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

The Merry Maidens

Stone Circle


After a quick but damp stop at The Pipers (24.6.2011), Merry Maidens will be our last hurrah of the holiday. As we approach, the noise of tractors gets increasingly loud. The northern gate into the Merry Maidens field has been chained and padlocked, so we have to go round to the "main" entrance. Here the source of the noise becomes apparent, as two tractors are performing a series of complicated dance steps in a quest to mow the hay around the circle. Where's that one man and his dog, Spot, these days? Progress eh?

If that wasn't enough, a little party of Americans are being shown how to dowse by their local tour guide. No chance of a quiet wander here today. And it's raining.

I remain ambivalent about Merry Maidens. On the one hand it's a beautiful circle (albeit restored), with views of nearby Gun Rith and the rounded hills of SW Penwith. If you get it to yourself on a sunny day, it's an utter joy. On the other hand, its perfection is a bit too, well, perfect. And its roadside placing makes it a source of almost constant visitors, most of whom drive up, get out, take a few pics and leave. Today a couple of women arrive while we're there and almost immediately have a row about something.

So it's a somewhat sad experience today. The combination of tractors, dowsers, cars and rows makes this something of an anti-climatic end to this summer's Penwith stone-spotting.

But there are a couple of pluses. First, while we wait for the 300 bus, a cyclist arrives and we chat to him for a few minutes. He's trying to cram in as many places as he can and seeing the much-highlighted map asks if we've been to Sancreed Well and if it's worth going to see. Certainly is. And you might want to have a look at Carn Euny and fogou whilst there. I hope he made it there and enjoyed it.

Secondly, we get onto the bus and the sun comes out. We sit up top, in a pretty stiff wind it must be said, and enjoy the trip around the peninsular. There are few better ways to see West Penwith and it finishes the holiday on the hoped-for high that Merry Maidens sadly didn't manage to conjure today.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
18th July 2011ce

Comments (2)

The Merry Maidens was the first stone circle I visited in West Penwith last year - not the most atmospheric perhaps because of the nearby road but it was an initiation for me and the friend I was with. Very much the 'blind leading the blind' we got hopelessly lost on both occasions we walked there (the second time overland from Lamorna) so I recall our inept adventures with great fondness. tjj Posted by tjj
18th July 2011ce
It is a beauty and perhaps I expect too much from it. It just seems to bring out a certain grumpiness in me - possibly the reason why I should continue to avoid Stonehenge! thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
18th July 2011ce
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