On The Road Again: The megalith collectors
Wiltshire heritage monuments
Old Haunts revisited
Dinner, last night at The King's Oak, Wootton Rivers – well, I wasn’t as hungry as I ought to have been, settling for a half-portion of calves’ liver & bacon, no spuds of any description and a few veggies. Next to me, a chicken pie met it’s match. Huge thing, happily mostly puff and a bit of decent do, otherwise it would have been a feeds-four, it was a real sky-high topper. We passed on sweet again.
This AM, the overnight clouds and rain have mostly passed through, plenty of blue-sky-white-cloud overhead, promising fair. We’re out updating our megaliths: we collect them in the same way climbers bag Munroes. So that was Durrington Walls (again) and the all-new Cuckoo Stone added to the collection, then on to Avebury for the umpteenth time. Went a bit wrong at the A303, missing the turn to Amesbury in the flurry of ‘Not Andover!’ and an unscheduled U-ey before we were back on song. I was wrassling with the OS map when the turn to Durrington caught me unawares, but someone was awake by then & we made it.
Woodhenge first. I decided to do the TroyTown walk through the pillars, a weird experience. First turn to the right hand (widdershins if you’re that way inclined, the way of the dead), turning to the opposite hand every revolution. I caught the memory….. walking barefoot, hearing the horns and bones, feeling a headband round my brow & the fire in my belly…..
The Met Office got it wrong again. They said the rain would be gone by ten and it outstayed it’s welcome until well past midday, from mizzle to outright splashy as we ran past Pewsey up to Marlborough. Nice light though, brilliant plashes of sunlight contrasted with dark cloud, and we were mizzled on climbing up to West Kennet long barrow – but not for long. I hid inside the mound until it blew over. WKLB, collected four, or is it five times now? Ditto Sillbury Hill.
Poor ole Avebury, it’s tired of the attention. It wants to rest: no-one’s really getting it these days, not the Druids & certainly not the tourists. It wants out. We saw the Longstones (Adam & Eve) on the way back. We’ve been after them for a while now. We can get them next time we’re here: once seen, never forgotten. Be prepared to pay through the nose for parking here though, it’s up to seven quid now. My advice? Park up by Sillbury or West Kennet & walk. Fourteen quid for tea & sarnies at the caff, ridiculous. (The pub was crammed out with bikers.) Nine quid for two into the museum, that’s taking the piss. World heritage site, bah. And you only get access to three-quarters of the stones anyway, bloody swizz. And forget taking a decent picture with the milling tourists, screaming kids (climbing on the stones, WHAT!) and gambolling dogs…… Add in the odd (and I really mean odd) pagan communing with the stones & slanting dirty looks when you try to take a quick snap and you have the picture of somewhere you don’t want to be. Next time I’m not coming any weekend-day. I may even incant for sleeting rain to scare the buggers off.
Well, that’s it bar the shouting. Pack and go, another holiday….. DONE.