Monday, July 11, 2016

Looking Back

 This photo above reminds me so evocatively about Cornwall, the first time we arrived at The Hurlers stone circles, the rain was beating down washed sideways by the wind and there was a mist so that the stones loomed out towards you unexpectedly.  Water and reeds and tall derelict buildings, reeds everywhere and then the yellow of gorse, probably one of the most unfriendly plants on this earth.

In the above photo you see the covered remains of the ceremonial path between two of the circles, it was called the 'Crystal Path' because of the quartz stones that were laid and in the following 1938 photo you can see the excavated path.....

English Heritage;"The monument forms one element in an extensive grouping of later Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial and funerary monuments on this part of Bodmin Moor, and the circles are directly aligned with some of these.The axis through the centres of the two northern circles aligns directly on the massive Rillaton Barrow, visible on the skyline to the north-east,
Rillaton barrow
 while the axis of the southern pair of circles in turn aligns directly with a prehistoric round cairn to the south-west.
Another line at right angles to this axis through the central circle takes in another stone circle, an embanked avenue and a stone row. Such circles are likely to have had considerable ritual importance for the societies that used them.
A local legend identifies The Hurlers as men who were turned to stone for playing the ancient game of hurling on a Sunday. The two isolated stones of the Pipers are said to be the figures of two men who played tunes on a Sunday and suffered the same fate."

Stowe Pound, quarried during the 18th century.

And then of course  there is the 'gorsedd' the centre of the prehistoric settlement, the tor that attracted the burials and stone circles and the settled community.  This was a settled place for the 'stone age' people they would maybe have been there for centuries, slowly building up the significance of the importance of the rocky world they  lived in, the landscape very different to what we see today.  Today the  tor shows its importance to a later time, quarrying has stripped a part of the hill away, till halted because of the settlements on Stowes Pound; going back in time to the Early Neolithic.

The land is so lived on and yet at the same time empty and bleak, that one becomes overwhelmed by its strangeness, always aware of the rock beneath your feet, the water that lies on the surface unable to percolate through the rock.  The weird engine houses so derelict and stark reminds you of a working landscape a couple of hundred years ago, there would have the noise of the engines, hammering, men shouting the coming and going of a different civilisation in the small village of Minions. You can almost see H.G.Wells The Time Machine, the relationship between the Eloi and the Morlocks, the rich and the poor in Cornwall, the masters and slaves.  Today we translate our world into a different set of options, we put people into 'classes' but the old classifications still apply those that have and those that do not.
I like Cornwall but could not live there, it has a barren nature that rubs against my soul, I cannot condone its nationalism and need to be separate from the rest of the country......
The Piper stones


  1. Nice looking dog in the Stowe's Pound photo Thelma ;-) x

  2. Yes I have quite a good photo of Chief posing under the Cheesewring as well Roy ;).