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

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Haughton Common (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

This is the sweetest little stone circle i have ever met. Look on a good map at the two fish shaped lakes, or loughs as we call them, northeast of Housesteads. Near the western lough is the circle. It's on Haughton Common, which sounds like Hutton , my name, and the name of many small settlements in Cumbria and the borders. As you approach from crossing the wall west of Housesteads, and heading north, you will know the path when you cross it. The path takes you East through a cut in the Crags, Kings Crag and Queens Crag, linked by local legend to Arthur. You can see Sewingshields Crag (the site of Sewingshields Castle) where Camelot is said have been. There is a hidden cave here where a local farmer once found Arthur’s Knights frozen in sleep waiting for a horn to sound, summoning them to save britain (small B).

The circle seems to rise from the ground as you stumble on it. The last time I went I found a sheep horn in the centre. Its a lovely spot and you can see the Wall from most of the walk. I don't think there is a right of way, but who's counting?

Duddo Five Stones (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

The horde who sacked Yeavering Bell, the tribal palace of the ancient Northumbrian Kings, must have descended from the Cheviots when they attacked. By the time I reached the crumbling fortifications, I couldn't have lifted a sword, much less swing one.That's how steep the climb from the valley floor had been. I stood and caught my breath, and as my pulse began to slow, I turned round and took in the beautiful view.
Somewhere to the North East was Duddo stone circle, but I couldn't make it out. Standing on the peak of Yeavering Bell I had gained 240 metres of height since breakfast at Duddo. I was ready for my Lunch.
The day had started at eight when I packed my bag, and waited for Tom, my mate. He drove and I read maps on the way to Duddo. At Duddo village, we left the car and walked out across the open country. The circle was visible from some distance, looking like rotten teeth pointing up to the sky.
It was a typical January day, gray clouds spitting mean rain at the hills. We walked over a farmer's field, a strange feeling for me; I would have felt better on a footpath, yet I could see no other way to approach the stones. Once among the stones I felt better and sat to enjoy the moment.
Tom, on the other hand, spent ten minutes walking around the circle, on the field itself, before he came inside. As I enjoyed the rest, Tom rummaged in his bag and produced a miniature of Grouse, that he'd brought for me. Perfect.
We could see Yeavering Bell, and felt the call to leave, much too soon for Duddo. We agreed that we'd be back, and so we left. Back at the car, we ate a sandwich, and had some coffee, then we drove to Yeavering, a row of cottages under Yeavering Bell.
Again we left the car, but this time the path was pitched more steeply, and soon I was breathing hard. The path was an old drovers road, straight up into the Cheviots, marked all the way with massive boulders.
We crossed a stream bed and the path got steeper. From here we could see the old walls, and then we thought we'd seen people at the top, but as we got closer we saw that it was the wild goats of the Cheviot Hills, which neither of us had seen before.
When the Northumbrians were defeated at Yeavering, they moved across the valley to Gefrin, 'the place of the goats'. Yeavering sounds like a variant of Gefrin, so I guess the wild goats were at home.
They had disappeared into thin air by the time we arrived at the top, and we ate lunch together in the solitude, if you know what I mean.
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