Tag Archives: Dol Tor

The Grey Ladies & Arbor Low

The Grey Ladies - White PeakOn Saturday we took a road trip out to the White Peak area of Derbyshire to try and find another of its megalithic treasures.

The Grey Ladies is a small monument near to the Nine Sisters and Dol Tor. It is located on private land a little distance from Youlgrave. Like the the Sisters and Dol Tor its proposed age is between 3000 & 4000 years. All that now remains are four large up right stones (so really a stone square). Previous investigations suggest there were once nine stones. Those remaining are a little over 6 foot tall and more imposing than the smaller stones of the Sisters and Dol Tor.

Standing high above the Ladies is the natural rock point of Robin Hoods Stride. From the top of this you can get a good 360 degree view of the local area.

I took a couple of rolls of 120 & 35mm film as well as the digital images below. I’ll post those separately at a later date.

The Grey Ladies - White Peak

As shown above, on the day we visited the land owner had decided to park is trailer in the middle of stones which didn’t afford the best overall views of the stones but I’ve tried to make the best of the situation.

The Grey Ladies - White Peak

The image above looking through two of the stones and up Towards Robin Hoods Stride.

The Grey Ladies - White Peak

The view below is a panorama from the top of Robin Hoods Stride looking down into the field where the Grey Ladies reside.

Robin Hoods Stride - Panorama

And the image below, standing on the incline leading up to Robin Hoods Stride.

Robin Hoods Stride

The informative Northern Antiquarian blog suggests the following about the area;

“One of the old names of this site was The Grey Ladies. This came from the well known tale found at other sites across the world, that some ladies were dancing here at some late hour and were turned into stone. A variation on this theme told how Robin Hood stood on the nearby rock outcrop to the south and pissed over the landscape here, “where seven maidens upon seeing it turned to stone.” In this case, Robin Hood replaced an older, forgotten account of a giant, who forged the landscape and the sites around Harthill Moor. and also another tale — whose origins and nature are allied to that of the petrification of the Grey Ladies — narrated with considerable sincerity by local people, was that the circle was a place where the little people gathered and where, at certain times of the year, “fairy music and the sight of hundreds of dancing shapes around the stones” would happen.”

Moving on from the Grey Ladies we went to Arbor Low. This is a large Stone Age henge high on the White Peak with dramatic views across the valley. The site is managed by English Heritage. this Northern Stonehenge has a deep circular ditch and high barrow, its also overlooked by a large Bronze Age buried mound known as Gib Hill. The wind is biting when standing on the high border mound but disappears when you walk down into the ditch. All of the stones now lie flat to the ground but its theorised that they would have been upright and greater in number when it was originally in use. Its a dramatic and impressive site.

Below is a panoramic view from the head mound, looking down across the valley below.

Arbor Low - Panorama

Two further images here, the second from inside the circle.

Arbor Low - Derbyshire

Arbor Low - Derbyshire

I’m constantly intrigued by the ancient history in the region just north of Nottingham, including the amazing Cresswell Crags which has some of the oldest Ice Age cave markings in the country. The combination of isolated and often unaffected landscape and the effort of our ancestors to produce works of mysterious significance and great permanence resonate with living history.

Below are some links to further information.

http://www.peakdistrictinformation.com/visits/arborlow.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbor_Low
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine_Ladies

https://adrian4acn.com/2013/06/16/creswell-crags/
https://adrian4acn.com/2013/05/06/the-nine-ladies-arbor-low/
https://adrian4acn.com/2014/03/23/dol-tor-stone-circle/

https://megalithix.wordpress.com

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Sea Song and other fictions….the album.

Sea Song Project

I can now report that my third musical venture has landed. ‘Sea Song and other fictions’ is available to buy and download from my Band Camp page. You can find it here.

Logo

I have written an epilog / postmortem /sleeve note for the project which has its own page here . I hope this goes some small way to explain the project.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

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The Lost Children of Dol Tor

Crop01-Dol Tor

The keen eyed will notice that this is my second reference to Dol Tor. I had been messing with Korg Gadet noises and DMX1 drum tracks around the same time that I took the road trip a couple of weeks ago. It made sense to connect them.

Crop02-Dol Tor

Within the song notion was an intention to use the flowing drone and tidal wave of Korg Gadget noise and a fast, almost drum’n’bass rhythm element. This came through with some degree of satisfaction fairly easily. The trip to Dol Tor bought to mind the connection between that ancient landscape appreciation of environment, natural space, transient sky and a tribal community spirit of absorption in the previous, joined with a not insignificant degree of hedonism and party spirit.

I’ve tried to blur the disparity of the two main sound elements in the track using some additional rhythmic elements and three pieces of guitar noise made with Ebow, one of which is reversed and echoed. It’s very much like drawing with two media – say charcoal & watercolour – and then using your thumb to soften the edges. In relation to some of the previous sound projects I’ve made it’s fairly sparse in tracks.

