a monument in the double sense. On the one hand, it bears witness to a type of burial in the Neolithic period, on the other hand, the handling of later generations with these graves. (One of the best-preserved megalithic tombs in the district of Stade stands on the road from Hamburg to Groß Sternberg.)
Nucleus Posted by Nucleus
4th July 2019ce

Tulach Buaile a'Chroic (Broch)

Visited: June 20, 2019

One of a cluster of broch mounds in Westerdale, Caithness, Tulach Buaile a'Chroic though rather bland in itself, stands in an attractive location on the bank of the River Thurso.

It has been reduced to a grass-covered mound some 3.5 metres tall, with only the minimalist evidence of masonry. A number of stones protrude from the upper southwest side of the structure, and may be remnants of a foundation course, while there is a small exposure of larger blocks on the northwest flank.

Not a broch to rave about, but the ambiance of the setting is undeniable.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
4th July 2019ce

Caisteal na Coille (Broch)

Visited: June 17, 2019

North of Loch Bora, on the lip of a gorge on the Blackwater River, stands a hidden gem of a broch, Caisteal na Coille, sometimes dubbed 'Castle Cole'. For the determined walker it would be possible to set out from the same starting point as for Carrol Broch broch. But this would mean a round trip of some 28 kilometres.

I decided to investigate a shorter alternative by driving through Brora where, immediately north of the River Brora, a minor road signposted 'Balnacoil' heads northwest, hugging the eastern shore of Loch Brora for 13 kilometres (8 miles). Your target is a left-hand bend on the road from which an estate road (marked by two prominent boulders, one on either side) heads to the right into a patch of woodland. There may be space for verge parking for a couple of cars here. If not, you should be able to park close to the bridge (red marker) over the River Brora, 700 metres farther on.

The estate road (yellow track on the map below) provides easy walking for just under 4 kilometres, by which time you should be level with the broch (white marker on map).



As you near your target, you will see ahead a small stand of a dozen or so mature trees just to the right of the track. By now you will see the broch and must make a decision on the best point to leave the track and start crossing towards the broch. I found no evidence of any footpath leading from the road to the broch and surmise that this is simply because it is so rarely visited.

Now comes the hard bit, crossing some 300 metres of blanket bog, firstly downhill, followed by a climb up to the mound supporting the broch. But the effort is certainly worth it ...

Caisteal na Coille stands within an almost level grassy platform on the summit of a small hill that drops vertically into the valley of the Black Water, the northern tributary of the River Brora. The broch is constructed from rectangular sandstone slabs rising to at least a dozen courses at the entrance and twenty or more on its eastern side. On the western flank, which falls down to the river as a cliff, the walling is rudimentary (unless, of course, it was never more than a low boundary wall, since an approach from that quarter would be deemed impossible?)

The entrance is capped by a massive, roughly triangular lintel not dissimilar to those at Dun Dornaigil in Sutherland and Caisteal Grugaig in Glenelg, and leads to an entrance passage almost four metres long. To the east of the entrance lies a large guard cell, now uncapped, and the rampart beyond it shows indications of an intramural gallery. A striking feature of the internal walls of Caisteal na Coille is the number of cupboard recesses on display.

This broch is very much one for the connaisseur, and a visit to it is an experience to be treasured.

Further information relating to this structure can be viewed on the Canmore website.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
2nd July 2019ce
Edited 3rd July 2019ce

Whitegate (Broch)

Visited: June 18, 2019

The Caithness village of Keiss can boast three brochs in its vicinity: Keiss South (K), Whitegate (W) and Kirk Tofts (T).

Whitegate is a probable solid-based broch, located on the shore northeast of the village of Keiss and about 175 metres farther on than Keiss South broch (marker 'W' on the map below). It is totally ruinous and was overgrown with long grass at the time of my visit.



All that there is to be seen are a few stretches of walling courses, an entrance passage and a chamber set back in the walling opposite the entrance passage.

There is a considerable amount of additional information on the Canmore website, particularly with respect to recent excavations at the site.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
1st July 2019ce
Edited 2nd July 2019ce

Nybster (Broch)

Visited: June 18, 2019

Nybster broch stands on a cliff-girt headland, protected on three sides by vertical sandstone cliffs and by a ditch that cuts off the promontory on its landward side.

