It’s supposed to be getting cold over the next day or 2 so I thought I’d dig out a photo of when it was really cold a few years back. Whilst it might look like a light sprinkling of snow to some of you this is West Cornwall where it snows about as often as in Jamaica. Well, OK maybe a little more, but not very often.
I had a fantastic time this day. Whilst the whole of Cornwall was paralysed I took the opportunity to jump in the car and take some photos. I was driving up lanes where the snow was fresh. It was amazing just being able to park the car in the middle of the road and get out!
Anyway, this is Lanyon Quoit near Penzance. It’s one of the region’s best known megalithic sites and is highly photogenic. In the background is the engine house at Bosilicack – I’m sure there’s some juxtaposition of ancient and, erm, quite old going on here…
Men-an-Tol translates rather unimaginatively as holed stone. There is no doubt that it is a stone and that it does have a hole in it. What is in doubt is the arrangement of the three stones. It is believed, by experts, that this is not the original arrangement which is unfortunate as I think it looks pretty good the way it is!
As you’d expect there are a few myths and legends attached to this place. I particularly like the healing properties attributed to the stones. The one I remember is crawling through the hole is an effective cure for ‘scroffulous taint’! I’m imagining the reason I have never heard of this ailment is because it has been all but eradicated by the restorative powers of Men-an-Tol!
I like this photo largely because of the sky the aircraft con trail is going just the right direction. It appears lots of other people do too, hence the watermark. This shot crops up in lots of places it isn’t supposed too.
The stone is located on the West Cornwall Moors just above Madron, near Penzance and I would highly recommend crawling through the hole.
Located on the southern side of Bodmin Moor is the biggest, and best preserved of all of Cornwall’s quoits – Trethevy Quoit.In this photo you can clearly see the hole cut into the capstone letting the sunlight through. The purpose of this hole is not certain, although it is suggested to have had some astronomical use. Whatever the use it must have taken significant effort in the days before power tools and tungsten carbide drill bits!
Quoits of this kind are also known as portal dolmens, portal refers to the entrances and a dolmen is a burial chamber. This dolmen dates back to the Stone Age and must have been built for someone of great importance. What we see today is would have been buried under a mound of earth when it was constructed, leaving just a stone chamber.
Trethevy Quoit is an unimaginable feat of engineering. The enormous capstone alone weighs several tons and placing it on top of the other stones would have taken considerable manpower.
At the time of writing there are concerns over the site as horses have been allowed to graze the field. This has not only churned up the field and grass around the monument but could eventually, if left unchecked cause structural damage.