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Fieldnotes by postman

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Boleigh (Fogou)

I first tried to get a look at Boleigh Fogou last year in 2018, and like Carl I tried the phone number numerous times but got no joy. So me and Eric tried to sneak in, from two different directions, but without knowing exactly where the fogou is we failed miserably and gave up. Disappointed.

July 2019 and we're back for round two, obviously sneaking isn't going to get us anywhere, so the only other option is a frontal assault, straight up the driveway, they wont be expecting that.
Parking was obtained on the B3315 there is a little muddy layby just east of the entrance to Rosemerryn house. Walked back up the road to the driveway entrance and engaged in the assault. But we came upon the first defenses all too soon, a hand written sign asking people who want to see the fogou to please ring this number. Canny Rosemerryn inhabitants.
I got me phone out and looked through my contacts and lo and behold the number on the sign was the same number I'd tried last year. So with the faintest of sighs and the fastest of vanishing hopes I rang the number. It was to my amazement that it was answered almost immediately, I told the chap on the phone that I was half way up his driveway by a sign asking me to ring, and can we have a look at your fogou please?
The man from Boleigh, he say Yes!

We walked on down the driveway and met him by the house, he said hello and thanked me for ringing, he did point out that we should've rang further in advance, and I said we didn't know about ringing at all, and have come seeking fogou's out of the blue. A lie, and I'm sorry, but only a white lie to keep his sensibilities intact. Anyway, all was good and he showed us the way, only a minute later and we're at the entrance to Fogou.
When he left us to it and went about his business we had it all to ourselves, I've wanted to come here for twenty years at least, but saved it til last because of difficulties getting to it, of all the surviving get into-able fogous this is the last one, and I'm finally here, I was so excited I could pop, goosebumps, shortness of breath, dizzyness, I'd better get in before I faint.
As soon as your in, the creep entrance is immediately left, I walk past it to the far end of the Fogou, it is open, and looks to be an old break in point, stone is missing and it is all open. Back to the entrance and I have a look through the portal stones of the creep entrance and go through. Straight away a stone is on the floor right below a gap in the roof where some corrugated sheet metal now does the job of opposing collapse. Getting past the fallen stone the creep ends quite quickly. Lights off sit quietly. After a while I emerge back into the world, Eric is still looking at his phone, he cant have internet here surely. I have a look at the broken back end and then the bloke is back and he's brought his dog and cat with him. we stand around talking for a while, what's it for, we both agreed on some ritual purpose. He mentioned time team were here, and I remembered the episode he was talking about, they were digging a ruined fogou elsewhere but they wanted a more intact individual so they came here, with a dowser, I remember Professor Mick wasn't impressed.

The Rosemerryn man was not going away now so I took a hint and said thank you very very much but we must go now, he lead us away through the woods, across a lawn (that was as far as we got last time) through more woods (been here before) and with in sight of the car. Bang, Boleigh done, I can excise it from my obsessive mind. I'll probably be back in these parts again at least once and i'll go have a look at Lower Boscaswell Fogou, but really I feel I've done fogous now and I can turn my attention else where, Brochs maybe, I haven't seen enough Brochs.

Nant Maden (Kerbed Cairn)

Lured into the area by loves young dream and a splendid ring cairn, as is often the case, I thought I'd pop over the fence for a closer look at this rather interesting cairn than the roadside proffers.
Like Carl I didn't see the point of bothering the landowner for permission to see his cairn, but then a look at it from the roadside is anathema to me, I implore you to get as close as you can at all times, no matter where you are, roadside indeed.
The cairn is as Carl says a large mound, but not built of grey stones, they are more or less white, especially where the quartz glitters in the sunlight.
The interior of the cairn is well messed up, dug up, broken and moved about. Some of the kerb stones look like they've been dumped in the scooped out interior. That standing stone on top of the cairn is quite perplexing, the coflein people do mention the cairn contained a rectangular pit covered by a capstone, a cist? I was ready to scoff at the standing stone being this cist capstone, but it really could be, it's mostly rectangular except where broken, it's quartzy like the kerb stones, so, who knows. You don't get facts like that by hanging around the roadside.

