Saturday, 5 February 2011

Megalithic Monday: Oddendale Stone Circle II

The circle is to the south of the hamlet, beyond a section of raised limestone pavement. The moor is scattered with glacial erratics, some of which are massive blocks of Shap granite weighing many tones. Approaching from the north the circle is hidden, concealed by the grass and the lie of the land but one learns to read the landscape and because Oddendale’s near neighbours are situated on the crest of a ridge of high ground with vast views in all directions I walked in that direction and found the stones, like scattered jewels, exactly where I thought they would be.
Oddendale is a concentric stone circle, with an outer ring of 34 stones measuring 30 metres in diameter. The inner circle forms a kerb around a low mound of approximately 7 metres in diameter. Outside the circle to the north there is another smaller structure, possibly another circle of 11 stones. Just like Gamelands to the south this is a large, imposing circle built with heavy stones that would have required considerable skill and energy to arrange, something that tells us much of the social structure of the people who celebrated this place. From this high ridge there are clear, unobstructed (except for the modern spruce plantations) views to the High Places all around – including the cairn at Haberwain on the northern horizon. From here I could see the Howgills, the fells above Shap, the west wall of the Pennines and even the pass that leads east over the hills to Stainmore and the valleys of the rivers Tees and Greta.

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