Crop03-Dol Tor
The final element which is only subtly present is a piece of ‘field recording’.
Recently Cousin Silas questioned the use of field recording or more accurately the definition of this. In many cases it might be a texture, a sonic layer with direct and illustrative reference, waves, thunder, rain, chattering voices. I would say there is a difference between a sound effect whether self sourced or researched, and a piece of content used for its particular connection to the piece. In this piece some where in the first and third minute there is a slight fluttering sound. Whilst it runs through the whole track it’s only barely noticeable but, it being the sound of the wind in leaves at the time the video was made – in that time and place – I hope it ties the audio to the theme, a voodoo hair in the hand of the shaman.

The video elements are made on iPhone using the iSupa8 app in HD. I’ve used all but two pieces of film and worked them chronologically. It’s come out as a kind of archeological scrapping of the site or a forensic investigation of events – a Will Graham mind palace of association – looking for clues and getting into the consciousness of the previous inhabitants.

 

The most recent users of the site most likely had a similar respect for the environment and expressed a connection to the architect ancestors. They have left small tokens and signs of their activity including crystals, Ojibwe, ribbons and the evidence of fire.

The pictures that accompany this are multi-exposed analog 120 film shots from a Holga camera. Using the constraint of the film I tried to form four specific sequences, joined by over exposure. I enjoy the high level of chance in this process and have yet to be disappointed by the out come.

 

 

Given a greater freedom of time to construct these pieces I might be more focused on the amount of content and material I create and more selective in the elements that I use. Every element is a roll of the dice and thus far I have been lucky with the numbers facing up.

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Dol Tor Stone Circle

Dol Tor 01

Not long after I did the Nines Ladies / Arbor Low trip last year I heard about another  site in the same area. Yesterday I managed to find it….eventually. It might be a plus that these things are not well sign posted as they remain fairly undisturbed. Dol Tor is fairly small, none of the stones are above knee height and it’s off the track.

Dol Tor 02

It’s suggested that it is anywhere between 3500 & 4000 years old and sits in a little wooded grove looking out over Birchover and the valley beyond. The neolithic builders of this and the Nine Ladies obviously had an eye for drama and mystery. It took me an hour or so and a couple of cold trails before I found it and whilst there were a lot of walkers and ramblers in the general area none passed by whilst I was taking pictures.

Dol Tor 03

The site had been attended recently by what I can surmise were new agers. Little tokens and knitted wind catchers hang from the trees and there was recently a fire in the centre of the circle. The bones of small animals can be found in the recently dug earth on the out skirts. I quite like the idea that some people try to keep sites special and use them in ceremonial ways.

Dol Tor 04 Panorama

Below are a set of black & white pictures of some evidence of recent activity. I also took some video of this which will most likely appear in the next music video.

Dol Tor - Birchover

Dol Tor - Wind Catcher

Dol Tor - Bones in the Earth

I haven’t found much information about the site but did uncover the following on an achieved web page. Resurrected here….

“If the Nine Ladies is a Bronze Age burial circle with the large stone tradition still surviving, then the Six Stones, near the Andle Stone is also a survival of the same tradition, but very much further removed. We have already noted Bateman’s afternoon excavation in 1852. He says, “On passing over the brow of the hill, near the Andle Stone, we noticed a small circle of six stones, four of which retained their upright position, whilst two were prostrate, the diameter being about twenty feet.” After scratching with their pocket-knives they borrowed a spade and cleared a considerable space in the centre where had been dug for the reception of three or four cinerary urns and as many incense cups. This site having been forgotten and overgrown with heather was rediscovered and completely excavated in 1932 and 1933.

Dol Tor - Crystal Charm

The four standing stones are less than three feet in height but the two fallen stones would have been higher than this. There is no doubt that they have been upright, as their bases, which are pointed, are partly embedded in the ground. It is difficult to say whether the bases were naturally shaped to a point or purposefully fashioned that way. It seems clear that they gradually fell because their bases were not sufficiently deep in the ground. This fact led me to suppose that they were intended to be higher than the remaining four. If so they might show another interesting survival of the old megalithic traditions. The trilithons at Stonehenge slope upwards in stages in this way. With the object of testing this supposition I visited the Nine Ladies and it is certainly possible to imagine that they also show the same slope from one side of the circle to the other. There might even be some connection between this idea and the slope in the long barrows in T13. Furthermore the open end of the horseshoe in the trilithons is very similar to the break or opening one sees in barrows, although these openings are often explained as symbolising entrances or exits like the doorways in hut circles.

The Doll Tor circle as it stands now, completely uncovered, shows that the six standing stones were each joined into one circumference by flat stones, a fact which further increases the similarity between the stone circle and the burial mounds. The figure thus formed on the plan is not circular but oval.”

Dol Tor - Across the Valley

If you have read this far you deserve to be able to find this little gem. The easiest way is to drive up through Birchover in the direction of Stanton-In-Peak. Just after the village there is road off to the left sign posted Stanton-In-Peak. A few hundred yards along on the right is a lay-by and a signed and gated entrance to Stanton Moor. If you carry on for about 50 yards, looking over to the left and down into the valley there is a large natural stone in a field. This is the Andle Stone. Walk down across the field passing the stone on the left. Past the stone through the first field and go through the gap in the stone wall. In the bottom left of the second field is a rusted gate. Jump the gate and follow the path down the hill on the left side of the wall with the open valley on your right. A little way down through the tress there is a small English Heritage sign and Dol Tor is just behind this.

Dol Tor 06

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