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.

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.

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.

Trowlesworthy Stone Row East (Stone Row / Alignment)

Eleven months ago Eric and I came to Dartmoor for just one long day of stoning with a list of places that I wanted to see, I would have had time to see them all as well but Eric insisted on having something to eat, right in the middle of the day, half way through the list. How rude.
To Direct you.....
Coming south from Brisworthy to Cadover bridge, immediately after crossing the bridge turn left onto dusty track and follow it all the way to the end. It ends right next to the quarry, there is a restored medieval cross near by. It should have been easy to get there from here, but I didn't have my compass with me and the famous Dartmoor fog covered everything, visibility was down to about a couple of hundred yards. In truth I wasn't holding out much hope of finding the stone circle we'd come so far to see. My map was, as it turns out, too old and outdated, the shape of the Clay works quarry had changed shape, a lake disappeared. We guessed our way round the quarry, which is large to say the least, you've never seen such a sight of utter devastation, and prepared to climb the hill, but just then out of the mist I saw a line to my left, as we moved on the mist cleared enough to realise we were just about to go the wrong way, our destination was but a few hundred yards to our left. So we went that way.
Crossing a stream or two presented not but a little problem and suddenly we were at the south end of the stone row. Success.
There are two parallel stone rows, the south end has a kind of rounded boat shaped quality to it, the stones go up hill from there towards the stone circle, a reave? Leat? cuts through it, jumped, further up hill a large stone lies across the rows, passed by, the rows just kind of end right next to the stone circle. I wonder if it is known whether they are both of the same exact date, or did one come before the other?

Trowlesworthy Warren (Stone Circle)

I cant believe we found it, quite easily too despite no compass, despite the fog, or prior knowledge of what to look for. Eight stones remain of this stone circle, also known as the Pulpit. The circle stone that is closest to the circle is the tallest, and most leany, Burl say it is four foot two, but if you stand in the dip where sheep fidget it's almost five foot five. It also has a gnarled and twisted form, and a big streak of raptor poo on one side.
We pick a stone and sit for a while, the mist is, I think, beginning to clear, revealing a lot more stone work to the north and the west, I regard the map and see that there are settlements almost all around, and blow me down another stone row and a possible stone circle. We'll have to have a longer look round.
Time for some elevation, I attach the camera to the tripod and extend it all the way and hoik it up into the air with camera on ten second countdown, trying again and again to get the right angle, this is the first time Eric's seen this, he laughed at me. How rude.
It is a great little stone circle, but to make the long drive down well and truly worth it, we'll have to go and see a couple more stone circles elsewhere, right after I've had a look at that other stone row.

Trowlesworthy Stone Row West (Stone Row / Alignment)

Another stream cross and we approach, I'm not sure what, there's a very suspect bump, and some stones that look like they are in a row.
Shall I leave it there?

I only came to free my mind of the rattle word Trowlesworthy, but a quick look at the map and it is abundantly clear that there is much more than a stone circle up on this moor. We've had a wander round some of the settlement immediately north of the circle and now we've crossed back over the stream to have a look at the other stone row. The stones, they are in a row, and it's more or less straight, and also more or less point to the stone circle, but in an unconnected kind of way. The stone row starts with a tall terminal stone at the west, passes by the suspect bump, and terminates with another tall terminal stone. Next to the eastern tall terminal stone is a lovely little cairn circle. I'm sure more than a couple of stones are missing and those that are left are barely breaking the land surface, but the mist has all but cleared and the cuteness factor is now apparent.
The suspect bump tends to overshadow the stone row slightly, I got a little excited to see the ditches either side of it, could it be a burial mound of some kind, Eric asked, Looking at the map once more reveals their true nature. Pillow mounds, I must confess, besides knowing they are medieval, the wrong kind of ancient, I knew not what they were. Upon returning to home I looked them up, artificial rabbit warrens, apparently Lionhearts and conquerors get through a lot of rabbits.

