Stone Circles and other Ancient Sites

Do I belong to some ancient race
I like to walk in ancient places
These are things that I can understand

Back in the 1980s I bought a copy of the book A Guide to Ancient Sites in Britain by Janet and Colin Bord and set about seeing as many of the sites as I could. I already had an interest in stone circles and similar ancient sites and this probably dated back to my childhood.

I remember going to the Orkneys and visiting the Ring of Brodgar, the Standing Stones of Stenness and Skara Brae. We also visited the Outer Hebrides and saw Callanish. I also remember going to Stonehenge back in the days when you get into the middle of the circle. Sadly no photos exist of those visits as the family budget didn’t extend as far as being able to buy films for a camera! Here is a rare one of me, my mum and brother on holiday in Scotland walking to St Mary’s Loch near Moffat.

When I got a car in the late 80s we started going off on days out visiting places like Stonehenge, the Rollright Stones, Avebury and Glastonbury and it was on one of our visits to the latter that we bought the Bord’s book. I also bought Julian Cope’s fantastic book the Modern Antiquarian there too, picking it up cheap because the box was damaged. It hasn’t been as much of a reference as the Bord’s book though mostly because it’s not as convenient to take around with you!

So we set about trying to visit as many of the stone circles and related site in the book as we could possibly manage. We travelled to the west country and up to the north of Scotland and one thing we found out was that the directions in the book sometimes left a lot to be desired. One time we followed the directions only to have the road run out and the car wheels fall into a ditch, other times we simply gave up trying to find an obscure stone because the directions didn’t seem to match what we found when we got close.

The arrival of children in 1990 slowed us down for a bit but we did get to see the occasional stone circle when we went away. We also got to go to Carnac in Brittany although our first attmept fell apart when the car broke down on the way there! (we ended up going to see Jim Morrison’s grave in Paris instead once the car was fixed!) By the time we split up we had seen many of the sites from Mên-an-Tol in the South to Brodgar in the North.

In the late 1990s early 2000s I was part of a Morris group called Wolf’s Head & Vixen Morris and during the time I was with them we danced at a number of stone circles – Avebury, The Rollright Stones and of course Stonehenge>

I/we took many photograps of the sites we visited but most are currently in a box in the attic. I hope that one day I might find the time to sort through them and work out which photos are of which sites – I also have a load of black and white negatives that I developed myself that were never printed (the one above I managed to work out after scanning it was the Hill o’many Stanes on the North East coast of Scotland. One weird thing happned when we visited the Ring of Brodgar in Orkney. None of the photographs on my wife’s camera came out. All the ones before the visit were fine as were the ones after but there were just blank frames for the time we were at the circle. That wasn’t the only wierd thing that happned there though so check out that page (when it’s done!)

Recently my interest started to grow again after we went on Holiday to North Wales and I got to visit Angelsey – somewhere I had never been – and see some of the sites on there. The campsite we stayed on even had it’s own standing stone in the field next door called the Graianog standing stone (not in the book!) and then the following year I finally got to see the Cheesewring on Bodmin Moor after a previous attempt had to be abandoned because of hailsones!

So hopefully over the next few years I will get as many photos of the sites up here as I can – hopefully along with some info and maybe thoughts around the visit.

The gypsy life returns again in a form that’s very new
With motor-vans, electric sounds, and the colours of the rainbow
We’ll open up the old straight tracks and fertilize the earth
Rediscover the healing sound and ride the psychic surf
So who’s gonna be an electric gypsy
I wanna see the electric gypsies

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