Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Inspiring the muse...

I thought I'd share some of the stuff that inspires me. Not just as a writer, but as a person too.

Today, I want to talk about stone circles. A buddy of mine is currently on the Lewis, an island just off Scotland's western coast. Yesterday, she visited the famous Callanish stone circle. The 'Stonehenge of Scotland'. http://www.virtualheb.co.uk/callanish-stones-isle-of-lewis/

Say 'stone circle' and many people automatically think of the most famous example: Stonehenge. You may be surprised  to learn then, that the British Isles are positively dripping in stone circles and standing stones. Really. http://www.stone-circles.org.uk/stone/

Okay, some are perhaps not as grand as Stonehenge, but, in my book, these smaller sibling circles are less 'staged' and much more accessible. You can be out for a walk on the moors and literally stumble over them. When I lived in Sheffield, I 'discovered' this circle hiding in the bracken while on one of my favourite walks along Froggatt Edge. http://www.stone-circles.org.uk/stone/froggatt.htm

Admittedly, this circle is smaller than its bigger brothers and sisters, and the passage of time hasn't been kind. But, for me, it's much better than Stonehenge. It feels more...intimate somehow.
Why do lumps of old stone inspire me? I guess it's because they're such ancient structures, erected by the long-dead hands of the ancestors. Hauling stones is hard work, so these places must have been important. As you're no doubt aware, there are no written records to tell us the purpose of these circles. There are theories, of course, but no one really knows for sure. 
For that reason alone, I think stone circles are fascinating. You might think I'm weird, but I like to touch the stones and close my eyes, imagining the sounds of ancient voices carried on the wind. 
Laugh all you like, but do try it if you ever get the chance.

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