The site is signposted just south of the village of Nybster, and there is a car park from which a good footpath heads south for 450 metres to the broch site. As you approach the broch, the first thing you will see is Mervyn's Tower, a monument built of rough stones by local farmer John Nicholson to commemorate the work of Sir Francis Tress Barry who excavated the site in 1895-6.

Canmore states that Nybster is: 'a site of major signifcance in the study of the development of the broch in that it comprises the ground-galleried block-house of a pre-broch promontory fort, a solid-based broch, and a post-broch settlement. The block-house, which displays broch-like features, including a passage checked for two doors, is probably to be dated not much before the first century BC if not within it'.

Without doubt, Nybster is a complex side, and readers wishing to learn more about it can find copious details of the various structures and finds on the Canmore website.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
1st July 2019ce

Taxing Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

While there is good parking and a loo at the car park mentioned, the single track road up is actually public as far as the cattle grid (about half way) and there is a pull-in there for one car at least and another spot just before that. Not many passing places though. So, if you are lucky you can avoid the worst of a reasonably steep 1.25 mile walk uphill. Whatever, it is certainly worth the effort to view this important stone, the remains of the WWII anti-air craft battery and the great views. new abbey Posted by new abbey
1st July 2019ce

Kirk Tofts (Broch)

Visited: June 18, 2019
The Caithness village of Keiss can boast three brochs in its vicinity: Keiss South (K), Whitegate (W) and Kirk Tofts (T).

Kirk Tofts broch is situated immediately behind Keiss cemetery, on the A99 immediately north of the village (marker 'T' on the map below). There is ample parking for the visitor in front of the graveyard.

My first impression of the area was of a field thick with ferns, nettles and rampant vegetation, and I could make little progress through it. Returning to my car, I recalled that my hillwalking gear was in the boot, and fitted out with sturdy boots and gaiters, and a walking pole for balance, I returned to the broch.



My initial view was hardly inspiring. After negotiating the field of nettles, I saw ahead a section of drystone walling which I initially took to be a mere remnant of a destroyed broch. But I pressed on, and on reaching this wall, realised that it was an exposed section of the outer wall of the broch, with a well defined entrance passage. Even though this wall must have been close to two metres tall, I did not realise that there was an entrance passage through it until I was right beside it as it was completely concealed by rank vegetation both in front of and within it!

Once through the entranceway, most of the interior is defined by walling many courses high, and generally close to two metres tall. Unfortunately, thick vegetation, mainly rampant ferns growing everywhere, undoubtedly conceals many of the finer points of construction. According to Canmore there is much to see at Kirk Tofts, including two intra mural stairways, but these were not evident to me. Doubtless a visit in early spring, before plant growth has commenced, would prove more rewarding.

When visiting the site, great care should be taken as the terrain is everywhere very uneven beneath the all-concealing vegetation. A walking pole is a valuable asset in maintaining balance.

For those interested, the Canmore website provides a wealth of information relating to the structure of Kirk Tofts broch, the finds discovered within it and the various phases of its occupation, describing it as: 'one of the best examples of a 1st phase broch (1st centuries BC and AD), re-used during the Broch II phase (2nd, 3rd centuries AD) and again during the post-broch era'.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
1st July 2019ce
Edited 2nd July 2019ce

Keiss (Broch)

Visited: June 18, 2019

The Caithness village of Keiss can boast three brochs in its vicinity: Keiss South (K), Whitegate (W) and Kirk Tofts (T).

Keiss South broch, also known as Keiss Harbour broch, is just a 250 metre walk from Keiss harbour back to the hairpin bend on the access road where a signpost indicates 'Keith Shore'. From here, just follow this path for a short distance over the grass to the obvious fenced-off enclosure (marker 'K' on the map below). To enter the area, follow the fence anticlockwise and you will find a gate adjacent to the field boundary north of the broch.



There is a great deal of information about Keiss broch on the Canmore website, including the fact that, as recently as 1910, the internal broch wall survived to a height of about five feet. This hardly seems the case now, the broch having endured severe robbing over the years, and little masonry remains on view.

