The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

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Part 8- Summer Solstice

With the summer solstice looming, we started searching for somewhere to go that we hadn't been to before. Being in the Midlands we are pretty restricted as regards places we can get to easily for sunrise, but we were still pretty eager to do SOMETHING! Original plans were changed and changed again until it started to look like we might not be bothering at all. I wanted to get up and get somewhere for sunrise but that would probably need an all-nighter and I don't cope well without sleep (this is an understatement, I need to sleep for a minimum of 8 hours else I'm DREADFUL for days). SO eventually we decided to head north as we have been meaning to see Long Meg and the surrounding antiquities for ages but never actually had the fuel funds to do it. With an extra passanger contributing to funds we could make one hell of a day of things, so Flannel came along too and I consulted TMA for all the places worth visiting...

At the ungodly hour or 6am we piled into the car armed with a multipack of Monster Munch and some cheese sandwiches. Flannel has a mouth FULL of sweet teeth so he has the entire confectionary aisle of a supermarket in a cool bag but no actual food (Sometimes I feel like the babysitter and tell him its bloody good job I packed enough food for 3). SO we head north on a practically deserted M6 with the intention of staring at Long Meg and then pinballing back and forth as we head back home.

Somehow we manage to get to Long Meg and her Daughters before 9.30am and are surprised its so busy on a Monday morning! There is one guy and a dog who spent the night in a little green tent and 5 motor homes parked up with people half asleep in them. A surprising amount of people wondering around and a lady perched on one stone like a little pixie. There was evidence of a fire and some real ale bottles from the night before near the felled tree/ bench but it looked like it might have been a quiet gathering for sunrise and I instantly wished I had come the day before and seen the event. Long Meg was more beautiful than I imagined, mostly because I have only ever seen her surrounded by grey skies and drizzle! With a blue sky backdrop and a buzz in the air, I was really content to be here! Still though, theres a road through the middle of the circle! Who's idea was that!? I didn't drive through, It wouldn't have felt right or respectful at all. I set off for a good circumambulation and once I had made friends with the campers dog (animals love me for some reason...) I settled down for breakfast and a bit of photography. Lovely. NEXT YEAR I will see the sunrise here...

I know a few people who have visited Long Meg but not Little Meg just round the corner. She isn't on the maps so I guess most people have no idea she is even there (thank You TMA!!) so we drove round the corner and past the parking place and turned around and peered into a few fields and finally found the circle tucked away on the left of the field running alongside the road hidden in overgrown grass. Its a good job one of the stones in pretty big else I really don't think we would have found it. I was surprised to see art on one of these stones too; figured it would be more famous being so close to Long Meg and having art. We were glad to have the place to ourselves anyway and discovered how had it is to circumambulate a circle thats practically IN a hawthorn hedge... Ah well, a few scratches later we all sat down to enjoy the sunshine with a beautiful little circle and listened to the twittering of the local wildlife. Bliss.

ONWARDS! Lots to do and never enough time. Glassonby next, which I kinda know the location of, but I'm mostly guessing. So we end up driving 200 feet, stopping, everyone out the car to peer over gates and through hedges trying to spot it, back in the car, another 200 feet... And I'm sure I spot it in a field on the right but nobody believes me (this always happens!) but I park up at the next gate and head across the field that has a beautiful big tree to the right of the gate. The grass is waist high and the boys are wearing shorts and sandals (haha) so they whinge like children and still refuse to believe I saw the cairn until we practically fall over the blooming thing! Its only small but the view is wonderful! The ground slopes away behind the cairn and you can see why they would choose such a nice spot. The circle is almost impossible to photograph though, and we flap around with cameras until Mart says he is sick of being bitten by grass dwelling insects and we press on!