Morfa Abererch (Standing Stone / Menhir)

It's been three and a half years since Alken first posted his pictures of this stone, and Iv'e been trying to find an excuse to come all this way beyond finding a single standing stone. So I reminded myself that I've not had a proper look at Dinas Dinlle yet, and it's been years since I was last at Yustumcegid, and here we are.
There is a car park yards away from Abererch railway station, we left the car there, on a nice day like this, in fact the hottest Easter Sunday since records began, (were hearing something like that more and more often) assume the car park will fill quickly, so come early?
Leaving the car park head directly to the obvious entrance to the beach, ignoring if you can ladies in beachwear, turn left and walk along the coast east until you see the stone, it will be easy to spot, assuming it remains upright.
This is presently one of the weirdest sited stones I've yet seen, and I've seen a few. It is at high tide just yards from the sea, perched on a shelf at the edge of the sand dunes, like a penguin ready to dive into the deep blue. The stone looks like it has been dug out of the dunes, 320 degrees around the stone it is free of it's sandy grave, but the back of the stone is still in the dune. So you can stand on the beach beneath it, or on the shelf right next to it, or above the stone on top of the dune.
Standing back on the beach, I swear you can see the old land surface into which the stone was set, and all around it the sand has gathered into dunes and swallowed it whole.
But the rising seas, especially stormy rising seas have eaten away the land between sea and stone.
Sadly, in the last three and a half years since Alken was here some massive twat has scraped a name into the stone, I couldn't read it, perhaps it was a Welsh word, either way I decided it meant "stupid woz ere".

Funnily, the stone reminded me of far away Clach An Trushal on the Isle of Lewis, clearly it wasn't the size, rather, it's close proximity to the sea. The coast line hasn't changed that much round here in the last four thousand years, so the stone at Abererch must have been placed here for sea goers to see, the beach being a good landing place. And like Clach An Trushal, once on land there are many ancient sites to be going to. Perhaps I'm talking bollocks, that's what this site does to you, it urges you to think about what has happened here, Old Wales says "there you go, what do you make of that"
A hat, a brooch or a flying Pterodactyl?

Ninestane Rigg (Stone Circle)

No field notes til now? for shaaaame!

This was a total bastard to find!
Or rather my brain was fried by the time we got here.
First attempt to get there ended when I realised I was in the wrong place, your supposed to just follow a line of trees up hill, but these trees turned half way up, back to the car.
Second attempt, took rather longer to work out I was still in the wrong place. Tree felling combined with the slightly misty view from the nearby Buck stone, convinced me for quite a while that I was Ok, I wasn't, back to the car. Nearly gave up here.

A bit further on the road turns a quick right then left, whilst going over a stone bridge, I finally decided this was the right place and I should go for it seeing as I'm here.There are lots of old stone bridges round here. Park near the bridge and climb up the embankment. Burl calls this first part of the walk, almost precipitous. Follow the fence up hill, then onto open moorland until you find a stile with a handy sign pointing the way to Ninestanes Rigg, which was way more than handy.

Until in the end the two still standing stones come into view, and I breath a heavy sigh of relief, it should've been quite easy to find, but first you must be in the right place.
Well, I wasn't expecting there to be this many stones here, yes it's called nine stones, but you don't really expect there to be nine. All the other pictures by Rockartwolf showed only four, I was pleasantly surprised.
Burl says it's an unusual ring, one stone down eight still standing, most of the stones are small perhaps stumps, it strikes me as one of the few circles he hasn't dug at.
Two stones still stand, one is leaning quite precariously, some of the other stones are quite the stump though, or perhaps they are just low stones, long grass does quite well at hiding the lower stones.
Much tree felling has occurred, changing the aspect of the circle dramatically, they seem to be felling these trees by crashing a UFO into them, Armageddon seems to have transpired with the nearest still extant forest, 'tis a right mess.