The entire area is hummocky and was largely obscured by long grass at the time of my visit. Although nothing remains of the entrance passage, its location would seem to be signalled by a dip in the grassy ramparts that surround the broch to its east. Standing at the north of the structure, the impression is of a shallow, grassy saucer with just a small section of walling, three courses high, peeking through the obscuring vegetation. Almost certainly, walling courses do exist benbeath this cover, as exemplified by the exposure of masonry in the rampart of the eastern internal wall of the broch.

Painted Pebbles
Interesting finds discovered by Sir Francis Tress Barry during his late 19th century excavations of Keiss South broch were small pebbles painted with spots and lines. Although their function is unclear, it has been suggested that they may have been used as gaming pieces or as charms. Barry exhibited these painted pebbles during a talk to the Society of Antiquaries of London on May 26, 1898. A watercolour painting of these pebbles is shown on the Canmore website.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
1st July 2019ce
Edited 2nd July 2019ce

Fontburn (b) (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

Park at the reservoir, there's two car parks, use the south one and park as close to the south end of it as possible. Walk into the woods that decorate the south shore of the lake and follow the path. It is very pretty in the woods this summer morning, a fox and two bounding Roe deer surprise and delight me. The path, about half way along the length of the lake goes out of the woods, but the path does follow along on the outside of the woods. Follow the path until you get to the big boulder, and Robert is very much your mothers brother.
I passed by this boulder six months ago but didn't know about the rock art, nor would I have cared as I was in a mad mad rush. I passed it by earlier this morning en route to the four poster, with nothing more than a quick peep just to make sure it was the boulder with the art, it was so I carried on going. But sunrise is over, the circle is done, and now I'm back, and Iv'e got to say I'm fairly gobsmacked.
I tried to locate a couple of the other rock art pieces round here, halfheartedly really, I didn't really have exact information on their whereabouts so I quickly gave up and made do with the big boulder. But making do is not the correct way to describe it, I'd come here just for this one rock, stone circle be damned, this one big rock is sublime.

Perhaps I was a bit drunk on the outdoors by the time I got here, I'd just seen a four poster stone circle, I've a soft spot for four posters, with a fairly successful summer solstice sunrise, some of Britains biggest mammals even put in an appearance, I was beginning to think of this morning as a microcosm of all my stoning trips rolled into one.

There are lots of cup marks with maybe three of them with rings, and gullies, can I call them gullies, grooves, lines. I got on the rock and blew all the pine needles out of the cups, I didn't get on the art, and I stayed on my knees, like the proverbial penitent man. The sun shining through the trees completed the magic upon me, the crystalline qualities of the rock sparkled and twinkled across what is dubbed the paw print in the morning light. A cuckoo cuckooed and a Heron croaked, and a postman fell in love a little bit more.
In the end I really had to tear myself away, when I got back to the car two and a half hours had passed.
You must come here.
The last one to Fontburn stinks.
postman Posted by postman
23rd June 2019ce
Edited 25th June 2019ce

Old Bewick Hillfort

Eric and I visited Blawearie cairn eight years ago but because of time constraints we couldn't go up and see the hill fort with it's plethora of rock art. Today is different, we've loads of time and oodles of grim determination to see what I've come to see, no matter what.
After having satiated my need for rock art I approached the fort from the east. Walking along the scarp edge I pass by two banks on my right and stop at the warbox (of which there's 2), I think of going in or perhaps standing on top of it to get a look around, but I soon lost interest because right next to it is the biggest cup mark in the world. Several feet across and deep enough to drown a sheep in, it surely must be man made, made for who knows what kind of arcane purposes. Its getting a bit overgrown now, another decade and it'll be lost to undergrowth.
Walking west from there and it all gets a bit complicated, four parallel banks set perpendicular to the cliffs edge, this made me wonder about the place and I just walked round and round trying to get a feel for the shape of the place. A clue was had on the 1;25000 map, it says there are forts here, plural, right, ok that goes some way to explain whats going on here. But why would you have two forts just yards from each other and then build a bank and ditch round both forts. Makes no sense at all, unless it was perhaps two quibbling brothers, or a his and hers residence maybe, or and this strikes a cord with me, perhaps the lord and lady got divorced and they broke the fort in two in accordance with the courts demands.
Or, and this is probably my favorite daft theory, all the rock art round here is very impressive, some may say inspirational, what if it inspired someone to put together a landscape art version of two cup and rings. Has anyone ever suggested hill forts being giant landscape art, probably.

