Saturday, 6 August 2016

The B3315...

Up the road from the Minack is a small hill where a long, long time ago eighteen, or arguably nineteen, maidens decided to dance to the tune of two pipers. 

Everything would have probably been okay except it was Sunday and as a punishment the dancers were turned to stone as were the pipers as they fled the scene of the crime.

Of course all this happened before our Christian God was invented and this circle of stones has been in the landscape for thousands of years, But it’s always a good idea to tell your parishioners that making merry is a blasphemy and perhaps that’s why the stones are called the Merry Maidens.

I didn’t set out with a visit in mind, but rather came across them by the side of the B3315, a road literally littered with burial mounds, Celtic crosses and other reminders of a past long forgotten and I wonder if the road is there as a result of these monuments and not a need to get from one town to another. It certainly seems to take in a lot of monumental history with something old and stony almost around every bend.

The stone circle is reached by crossing an almost equally ancient stone stile and then walking a few hundred yards through a sweet smelling meadow up a slight incline. It's a brooding place as all of these places are. They stand at the top of the hill, each one carefully positioned, not as big as Stonehenge or Avebury, but a perfect circle dominating the landscape as only these old things can.

When I am near these old stone temples I can feel the energy even if it is just a single standing stone. There’s the same stillness and reverence I sometimes feel in an old church except, whilst a church is a dusty place to whisper and fear, these circles seem to exude energy and joy. It’s almost as if they sing to me and I can feel the tingle of power when I touch them. Of course it could be my imagination or the couple of pints of beer I’ve usually drunk over lunch, but I don’t think so and I sometimes get the urge to run around waving my arms and whooping at the sky.

Maybe it’s the stones that make me want to go crazy - all that joyous energy and fertility.

Perhaps there is something in the legend of the Merry Maidens after all.

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