Location: Glastonbury, Somerset/England
Elevation: 518 feet
Note: For hiking enthusiasts the experience of moving through a chosen landscape is joyfully justified. The spaces people choose to traverse often reveal something relevant to their personal stories and dreams. I met a woman last Summer in Baxter State Park, Maine, who, after giving me a ride back to camp with her husband in a pick-up-truck from the edge of a gorgeous old-growth forest, pointed straight at Mount Katahdin in the distance and said: “Now there’s the most beautiful view in the whole wide world!”(image/right) And that’s really all it takes; a good story, or an enthusiastic sentiment, and suddenly you’re hooked, and soon you find yourself making your way to a trail full of wonders foretold by others. I hiked to the peak of Katahdin the very next day, and it was truly beautiful. There are few trails that contain more of this type of impetus than Celtic ones. They encompass all the qualities that persuade hikers, with epic natural beauty, and an even more epic mythical history. The place featured in the first image above is not a physically domineering expression, like Mount Katahdin, or Mount Snowdon in Wales, but in terms of legends it is absolutely massive. Any hiker passing through Somerset County in England would be totally remiss if they didn’t stop to take this beautiful short hike to the top of Glastonbury Tor, otherwise known as Avalon.
Avalon is the English equivalent of Israel’s Mount Zion. This is a Celtic holy hill which was once a zenith for spiritual practices dating back to the Druids, extending into the Arthurian Legend, and dwindling into the Dark Ages to Medieval times. It is believed that Avalon was once surrounded by water, like many sites in England once were, making it an island. This ecological consideration legitimizes the history of the hill, as scientists do see signs that it was once surrounded by water perhaps 1700 years ago, or more. The brilliant rolling countryside we now see from Avalon, was once a watery stillness that provided protection to its mystics. It remains a brilliant vista to this day. It is also believed that King Arthur was buried here after his epic battle with Mordred, and was ultimately carried across the water by an angelic vessel, laying Arthur to rest at Avalon until the future merited his prophetic return. The Hill of Tara in Ireland (image/below) has similar stories of sanctified kings that are buried in the pristine hills within its vicinity. These kings will one day return when needed in the late future, according to the legend. This lends tangible historical relevance to the Arthur Legend, a connection of the use of grand hillsides for the burials of kings, and prophecies of future return in Ireland. There’s a pattern there, and it must have a source. And this is what anthropologists are attempting to find, sources. How much of these beautiful stories are based in reality is for us to discover. The french poet Thomas Malory is responsible for a great deal of the comprehensive Arthur Legend, which he wrote in the early 1400’s as one of the most concise efforts to consolidate the Celtic folktales of England, Ireland, and France. The word-of-mouth myths that Malory utilized are the real priceless items. These stories were so numerous and similar that it made the myths possible, and it seems likely that there is an origin where the very real figures existed once to inspire the entire culture to embrace these themes. During the Saxon incursion of England after the Roman withdrawal around 400 C.E, a wave of Germanic people came from the continent and swept across south-eastern England. Historians have discovered a specific line about halfway into England, where German burials and cultural objects absolutely stop, and English/Celtic items remain. We can deduce historically that there certainly was a leader who stopped the Saxons dead in their tracks. It would have taken incredible conviction, resources, and sacrifice to blatantly stop an incursion, and interestingly enough there just happens to be a legend of a king who did this precise thing, Arthur. This qualifies Avalon, and the entire Glastonbury area as a sacred place on every possible level.
Trail: There are a few approaches to the minor peak of 518 feet. You can start from the entrance way coming from the Glastonbury side, at Wellhouse Lane. Simply cross the street and pass the gate to head up the hill. This is near ‘Chalice Well’, a holy site related to the overall scene.