A fantastic site, spend a whole day up here with cists, cups and forts and you'll be blown away.
postman Posted by postman
23rd June 2019ce

Camas Nan Geall (Chambered Tomb)

I found the whole "Camas experience" very affecting and ended up sat on a very comfortable boulder at the top of the beach contemplating what the location has meant to so many successive generations of inhabitants.
The standing stone inscribed cross also appears to have a carved dog above the cross.
There is good parking up at the roadside with a good quality track leading down to the site.
Posted by tomatoman
23rd June 2019ce

Uffington Castle (Hillfort)

21st June 2019

The latest visit to Uffington, one of the closest sites to me, wasn't so much about walking the castle or paying a visit to The Smithy. This trip was all about the light show as the sun, on the day of the Summer Solstice, bowed its head and set for a couple of hours.

If anything, the setting of the sun on that day should be as significant as that of its rising. That thought was shared by a multitude of others, who gathered to witness the same thing. Young and old, families, couples and individuals such as myself, were intent on seeing what the horizon had to offer this evening.

Many sat on the ridge of the castle, as territorial as the watch who might've strolled the path during its heyday. Yet it was peaceful, respectful. I sat near the base of the castle, still high enough to enjoy the same view as those who'd staked their picnic blankets.

As the sun went down, the sound of happiness, laughter and even a cork popping from a champagne bottle ebbed and melded with the rhythm of bird song and the bleat of sheep. Its light spread across the horizon and slowly rolled under the base of the high clouds, illuminating them as if on fire.

Many stayed to watch the cool blues and purple of night creep in, while the sun continued to blaze, out of site. It struck me on the drive home that despite living in a time where division and suspicion are commonplace in a fractured country, here was a moment where none of that mattered or even existed. We'd survived the day and come together in celebration of what is positive in this world; warmth, colour and the promise of renewal.
Spiddly Posted by Spiddly
22nd June 2019ce
Edited 23rd June 2019ce

Fontburn Dod Wood (Stone Circle)

Last time on Fontburn Dod.......
"Now I know the way, a fair weather visit is already overdue."
Six months later.
It's the summer solstice and the outlook is for a change, good, so inevitably i'm running a touch late, brought on in part by my erstwhile stoning buddy for the day, Eric, and partly by me not remembering to look up the time of sunrise. So, last time I was racing against the dying of the light, this time I'm racing against the birth of the day.
The walk through the woods on the south shore of the lake, was much nicer than six months ago, its summer, everything is growing and gorgeous once more, I also saw a fox and two Roe deer, and I haven't even got to the stones yet.
As the path exits the woods and skirts along it I take note of the big cup marked boulder, I did see it last time but didn't know about the rock art, I'll pay more attention to it on the way out.
Arriving finally at the stones was another one of those "oh yesss!" moments, I said I'd be back with better weather and I most definitely am. It's beautiful.
Two minutes after my arrival the sun put on a bit of a sunrise encore, just for me I swear, it was, what's another word for beautiful, and not gorgeous.
I then went for a long walk round the site, west and east of the circle are two large mounds, I go and stand on them for a while, surveying the area, I'm not a surveyor by profession, so the most I can tell you is there was other stuff going on here after the stones were erected. Two long banks run across the common, possibly medieval, or maybe Tudor, i'm not an archaeologist either.
Two very vocal Buzzards are wheeling around each other above the trees, and a Cuckoo is down in the trees of the little river valley, with foxes and deer, all the natural wonder that England can muster in just part of a morning, you wont be getting that at Stonehenge.
I sit for a while and wonder at the world, but mostly I really hope all these terrifying statistics on extinction are wrong. I quite like being alive, and I like seeing other things being alive, and I hope that it all keeps going long after I'm gone. Don't read anything into that.
I get up out of my daydream and attach my camera to the tripod and set about my new part of any stony visit. Lifting the tripod high in the air for that elevated shot, problems encountered.... wonky pictures, blowy winds, dazzling sunshine, and I look an idiot, on the other hand......better pictures.
This time I haven't left a babe in the woods in the dark, but her little brother is still asleep in the car, so I'd better get a move on, still got some rock art to find yet as well.
postman Posted by postman
22nd June 2019ce
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