After stamping the long grass down a bit I set to with the camera, hoiking up the tripod as far as it goes for that lofty view. The day has taken a decidedly grey turn, thin mist hangs in the air, but I think I really liked this stone circle, was it the euphoria at finally finding a long awaited quarry? or the satisfying number of stones, or lots of different things. Liked it.
Bye stones.

Buck Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Parking isn't good, I selfishly took up half a passing place, there wasn't much traffic, and I think I got away with it, I was only gone ten minutes.
Barely a five minute walk, if that, from the road side.
As described by Hob Nov 2004.
Hard to spot in the long grass. Nice knobbly top to the stone. You can probably see Ninestanes Rigg from here, or at least where it is.

Lochmaben Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

This one has been on my list of must see's ever since I got Burl's paper back guide, about twenty years ago, so it's good, nay, very good to finally get an audience with this contender for most famous standing stone in Scotland if not Britain.
High praise for a random stone most people, including stone-heads haven't heard of.
Let me begin.
Finding it is but a trifle, leave the A75 for Gretna, at the west end of town, turn right onto B721, then immediately left, take next right, at the cross roads go straight across. Pass Old Graitney and drive right down to the Solway Firth. The car park, such as it is, holds half a dozen cars and is just twenty yards from the Solway's mud. Leaving the car follow the often flooded footpath south west, passing two fields look right, see the stone, approach the stone, love the stone.

The Lochmaben Stane doesn't sit alone, there is another, something Burl's book misses out. The smaller of the two is a meter high boulder, still large and straddles two fields, sitting just twenty yards or so from the big one. For this was once a stone circle, like the big Cumbrian ones, but got destroyed for simply being in the wrong place.
The big one is taller, taller than me and fatter than Benny, take my word for it Benny is fat.
Burl states the dimensions as being nine and a half foot long, so he must have written his entry whilst it was lying down after a fall in 1982.
C14 dated wood from the stone hole at upwards of 3200 BC, so it's a really old one, like the Cumbrian ones.
The circle would have stood at the northern end of a Ford place across the muddy Solway Firth.
After The Scots invaded us in 1398 bringing on the battle of Otterburn, commissioners met here at the Lochmaben stane to discuss a truce.
Has any other standing stone been the site of a truce between two countries? I doubt it.
See, famous. Or should be more so.

The stone obviously gets the occasional visitor, because someone had arranged a row of little stones at the megaliths foot.

The one thing I didn't like about it was the walk along the Firth, during moments of flood, the flood dumps all of it's detritus onto the footpath, what could have been a lovely walk in the countryside turned into a difficult hobble through dozens of broken up trees, and oh god! don't mention the plastic.

Pict's Knowe henge

This henge wasn't on my list, I'd never heard of it til last week, I only found it on the map whilst looking at the route from the last site to the next, this earthwork was between the two, so I had a deeper look and found that Bladup had added it as a site on here some time ago, then deleted his pictures so the site page has remained empty for some time. So it seems it's up to me to go take a look and flesh out this withering website.
There is no footpath to the round thing, but this is Scotland, where we're going we don't need footpaths. So I hike my tripod over my shoulder and leave the daughter in the car at the road side, parking near to, but not blocking a farm gate.
Walking across the field I keep willing one of the model aircraft club members to actually fly a plane but no luck, you stick to your corner of the field and I'll stick to mine, winner, my corner has a henge in it.
Or is it a henge? the lengthy description of the site on Canmore has the site as domestic prior to the 90's, but much bronze age stuff was found, pottery shards , two planks and a whole Ard plough.
The entrance is very indistinct, at the north east is a slight dip in the bank, or is it an excavation scar from archaeology ?

