Northumberland stone circle
Walking along the well trodden, muddy footpath through the farm at Duddo, the sky produced marshmallow cloud formations unlike any I have ever seen before. In fact the sky in Northumberland left a lasting impression on me. It was always hanging low and omnipresent letting me feel a subtle weight from above at all times. There was something very comforting about the Northumberland sky, although people seemed to complain about the lack of light. I liked it.
One has to cross a couple of fields to get to the 4000 year old stone circle on the hill, sometimes refered to as the Stonehenge of the North. From the windswept path the stones looked big, but they were actually not much taller than a human being, the tallest at 2.3 meters high, and the diameter of the circle no more than 10 meters.
The first stone that caught my attention was the one facing the path. I couldn't help but seeing a face embedded in it, probably shaped by the elements beating on the rock over the many many years it has been standing there. There was a gentleness about it which invited feeling a closeness to what seemed like a living being as I watched it's quality in the changing light. I walked around the stones - 5 big sandstones with an empty space for a sixth, though excavations reveal there was also a seventh stone. There was a sense of intimacy.
The stones were alive with a story, and though the wind was howling at my ears, I could hear the soft presence of this story. It was about a promise between the land and the people. A promise made a long time ago and forged into memory within the space of the circle. A very high elemental presence at the site keeps the bonds with the human world alive with much gentleness and infinite respect. It felt a bit surreal seeing as the stones stood like an island in a sea of heavily farmed land.
Interestingly there is a bid to erect a wind turbine on this land near the stone circle and decision will be made in the next few months about it. You can read more about it here: http://www.thejournal.co.uk/north-east-analysis/analysis-news/minister-decide-northumberland-duddo-stone-8286689