European Escapades

Carnac – The Land of Stones




lines of Menhirs running into the distance One of the many lines of Menhirs running into the distance in Carnac.

Well we moved along the southern coast of Brittany to a small town to see a museum and some stones, not the most interesting thing in the world I hear you say. I have plenty in my back garden already to look at. However as these stones happen to stretch for a number of kilometres and are rather large to boot, they are a little more interesting. Frances suggests that it makes Stonehenge look like a small provincial garden shed in comparison. Placed around 3300BC, but some may date to as old as 4500 BC, Carnac’s three alignments of over three thousand ‘menhirs’ form the largest concentration of standing stones in the world.

The largest stones, around four metres high, are at the wider, western end of the formations; the stones then become as small as 0.6 metres high along the length of the alignment before growing in height again toward the extreme eastern end. Each stone weathered and aged, their stark individuality in contrast to the aspect of orderly lines, stretching away into the distance. Various Dolmens are scattered within this area to add to the mysticism and spiritual stillness that surrounds you. We headed to the museum in Carnac to get a feel for the history of the place and were happy to discover that they had multilingual guides that you could use as you walked around the exhibits, explaining some of the history of the area and Excavation and studies that have been carried out. We were lucky enough to be able to get face to face with the stones as we wandered in awe though the ancient wonder, looking down the rows and feeling small and insignificant against the backdrop we were walking through. How much manpower and labour it must have taken to erect just one of the stones, even though we can conjecture and understand how it may have been done, is still mind blowing. Having a dolmen created on top of a set of standing stones, by the building of a slope of earth up to surround the standing stones with the space between also filled, and then to place the capstone over these, only then to excavate by hand the dirt from underneath the stones to create the final structure must have taken ages. (This is the way the construction was shown in the museum.) Don’t forget that they had to get the capstone there from the quarry in the first place.

Halfway through a haircut when the clippers gave out Halfway through a haircut when the clippers gave out

It was such a beautiful site and because we had the car park and area to ourselves we decided that rather than move onto or back to a campsite we would stay and wild camp here for the night. We had food and enough water for the night. So with this decided; we picked our spot and waited for evening to come. It was at this point that I thought I might cut my hair, which was beginning to get a bit long. I had the electric hair clippers and I had recharged them before we left the last campsite and it seemed a nice evening to sit outside and do the deed. So clippers in hand and shirt off I sat on a large rock and started shaving. It was about halfway through that I noticed the clippers were struggling and that they seemed to be getting slower and slower. Just over halfway through the cut and they packed up altogether, seems the 40 min charge I had expected was only a 12 min charge. No problem, go recharge and we can be off again… Oh I forgot we were wild camping and so the recharge would have to wait until the next campsite with electricity. So half a haircut later, we cooked and ate dinner with the stones as our only company, watching the sun set as it created red streaks across the sky, adding to the spectacle and mystery of the stones. If you are going to wild camp then this was perfect place to get back to nature and try and put yourselves in the mindset of our ancestors and how they would have lived in this wonderful wild environment. One of the most special places we could have found to stay for the night…..

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 25th, 2010 at 4:09 pm and is filed under Travel Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Carnac – The Land of Stones”

  1. Andrewww Says:

    April 13th, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Thats a good look steve!!

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