I stroll round it once doing photography, then stand gormlessly in the middle for a bit, trying to figure the place out, I never did. The Portal says the entrance is at the west, I never saw it.
I walk round again with my tripod fully extended and held high above my head trying to get an elevated view, I must've looked a bit of a twit.
Speaking of which it's high time I was off to my next port of call.

Easthill (Stone Circle)

Ignore the directions from New Abbey, if you come by car, park at the church just to the west of the circle, plenty of room in the car park, follow the sign that says 7 grey Stanes, and follow the wall east towards the circle. Two gates must be got through. Keep looking left over the wall to see when the trees end, when they do, leave the wall at 90 degrees, stone circle is no more than a hundred yards distant. Easy.

Having said that, last time we came here about 17 years ago, we failed to find it, coming as we did from the opposite direction to this time. This time was inexplicably simple, I cant figure out how I missed it last time.
My daughter Philli has come out with me today, and to my amazement she's coming to see the stones with me instead of staying in the car.
The stones are easily spotted on their weird Little hillock, it's like a large round stage and the stones are arranged around it's circumference. The circle is also called the 7 Grey Stanes, they are grey, but there isn't 7 there's 9 or 10. So either someone can't count, or picked a number at random, or a couple of the stones are modern intrusions. I didn't count them, but one was loose and moved with the touch of a foot.
A large flat topped stone has tiny cup marks on it, but they are apparently natural, and a small cairn like mound can be seen in the circles west side.
To the west of the circle the hill forms an amphitheater type arrangement round half the circle, making an unbeatable viewing platform for the circle. To the west of the circle the view is wide and distant, the ground falls all the way down to the Solway firth and doesn't rise again til Cumbria, so extensive views and obvious sunrise opportunities.
The idea that the circle has been "fiddled" with is kind of born out by the fact that some of the circle stones are inside the circumference of the circle. It doesn't detract from the spectacle of the place, the view alone should be enough to keep the visitor rooted for a while, add to that the elation one feels at finally finding a recalcitrant site, and I'm well and truly established.

Until it is time to go of course, I've still got a couple of must sees to find yet, and feeling buoyed by my stone finding abilities I'm eager to get off to the others. Bye stones.

Fontburn Dod Wood (Stone Circle)

An often encountered problem with the winter solstice is lack of daylight, not helped by the sun stubbornly hiding all day behind thick grey clouds, it was daylight enough when we started, we being daughter and me, but it was going to be cutting it close, it all depended on the route to the stones.
I've never been here before, I don't know the best route, I don't know exactly where it is. Looking at the map, three options suggest themselves, driving all the way to Newbiggin farm, ask to leave your car there, smile sweetly. That would get you closest. Or you can park at the northern most of two car parks, follow the north side of the reservoir til you happen across the stones, or you can park at the southern most of the two car parks, follow the southern shore of the reservoir until you feel the stones are close and trust your moment to leave the path, should there be one.

For no other reason than the southern car park looks easier to get to, I choose to follow the southern shore.
There was indeed a path, a good one too, a wooden walkway wends it's way through the trees and bracken, crossing streams, looking nice, it would look nicer in summer.
But it only lasts two thirds of the way, it abruptly turns south and tries to usher you away from the prize, it's definitely getting towards dark now, but with eyes firmly on the prize I try to get a bit more speed out of my daughter, not far to go now. Following the edge of the trees with the reservoir appearing and disappearing through threes, we follow a path that only exists in my mind.
But the ground is very uneven, strewn with large branches streams and slippy stretches of mud.
I decide to forgo my Dad of the year trophy and instruct daughter to sit on that rock, and wait there while I run on ahead. She's been through this before, she knows the score, if we keep going at this pace it will all be flash photography, that's OK if your called Ken and talk funny, but i'm not a good photographer in bad light, and this was the baddest.
Do you often run to stones?
Running, slipping, hobbling, climbing over a fence, finding a path, following it until I think i'm there, I think I'm there, the path must now be abandoned, with no more than a feeling to go on. I think a fence was climbed, and maybe a small stream was jumped, then a small bank was climbed and hey presto the stones were right before me twenty yards distant. Working at the edge of human endurance can really focus the mind, daughter on her own in woods as it gets dark, am I mad? no sleep, little food, totally spent I was. I still uncannily went straight to the stones, unswerving, no is it this way or that. I like stones, me.