Now I know that Gunnerkeld can be seen from the motorway and that we had to ask at a farm... but thats about it! We found a farm that had a name along the lines of Gunnerkeld (Gunnerwell? Gunnerfarm? Gunnersomething...) and figured this must be it! Parked outside the gate, walked down to the farm and knocked at the farmhouse. A very nice lady answered and a border collie tried to knock me over. She gave us directions (the lady, not the collie) and we wondered around to the back of the house to find the circle. Its actually quite nice, if a little rundown and difficult to get a photo that doesnt have motorway vehicles flying past in the background! We didn't want to stay to long as we still had a few places we wanted to see and felt we should find somewhere nice to watch the sunset too, so set off again, dodging sheep poo on the way...

After Gunnerkeld we thought we would see the Oddendale complex. It wasn't part of the plan, but its on the map and we figured we may as well do as much as we can. We started upon the track and happened upon Castlehowe which is a lovely little circle surrounded by a barbed wire fence and a padlocked gate. Charming. The boys jump the gate but I'm not confident the rickerty old thing can hold my weight! I decided to view from a distance, which would have been fine but the farmer had put a water tank behind it, so my view wasn't great. Also had a quick look as Castlehowe scar row while I was there before jumping back in the car and headed along the track until it turned into someones drive! Theres lots of stones here but could we tell what was what?? There was obviously something on the track near the wall (which we late found out was Oddendale Cairn ) and there was something on the hill so we headed up there. Got some photos and it turns out its Seal Howe but I have to say that I wasn't impressed with the area and neither was Flannel, who hates walking when there isn't a great reward at the end!

The only other plan for the day is Gamelands so we head off for the last bit of the journey following a road and looking for a road called Knott something. Drive all the way to the end of the road, ask some people if they have any idea where the circle is. They don't (in fact they don't seem to know what a stone circle IS) so we turn around and try again. Park on the right at the entrance to a pot-holed track with a walkers sign which doesn't look promising but turns out its the right way!! You will know its the rght way because you go past a pond on your left! We kept on walking and saw a ruined archway with a dead tree infront in one of the fields to the right but couldnt see the cirlcle. Keep looking. Considered asking a farmer but glad we didn't because its in the same field as the archway, you just can't see it until you're on top of it!! And what a lovely spot it is too. The stones are pretty big, pink and glittery except for the stray limestone block close to the fence. We spent quite a bit of time here enjoying watching the lambs play before we decided to quickly drive to Arbor Low and Nine Stones Close for sunset.

Phew, what a day...


Long Meg & Her Daughters — Images

<b>Long Meg & Her Daughters</b>Posted by faerygirl<b>Long Meg & Her Daughters</b>Posted by faerygirl<b>Long Meg & Her Daughters</b>Posted by faerygirl

Little Meg — Images

<b>Little Meg</b>Posted by faerygirl<b>Little Meg</b>Posted by faerygirl

Glassonby — Images

<b>Glassonby</b>Posted by faerygirl<b>Glassonby</b>Posted by faerygirl

Gunnerkeld — Images

<b>Gunnerkeld</b>Posted by faerygirl<b>Gunnerkeld</b>Posted by faerygirl

Oddendale — Images

<b>Oddendale</b>Posted by faerygirl

Oddendale Cairn I — Images

<b>Oddendale Cairn I</b>Posted by faerygirl

Seal Howe — Images

<b>Seal Howe</b>Posted by faerygirl

Gamelands — Images

<b>Gamelands</b>Posted by faerygirl<b>Gamelands</b>Posted by faerygirl

Arbor Low — Images

<b>Arbor Low</b>Posted by faerygirl<b>Arbor Low</b>Posted by faerygirl

Nine Stones Close — Images

<b>Nine Stones Close</b>Posted by faerygirl<b>Nine Stones Close</b>Posted by faerygirl<b>Nine Stones Close</b>Posted by faerygirl<b>Nine Stones Close</b>Posted by faerygirl
faerygirl Posted by faerygirl
29th July 2010ce
Edited 29th July 2010ce

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