Ring cairn overlooking Oxendale
While winter snows lie outside its spring at Whorneyside ring cairn! There are numerous prehistoric monuments found throughout the Cumbrian Fells, some the subject of this blog, can be classified as embanked ring cairns with some confidence whilst others are more difficult to fit into existing typologies. Many of these are smaller more ephemeral structures that often occur in close proximity with the more definable ring cairns.
Whornyside ring cairn
These tend to be sited high up in the coombes of the fells generally from 400-500m AOD
Whornyside ring cairn, plan and reconstruction
With an eye of faith we can see how this cairn may have looked when constructed.
Ring cairn, Great Castle How
Here at Castle How above Grasmere we can see a structure of the same diameter and construction with a more “traditional” stone banked ring cairn in the distance across the valley.
Greenburn Bottom ring cairn
The neighboring valley of Greenburn also contains similar structures, this time orthostats are still extant with what may be a cairn central to the circle.
Brenig ring cairn
At Llyn Brenig in North Wales, an area with numerous excavated Bronze Age monuments this ring cairn is on a much greater scale, perhaps reflecting the population of that locale.
Broken Spectre, Skiddaw
Whilst out on Skiddaw the other day I was followed for half a mile by the Broken Spectre, it got me wondering what prehistoric people made of this phenomenon that we can now explain through physics.
Whymper’s vision on descending the Matterhorn
Even as recently as 1865 Edward Whymper descending the Matterhorn with his remaining companions, in his heightened state of anxiety following the death of three of his team, interpreted the Broken Spectre as a vision.
Modern ring cairn Scoat Fell summit
People still build in the round on mountain tops.
Whorneyside ring cairn and Pike O’Blisco
Perhaps it’s the place we find ourselves in.
There is a fine trail to be followed round various Bronze Age monuments at LLyn Brenig: http://www.cpat.org.uk/walks/brenig.pdf
These were excavated by Frances Lynch in the 1970’s and are published in a monograph, the typologies are based on this work and many other sites are discussed here: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/20567822?uid=3738032&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21105668461373