Our old mate Bladup suggested this four poster to me, i'm really into four poster stone circles mainly because I found what I reckon is an actual four poster but miles away from where it should be, in North Wales. But also because I think it's interesting how stone circles evolved over the centuries, so many stony stories of what a stone circle should be.
Anyway, Bladup said that this four poster was just like my Hafodygors wen, so here I am.

Well there are four stones set into what looks like a cairn, but that is where the similarity ends four me (sorry).
I have no doubt that Fontburn Dod is a four poster, but I think one of the stones has shifted, leaving what looks like room for another, so some may have thought it contained more stones. Probably
Two of the stones have cup marks on top of them, but one also has natural weathering that looks like cupping, just to confound the postie i'm sure.
Like most four posters the stones aren't tall, no more than a meter high, short squat rounded boulders, lord knows what was going on at Lundin Links, bloody over achievers.
I don't have the time or the light to explore the place properly, only enough time for a quick five minute sit, only enough light for 18 pictures, then it is unfortunately time to go, I must go and rescue my babe in the woods. The more four posters I see the more convinced I am that my North Walean wonder site is what it looks like, a four poster.
But i'm not ready to cross Fontburn Dod off my list just yet. Now I know the way, a fair weather visit is already overdue.

Yeavering Bell (Hillfort)

It's hard to say how long I've been wanting to get my tired bones up this hill, Stewart Ainsworth from time team was the first to alert me to it's existence, during a dig at Bamburgh castle. He suggested the two sites were in contest for the area, the one with the castle came out on top, apparently. Looking on google earth reveals a wide wall round the whole hill top, and I do like a good walled hill fort, so on the list it went. I've been past it a couple of times, even been over to the Battle stone at the hills foot, but from there the hill looks high and difficult to find an easy way up. Looks aint deceivin'.

Winter solstice 2018, after an almost successful sunrise at Duddo, I decide it's time to make that climb, the climb of the Bell, the Bell that Yeavers.
I park the car on the B6351 at the Grefrin (site of) monument, it's a fairly obvious place. Then walk down the road to the Battle stone, arriving at the stone I take a quick look round and make a dash for the hill, dashing because i'm pretty sure this isn't the proper way up. But i'm a massive fan of the direct route, if I can see where I want to go, i'll always go in a straight line, a bit Roman innit.
There are fences that have to be crossed before you can disappear from view into the trees, but once through them the hill side is open and it's just a whole lot of upness.

It gets harder and harder with each passing year negotiating these steep climbs, and this was one of the steepest, but after fighting only two heart attacks I reach the eastern entrance to the fort. After picking myself up from the inevitable collapse.
I sit round for a bit getting my breath back and taking in the vista, appreciating the strong cold winds, it's been a while since I could actually and literally look down on the world. But there's no time for nonsense, my daughter is waiting in the car, and I've a special stone circle to find after this, so I head south following the forts wall clockwise round the hill top.

The totally collapsed wall is a very wide stony spread, how high would the wall have stood? could you climb over it, or was there a fence with it, on it? Was it mainly for show?
Who knows, right now, i'm just following it.

I take a walk up to the topest most top of the hill, there's supposed to be a cairn, but it's just another grassy bump so I retreat from the biting wind back down to the southern rampart and keep following all the way to the western end of the fort. From here I think I can see where the Hethpool stone circles are. From there I take a turn round onto the northern rampart and back into the wind, It's not so bad back down on the valley floor but up here it's literally pushing me about. From here I look back down to the road, my car is a little silver dot, in the field beyond my car is a henge, apparently now only visible as a crop mark, if grass is a crop. But I feel I can actually see a circular something on the edge of the field. It doesn't take long til i'm back at the eastern entrance. I bid a fond farewell to Yeavering Bell, and take an even more straight line back to the road, passing the Battle stone one more time. If I do pass this way again I wont be stopping, there are still lots of other sites that will be taking my obsession into the future.