A secondary, less ‘touristy’ approach, is to the south-east at the end of Ashwell Lane (above image), where there are countryside homes, horses, and ponies grazing in the fields. You can park your car on the side of the road and take the hedge covered path to the second gate.It is at the Ashwell Gate that you pick-up the trail and get your first glimpse of this massive hillside. There is something about it that doesn’t seem natural, as if it is layered beneath by massive ridges which can be seen with the naked eye from a distance. Anthropologists believe that a Celtic hill-fort most certainly rests beneath the surface, among other things. The incline is about 60 degrees, making the approach of any enemies in ancient times almost futile. The hill also glows with a particular type of moss that the oldest sites seem to sponsor throughout the Celtic world. Follow the trail to the south westerly lane that climbs around towards St. Michael’s Tower at the peak. While climbing you may see people invoking Celtic ‘energies’ in the Tower, lifting their arms in praise of the Cardinal Directions and energy-lines, better known as ‘ley lines’, on which Avalon sits.As you climb you will feel that there is certainly something strange going on beneath your feet. It’s like walking on a giant earthen drum. If you stomp the soil in certain places a hollow reverberation can be felt. This is the mysterious feeling that you can only experience actually hiking here, not looking at images. The point is to try to get there. After hiking about 400 feet up a finely crafted pathway, you can look back at the beautiful medieval village of Glastonbury. The hills in the distance are like glowing pastures in the clouds, giving us a glimpse of the security the ancients must have felt from the top of this amazing ‘Tor’. At the top is St. Michael’s Tower, which stands like a stone-antenna sponsoring a 360 degree view of England. There is a specific spot where it is believed the energy of all the directions culminate. It is marked with a circular-stone-step where you can stand and appreciate the moment. This is certainly a place to just plop down, relax, and wonder. The southerly view looking back on Glastonbury from St. Michael’s Tower is nothing less than a ‘storybook’ vision. It can only enhance a hikers experience and appreciation to reach the short peak at Avalon, otherwise known as Glastonbury Tor. Glastonbury Abbey is in the distance below, which is a venerable cultural center with historic substance all its own, intrinsically related to Avalon. This is a different type of adventure for a ‘veteran hiker’. Here the goal is to accomplish a greater appreciation for the landscape itself, to feel a historic precipice, to absorb the energy of a protected sacred place. If you ingest this feeling you may very well develop a type of ‘sixth sense’ that you can recall at need in the forests and mountains of other places, and perhaps discover something sacred on your own. Avalon is literally part of the essence of everything “Once upon a Time”, and what could be better to seek and find?
Location: Albany, New Hampshire/USA
Note: At the southern edge of The White Mountain National Forest of New Hampshire, sits the rocky, Pine-covered-peak of Mount Chocorua. The White Mountains are part of the grand Appalachian Trail, which runs 1500 miles south, all the way to Mount Springer in Georgia. About 50 miles directly north of Chocorua is the largest and most famous of the White Mountains, Mount Washington, standing at 6,289 ft. In the 50 miles between Chocorua and Washington are nearly a dozen seemingly animated peaks, all of which can be seen from a stellar vista at the top of Mount Chocorua, some 3,478 ft high.
Trail: Starting out, take Rt 16 to Moulton Drive in New Hampshire, which is a short length dirt road located behind an old antique store. Moulton Drive takes you to the Car Park for ‘Piper Trail’, the best approach at Chocorua Mountain. Start as early as you can, and bring plenty of water, New Hampshire in the Summer can be hot and humid. It is about 3.5 miles to the peak, so be ready for a solid seven mile hike, including a challenging rocky incline to get above the treeline.
At the beginning of Piper Trail you are enveloped by tall White-Pines, rusty colored Red Spruces, Ash, and Balsam trees. Further up the trail, bright Birch groves appear like miniature pillars protesting the hazy green shimmering of millions of leaves. After about a mile, you will cross the Chocorua River, and begin the slight elevation. This slight incline runs along a pristine forest ledge which carries a cool breeze through the shade. As you continue you will come across free-sitting-boulders beside the trail, which are mingled with the vast hedges running straight up the mountain. These glades continue northeast and west, rolling for 60 protected miles that contains Black Bears, Caribou, and White Tail Deer. Like so many of the trails in New England, rocky staircases which are cut out of the mountain will begin to appear. At the base of many of these carved stairs there are triangular stones often marking the trail. It is a phenomenon that is found all throughout New England.
