…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World
Bear with me on this ok? I’m going to clutch on a few things I’ve been wanting to lay down here for a while, but have kept putting off, I suppose because I thought it would all form itself into a more coherent order in my mind over time, ready to share with others. But this doesn’t seem to have become the case. Let’s see.
After reading some books on the topics of ancient Egypt and megalithic sites in Britain, I wrote a short piece on my website, back in 2007, about “Stonehenge and Egypt”. It was literally a two-paragraph affair, and on re-reading it all these years later with the idea of sprucing it up a little I hit a brick wall because within those two paragraphs I had stated a number of things, like “some believe this about Stonehenge”, without saying who, and “other megalithic sites…” and “in a book…” without stating which, etc. What I had to do was retrace my literary steps and find my sources so that I could elaborate on my original piece. I really struggled to just sit down and do this.
I drew up a list of the books on these topics that I had read around this time (yes I have lists of every book I have read during the past 10+ years…) I then started re-reading some of them. I usually prefer to read something I haven’t read before, but since a number of years had passed it wasn’t so bad. The first two books on my list to read I had in my own collection so I got on and read those, but the third was one I had originally borrowed from a library, but I sourced a second-hand copy for a few quid. Half way through this third book I stumbled across a key paragraph – one that seemed to be the basis of what I had written about originally, and why I had written it.
Coincidentally, at the same time I was re-reading such topics my mother was doing an arty college project involving such ancient things, and she had found the topic of megalithic sites to be fascinating. Further to this I found that there was a whole chapter devoted to Bryn Celli Ddu on Anglesey, in North Wales, where we live (which I didn’t remember reading about the first time around), and when I mentioned this to my mum it so happened that she had recently met an archaeology professor who had made a short Youtube video about the site.
Just prior to all of this I had read, or rather, I should say, ‘finally read’ The Old Straight Track by Alfred Watkins. This book was first published in 1925 and was the first to describe the existence of alleged ley lines in Britain. As Wikipedia goes on to say: “Ley lines are supposed alignments of numerous places of geographical and historical interest, such as ancient monuments and megaliths, natural ridge-tops and water-fords.” Just like the supposed astronomical significance of sites like Stonehenge and the pyramids of Egypt, ley lines were disputed by archaeologists. I said ‘finally read’ because I have read books by other authors who have mentioned Watkins’ work, such as John Michell and knew I would have to read the book they were talking about. The reason why I read this one at this point in time was because it just happened to be there on the shelf of a library I was visiting for the first time.
Having lived on Anglesey for over ten years I have for all of this time been interested in the topic of standing stones. Cycling around each week I pass many standing stones and I consider what their purpose was. They do indeed often seem to mark points on the landscape to guide a traveller, especially when they’re at road junctions, or near to chapels or water holes, or as Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas suggested in their book, they can be just scratching posts for sheep. On a route I travel most weeks, that passes along the side a shallow valley, there is a standing stone up on an outcrop [top image], it was curious to me but more so when I was travelling a higher road above the valley, I noticed another standing stone forming a gate post (there are many of these around), it became more curious when I glanced out to the distance from this point and noticed the standing stone I could see from the valley (but couldn’t see that road from this point). It stood out as significant. On the day before Easter Day, I guess technically that’s ‘Easter Day Eve’, it was a lovely spring day here with blue skies, so I went out and photographed these things. I also became aware of just how many of the gate posts for fields along the roadside consisted of standing stones. It seemed strange to try and accept that maybe these were never ‘standing stones’ but we just erected by farmers to be used as gate posts, rather than them first being standing stones that eventually formed part of a boundary and became a natural place for a gate – they are all of a similar size and shape whereas the stones that form the walls seem to generally be of a smaller size (why weren’t the sizes of stones in the walls randomly distributed between these two sizes?).
Anyway, here is a view to the standing stone above, from the one that forms a gate post:
The grass field in the foreground dips down, there is then a road, and then the ground raises up on the other side in another field to where the stone stands. There doesn’t seem to be, or have been, a track way linking these two stones, all routes run perpendicular. On looking at this image now I am to wonder what if the grass would be left to grow – the standing stone in the distance would perhaps not be quite visible.
Here is a map I have put together plotting various points:
Point 3 was where I stood to take the first photograph of stone 2.
I stopped at point 4 to take another photograph of the stone on the outcrop and then after taking a few photographs I realised I was stood next to another standing stone forming a gate post. I laughed.
Point 5 is an interesting spot on the road (looking back along the road towards point 4) since there are three stones forming gate posts, two on one side of the road and the third on the other.
Point 6 and 7 are more gate posts, 6 leading to a house but 7 is opposite a road junction. Whilst producing the map I realised the road, coincidentally perhaps, is called Bryn Ddu Road (literally Black Hill Road), and the junction leads to the estate of Bryn Ddu (which I already knew but had failed to make the mental connection.) For some reason this seems to all link in some way to Bryn Celli Ddu (Celli meaning grove) which is almost 20 miles away.
So there we are, a lot of ramblings on non-coincidences that form my common curiosities.