God bless the obsessed.

Ffridd Isaf (Ring Cairn)

Coflein has it down as a ring cairn, but Kerb cairn would be a better lable, should one be absolutely necessary. This monument has me standing on the firmest ground all day, not the actual ground, a possible ring cairn, some possible hut circles, a possible stone row and standing stone. This is definitely a cairn, it has kerb stones on the outside, standing stones protrude through its outer mound, ok,
it could be a ring cairn, but a cairn, it very much is.

In the middle is a rectangular depression with a stone in it's side, it is the cist. The low mound that makes the ring has at least a dozen stones sticking up out of it, two of them are set side ways suggesting an entrance, all be it eight inches or so wide.
With kerb stones set into it's circumference, a kerbed ring cairn. It could be a small embanked stone circle, with a later cist inserted. It's better than I'm making out.

There is a lot of rocky clutter all around though making it a hard place to define, but I think I have it defined now.
The surroundings are pretty damn good. The lake sparkles in the late afternoon sun, and the mountains change colour with the passing of every cloud. Only the quarrying shenanigans gets on my nerves

Gorseddau (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

The biggest most impressive hut circle here, and that's saying something cause there's dozens and dozens of them, some Roman, some Medieval but mostly they're Iron age.
The circle is situated under the hillside quarry banks , I'm sure there's a proper word for them, but seeing as they're made by people who dig up and sell mountains i'm not going to learn it.
To be honest I'd gotten mixed up on what I was looking for here, I thought I was nearly done with only a kerb cairn to go, but it seems there was one last hut circle that needed a looking at, it was a stonker.
It wasn't tucked away in some hilly fold, it wasn't hiding under some outcrop, it was out in the open, on level ground where every one could see it, and they could see every one.
There is even a low hillock to stand upon and look over the circle to Moel Hebog.
The walls are, in places, a couple of feet in height, the entrance is to the north, facing the mountain.

Time has gotten away from me here like no where else, I'm now going to have to modify my plans for places elsewhere. For now, find that kerb cairn.

Cwm Ystradllwyn (Standing Stones)

It took me a while to locate this possible stone row, even when I had I was rather doubtful that I had. Coflein says there are five stones and I only found four, they are in a line to be sure, there's even space for a now missing stone. Still quite doubtful.

Contrastingly, I went almost straight to the little standing stone. It is definitely a standing stone, all be it a slightly diminutive example. Coflein also note its close to a field boundary and an enclosure. Thus perhaps casting some doubt as to it's authenticity as a bronze age standing stone.

Plas Llyn (Burnt Mound / Fulacht Fia)

Coflein says.......A crescent shaped burnt mound with an opening adjacent to the nearby stream.Thoroughly covered in turf but made up from small stones less than 0.2m in size and visible in places. Reaching a maximum height of 0.5m above ground level the feature measures approx. 5m by 6m.

I say..... splendicular views all around, not a great site, to be sure, but it's bronze age and obvious and it's a good place to get your bearings from. I didnt know it at the time but from there you can see a kerb cairn with cist from here, below and closer to the lake.
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After visiting over a thousand ancient places and driving between fifteen to twenty thousand miles every year I can only conclude that I'm obsessed with these places, and finding this website ten years ago only compounded that obsession, at least I'm not alone anymore.

My favourite places are:

Ring of Brodgar
Balnauran of Clava
Nine stones close
Bryn Celli Ddu
The Druids circle (penmaenmawr)
HafodyGors Wen
Gwal y Filiast
Grey Wethers
Boscawen Un
La Roche au Fees
Talati De Dalt

and these are only the ones that immediatly spring to mind, so many stones and not enough lifetimes.

My TMA Content: