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

Burn Moor Complex


Once more the weather Gods smile on me; looking at the forecast a few days earlier it was so grim I toyed with the notion of postponing my visit planned a couple of months beforehand. I'm so glad I didn't; to echo previous comments, and allowing for Julian's need to limit the number of sites featured in TMA, I still can't quite understand why this amazing complex didn't make the cut. To employ a term I'm sure he'd approve of, it's a veritable megalithic mindfuck of a place, the moorland scattered with cairns and circles in various states of ruination/preservation. On this wondrously sunny afternoon I can't think of anywhere better to be, Scafell Pike looming majestically over the wide sweep of the landscape within which these monuments sit. With my customary inability to read a map correctly I not only take the wrong (and very steep) left-hand route up the hillside (instead of the gentler path to the right of the gate out of Boot) but also go left instead of right at the top, certain that the circles lie in that direction. When fruitless encounters with bits of rock sticking randomly out of the moorland scrub fail to produce any sighting of the object(s) of my quest, I take heed of the advice given to me by the proprietor of The Boot Inn to 'get up on one of the lumps and bumps' and spot what just HAS to be a stone circle way off in the distance to the east. The nearer I get, the more it reveals itself as White Moss, a beautiful little circle, much-better preserved than I'd hoped and the perfect introduction to this wonderful complex. It reminds me very much of Machrie Moor albeit without the big showstopping monoliths that lend that site its aura; here, that's provided by the stupendous views, the setting of the circles operating as a focal point for the aforementioned Scafell Pike and other surrounding hills (cf Castlerigg). To my eyes it looks very much as if the line of sight through White Moss and its more ruined companion is designed to draw your eyes towards the gap through which the sea is visible far away to the west. Brat's Hill is big circumference-wise even though its many stones are smallish and might be less visible later in the summer when the scrub's grown a bit more. The two Low Longrigg circles are a bit more battered and not immediately easy to spot but do provide a wonderful vantage point for views back towards the others. I end up spending a couple of hours wandering backwards and forwards between all the circles, the only person in this vast landscape, thrilled to bits and marvelling at my good fortune in being able to enjoy it in such perfect conditions. I leave with huge reluctance and a fervent desire to communicate the majesty of this site to the world at large. If you've thought about going but haven't got round to it yet, start making plans now, you won't regret it. It's not the most accessible of sites but the effort required isn't that great when set against the pleasure to be gained. ironstone Posted by ironstone
21st May 2016ce
Edited 21st May 2016ce

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