Here are three 8 foot tall equilateral-triangle megaliths at Five Ponds Loop Trail in Baxter State Forest in Maine, in the shadow of Mount Katahdin. It’s as if the overgrowth on the stones knows its not supposed to grow on these flat cut surfaces. The front side of these stones are absolutely smooth, with a face cut like a knife through cake, while the back sides are arched and rounded. A profile view of the triangle stones is in the far left image. See how the hedge inundates the back, but the face is not touched? And these three stones are identical, lining the pathway like signs on a highway. The chances of this are gastronomical. If I had not hiked almost every trail in Massachusetts and seen the triangular phenomenon for myself, I would have a hard time believing it, but time and time again it shows up, and is becoming impossible to deny. This “cut-face” style is very much like certain types of Celtic standing stones in Glenveagh National Park in Ireland, and Watatic Mountain in Massachusetts, which have stones with smoothly cut faces, supported by large rounded rears. Here is a look at one of the diamond shape “cut-face” stones at Glenveagh, with a profile view, and the frontal view (white stone below). I believe these are anthropological stones, cultural statements, not random. The meaning of the triangle requires more
explanation, and will be explored in a separate post. Continuing on at Mount Chocorua, the small triangle will mark your first stone staircase. As you begin to climb, Chipmunks and Squirrels scatter in every direction, storing acorns under the warm stones.
Ascending this stair you will begin to come across ‘signature cross sections’, or ‘X’s’, that also appear mysteriously at trails throughout New England. Here is a cross section along the trail at Chocorua on the left, and a cross section at Mount Watatic on the right.
Further up “Piper Trail”, (as if this isn’t strange enough) is another ‘cross section’, but one-quarter portion of its total figure has been cut out, and moved several feet down the trail, like a giant puzzle piece. This is clearly a stylized craftsmanship, like fitted blocks.
The stairway has many “signature” type stones, indicating that someone is leaving a stylized mark on this pathway. After several stairways you will come to the large boulder-porches that begin to break the treeline.The mid-portion of this hike is a trek on boulder-porches and tight pathways. The view becomes beautiful, looking south into Massachusetts and the river-valley below. The ever rolling aspect of these mountains is more clearly revealed, with a slightly blue hue on the peaks that mingle with the sky in the peripheral distance. Turning your attention towards the peak, you will reach a ‘crossroad’ of choices in a glade just before the final ascent. There is a wooden sign that points to the pathway leading north, further into the forest, and an arrow pointing left, to the peak. As you follow the Peak Trail sign you will arrive at a stunning boulder-ledge that mingles with White Pines, running roughly 150 steep yards, straight to the peak. There is a singular massive boulder that is set in place in a distinctly different way from the others, with several incised lines around its sides sitting just before the final ledge. This may very well be a type of Dolmen. Continuing beyond this mysterious stone you will arrive at the top. Take your time here, and enjoy the cool crosswind along with a spectacular view. White Mountain National Forest is unveiled.The peak of Chocorua is a 360 degree porch, and it is also a dragonfly haven! There is a standard official mountain-marker at the highest point if you wish to touch it, as many hikers do to complete their hike. The clouds roll cumulus into the states beyond, and the sun is warm on the boulders of the peak at Mount Chocorua. Climbing this mountain is absolutely a significant accomplishment. I have found many Celtic mountains to be less challenging than this White Mountain gem. New Hampshire is a wonderful place, with a vast natural habitat well worth exploring. It is comparable to places like The Mourn Mountain Range in Ireland, and The Glenveagh Mountains in north Ireland. If you give the White Mountains a chance you could very well fall in love with the classic New Hampshire countryside. Find your way, and go strong.
Location: Llanberis/Mount Snowdon/Wales
Note: Before diving into the recreational richness of the trails in the heart of Wales, some things should be understood about the beauty of the culture in this realm. The Welsh people practice a renowned tradition of storytelling and singing that dates back to its mythical beginnings, to the very roots of the Celtic tradition. The regional landscape is pure inspiration. The earliest stories of this ancient region survive in what is known as the ‘Mabinogion’, a collection of epics and poems that is essentially a glimpse into the Celtic universe that existed in Pagan-era folk tales. The most popular stories include the quests of ‘Culhwch and Olwen’, considered to be the oldest of the ‘Arthurian’ related stories. Additional tales of King Arthur battling giants at the peak of Mount Snowdon, as well as hundreds of interwoven variations on the myths exist in the annuls of Welsh storytelling. In the pubs and halls of the country-folk here, these stories, and many others, are often sung, rather than simply spoken. These hallowed stories come right out of antiquity, and carry the Celtic-to-Christian Legend of King Arthur into Medieval times. The Welsh people, after defending the Celtic tradition in their heartland for generations, would eventually find themselves at odds with their closest relatives, the English. What a surprise. The Medieval Welsh peoples adamantly resisted the English incursion, which appeared most forcefully under King Edward the 1st, during the 13th Century. What are known as the Edwardian Era Garrison Castles were constructed to occupy Wales with an authoritative military presence. These castles are imposing works of scale and engineering for their time, and remain standing to this day, dotting the Welsh boarder. And yet Wales survived the incursion and remained its own proud nation. Modern Wales became a rustic industrial place, with a hard working mining community which delved for valuable resources of coal and various stones, very much like West Virginians of coal mining country in North America. These are wonderful and hard working people that have remained connected to their landscape and traditions, which brings us to the brilliance of the Welsh countryside and trails.
If the Celtic world were to declare a ‘Holy Land’, Snowdonia National Park would certainly be it. The crown jewel of this region, which is better known simply as Snowdonia, is the majestic Mount Snowdon, the highest peak south of the Scottish Highlands at 3,560 feet. Alternate peaks such as Ben Nevis, Crib Goch, and Tryfan, make up what is known as the Snowdon Range. The village of Betws Y Coed, which is about 12 miles to the east of Mount Snowdon, is a popular jumping-off point for hikers at the convergence of two rocky river ways, with several scenic trails to choose from. On the south-eastern edge of the Ben Nevis and Snowdon lowlands, about 10 miles from Mount Snowdon’s peak, is the scenic long-trail known as Pen Y Pass (image below), which begins from a designated car park off the A4086 road, and has a fantastic roadside view of rivers cutting the valley and massive cliffs before arriving at the trail head. The Pen Y Pass trail itself winds beautifully through several high passes and waterfalls running all the way up to Snowdon’s Peak. (Betws Y Coed and Pen Y Pass are both posted on Stonestrider.com if you want to take a closer look). About 4 miles north of Snowden’s peak is the most popular and direct trail for making the climb, which begins out of the gorgeous Medieval town of Llanberis.
Llanberis: Nestled in the surreal heights of Llanberis, between Caernarfon Pass and Snowdonia, is Dolbadarn Castle, a 13th century circular fortification overlooking the valley, and Lyn Peris lake. The history associated with this particular castle is more ‘Game of Thrones’, than ‘Game of Thrones’. History records the acts of a regional prince who locked his older brother in this tower for over thirty years in order to keep him from inheriting his rightful title and power over the region. The younger brother was successful in his suppression of his older brother’s rightful claim over the land, and he never escaped the Castle grounds. I guess if you’re going to be imprisoned somewhere for 30 years, this would be the best spot. It’s breathtaking, especially in the July sunlight. Incredible. The preserved woods to the immediate west of the Doldabarn have fantastic trails running into some absolutely beautiful glades. In glens like these it is clear the that trees are not at odds with each other in any way. At the edge of these woods are old-growth trees with classically haunting curvatures and limbs. It was impossible for me not to stand and look back at Dolbadarn Castle from the edge of this small forest, imagining knights and archers coming and going, guarding the imprisoned prince at the orders of his diabolical brother so long ago. I would like to make a personal note at this point. At times, when I find myself in a place like this, with several eras converging in one surreal landscape, a real feeling of wonder can take over. At these times I enjoy stomping on the roots of the old-growth trees with my boots as a type of celebration, sort of like pinching myself to make sure I’m actually there. At the highest point in these woods is a standing stone, and several free sitting boulders that are reminiscent of several megaliths in Lynn Woods Reserve in Massachusetts. What could be a better starting point for the approach to the peak of Snowdon? From llanberis you can take a main trail that follows the route of a small passenger train that carries people who do not wish to walk the four miles to the peak. Along this simple trail are waterfalls and grand views of westerly peaks of the Llanberis mountainsides. Alternate trails emerge into forests glades to the east, with the direct southerly route to the peak inclining continually before you. Around the 2 mile mark up this trail the views become epic. After 3 miles, the rocky element of the higher elevation trail emerges, and the wind becomes a constant. Be prepared on this hike with under-armor to keep you warm, boots with a steel tip if possible, and a windbreaker, the weather in Wales can change quickly. There are several vistas and places to rest along the way. The wide-open feel of the valley below is inspiring. Celtic landscapes often have less trees than other parts of the world, and the effect is breathtaking. You simply feel that you can see everything. On the particular day of my excursion I was not fortunate enough to get a clear view from the peak. Just like Mount Sinai was said to be enveloped with a smoky firmament, Mount Snowdon at its peak was no less dramatic, being covered completely in a massive halo of cloud and mist. The trail heights are filled with striking cambrian rock ledges of black and green, against a grey universe of cloud cover. The actual peak of Snowdon feels like the crosswind-capitol of the entire Celtic world, knocking you off balance and pushing you down if you;re not careful. I highly recommend a strategic crawl on the top ledge if you wish to finally touch the emblem reading 3560 feet at the peak. Make your way down the uppermost ledge in the same way, or a strong gust could easily send you off the mountain, entirely. These are the types of moments that hikers live for, getting to places where the elements make you realize just how precious your life really is.
The trails at Mount Snowdon evoke our dreamiest visions of knights on quests, giants strolling the landscape, and King Arthur climbing climbing to the peak, perhaps to see the entirety of the Kingdom he so endeared. At the peak there is a small historic center with records of the myths about the mountain and various events that took place here. There is a whimsical image encased in the “myth” section of the center which I photographed, of a giant that is said to have once dominated this landscape, until King Arthur himself challenged him, and brought him down. This is very much like David and Goliath in the Bible, and most likely during the same era. I can’t help but feel that there is something more to these stories than just myth, as I continue to explore and find engineered megaliths in the deep forests of the world. Of course, for this moment, Mount Snowdon itself is the event here. The Celtic landscape is a vision of green, continually rolling into the ocean, and dominating every hill and mountain. Ireland is to the West, England to the South, and Scotland beyond, to the north. This is the literal heart of the Celtic world, in every possibly way. If you find your way there, the sacred part will find you. Best of luck as you go.
Note: The Heath Altar is one of the best kept Celtic secrets I’ve seen to date, and it’s in Western Massachusetts, of all places. Unfortunately it is on a private residential farmstead that is not in any way welcoming, which is disappointing because every megalithic site in Ireland is on a private farmstead, but Irish farmers almost never restrict hikers intent on finding sacred sites located in their fields. Sadly, the signs on the road approaching the Heath Altar vista read: “Trespassers will be arrested, or shot.” Flatly, this is an unfortunate indicator about American attitudes these days. I was extremely frustrated to finally arrive at this beautiful area in Heath, only to find ‘KEEP OUT’ signs, but I did not allow this to stop me from getting to the Altar. It is extremely rare that I would write about, or encourage hiking in a place that you could get arrested or harmed, but it is important to me that people see this incredible Altar from it’s intended intimacy. It was worth risk for the images achieved. I humbly believe that these are the best pictures ever released of this gorgeous sacred site. This particular area of central/northern Massachusetts, on the boarder of Vermont, is one of the fairest countrysides one could hope to discover, especially in the season of peak Autumn, which is when I went. Now people have a chance to see, up close, for most likely the first time, a full Celtic altar, but in New England. The Town of Heath: The rustic countryside on the boarder of Vermont and central Massachusetts, on the northeastern coast of the U.S, is as picturesque as any Celtic scene. Small mountains, rocky hills, Pines, Birches, and Hemlocks, all dot the landscape. The four classic seasons flux distinctly in this part of the world, with a most captivating Autumn. The Green Mountains of Vermont are 15 miles northwest of Heath, along with state preserved trails at Mount Watatic, Monument Mountain, Savoy Falls, and Bears Den, all within an hour of here (and featured on this site). These woods have inspired tales and fables from the ancient tribes like the Mohegan and Wampanog, who inhabited this region while the Celts and Picti inhabited Ireland, England, and Scotland. One of the most amazing commonalities between New England and Celtic places are the hilltop alters such as the haunting Heath Altar Stones. Along the streams approaching the area in Heath are Celtic looking irrigation walls that provide ‘pivots’ in the landscape for the stream to flow by. This 12 foot high, and beautifully leveled, work of irrigation is only 4 miles from the Heath Altar, adding to the mystique of the overall area.The dry rocky plateau on which this Altar sits radiates hallowed vibrations. These are among the oldest cultural structures on earth. There is a loose symmetry to the scene, with a bed of flat granite at the highest point of the broad hill, guarded at each of it’s four corners by deeply incised, and notched, standing stones. The standing stones here are not flimsy, as depicted in most old articles. These are broad and intimidating megaliths, which can be seen here against the scale of a lovely human being amidst the fixtures. This is the photographic justice this site demands, capturing the grandeur of the overall area as well, not obscure images from old newspaper articles or desperately zoomed photos from 100 yards away from fearful on-lookers. Everything about this place says “Celtic Altar”, not “colonial farmer’s pet project”, which is what many writers have guessed is the meaning of these stones. Irish farmers did not claim the Irish altars. They would think it disrespectful and inviting a curse to even imply such a thing. Yet in the United States, the idea of colonials having possibly built these megaliths is often mentioned. It is infuriating, and totally irresponsible. Nothing about this area says ‘colonial’. The standing stones are each about 6 feet in height, and a single foot in width. Just beyond the Altar is a fifth standing stone that serves as a kind of head-stone. The ‘stone table’ may have served to support a bonfire, or perhaps it was more of a literal ‘large table’, used for sacrificial rites, or skinning hunted game. Whatever happened at this spot, the builders of this place made it distinct, so it is clear that this was considered a sacred place.Radiating out away from the Altar are smaller standing stones.
Smaller Standing Stones near by: Here is look at a smaller white marble, 3 feet tall standing stone, almost 50 yards from the top of the hill. Stones like this may have served as a boundary, or warning stone, for others approaching the Alter. It is obvious that this particular stone was also chosen for its beauty. In another area away from the Altar site, possibly fixed to the northerly cardinal direction, sits another standing stone deeply set into the ground, and somewhat tilted. This one looks to have been about 8 feet long, although only about 3 feet is above ground, with a darker colored rock face pointing to Vermont just beyond.Facing to the south is another amazing standing stone that has a 45 degree angular cut at the ‘arrowhead top’, standing roughly three feet high, and six inches thick. This particular type of stone can be found in other parts of New England as well, supporting the idea that it is a singular megalithic culture that occupied this natural space. Pictured on the right is a massive 45 degree angle New England standing stone with the same dimensions as the Heath standing stone below. The area the Heath stone is directing our attention towards is fantastic. The trees here are stunning at this time of year. Notice also that even the flat granite stones along the ground seem to have been leveled and cut on their sides. The amount of cultural stonework happening here gives the area a type of energy, perhaps like at the Hill of Tara in Ireland, or at the Avebury stone circle. The feeling is just overwhelming that someone, a very long time ago, loved this place enough to mark it out in amazingly playful ways with massive stones.Quartz stones and classic Celtic stone-linings: The energy-storing and transferring properties of quartz are well known. On this rocky plateau sits one of the most abundant quartz rock faces in all New England. The surreal vision it creates against the dry red brush is striking, looking almost like snow. Quartz boulders are scattered throughout the area. It would make sense that if this place was designed as a kind of ‘energy center’,with the quartz absorbing energy from the Sun. This piece below looks to weigh at least half a ton, set proudly above a cut granite slab. It’s as if megalithic anthropological sites are revealing a knowledge of the properties of stones. If this is true, then this entire area is a type of energy center. Further to the north are classic Celtic linings running through the area. These can be found in Cavan Burren National Park in a very similar style, connecting peaks from hill top to hill top. There are enough of these linings in New England to circle the earth six times, with probably just as many in Ireland and England. New England, somehow, is absolutely Celtic: There are beautiful subtleties to understand about this place. The elevation of the rocky hill; the distance to the tree’s below to the altar in the high clearing; and the fauna of the tall reeds mingling with the stones looking exactly like hilltops in the heart of Ireland. Take a look at the overall similarity between this hill in Heath, and the hill top above Kinnitty Forest in Ireland, where stone-linings and irrigation walls exist in the landscape as well. It’s as if the landscapes are paternal twins, with similar scaling in the features, with only different colors to distinguish them. The elevations and patterns of sacred Neolithic places are similar because it was a similar culture that was choosing them, valuing the exact same things.Here is the hilltop at Heath.Here is the hilltop at Kinnitty
Summary: Look at all these features at Heath. It’s overwhelming, and obviously a cultural center. Once upon a time these advantageous vistas were chosen by a Celtic culture, both in Ireland and New England. They were absolutely of the same mind, as to what areas were worth inhabiting. The similarity of these chosen areas, the elevations and circumference of the rocky clearings, the distance to running streams, the types of stone being utilized, the megaliths themselves, all reveal compelling evidence towards a related culture, both in the American northeast and the ancient Irish hills. The Heath Altar Stones are a direct anthropological connection to the Celtic world, and yet this information is considered ‘alternative‘. It’s absurd when seen first hand, what the academics are ignoring. There is an energy and beauty in central Massachusetts that is on-par with any of the preserved pastoral natural spaces of the Celtic world. All it takes is an exploratory hike in the forests and rocky hills of Heath, and you will see and feel it for yourself. And that is the more important point, to see it, and feel it for yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you what something is before analyzing it for yourself, or it won’t be long before not one of your ideas will actually be your own. When you find a sacred place, it reveals the sacred potential in you. Go for it.
Note: During the winter of 2014 in New England, 107.6 inches of snow fell around Boston. An Arctic weather system blasted the entire east coast of the United States for six months straight. Temperatures dropped to an average of 30 degrees, and many times as low as -14. Massachusetts declared a state of emergency. Public transportation and public schools were closed. Piles of snow reached 15 feet high on every street corner, and the snow was level with the windows. It was grey and dark everyday. It was a full Arctic winter. Take a look at my home in this picture. Finding things to do inside became a real challenge. Reading is healthy but can get boring after a few hours each evening. Going on-line is fun, but it can give you a headache after extended periods as well. As the winter reached it’s peak in late January, I was going snow-blind, and stir crazy. I had become so accustomed to seeing bright-white literally everywhere, that my depth perception was completely blurry. I realized I needed to find something fun to do inside, something that involved bright colors, as crazy as that sounds. I went to Best Buy to find something playful to do. At the entrance, as if literally waiting for me, was a large poster of what I felt, at that particularly color-starved moment, was the most beautiful landscape I had ever seen. I was completely blown away. I asked the attendant about the poster. He told me that the landscape was from an Xbox ‘quest game’ called Skyrim. He told me the game was a ‘universe of landscapes’ to explore. I spent $550 as if it was 50 cents, and walked out of the store in less than three minutes with a new Xbox, and a single game, Skyrim.
The Birth of Stonestrider: I went home and played the game. It was a Celtic fantasy ‘quest game’, with an epic interactive landscape. At this point in my life I had yet to even think of going to Celtic places, but as I played the game I began to wonder what it would be like. I am a college educated person. I have a Degree in Western Literature. I had read the essential Celtic myths, inclusive of Beowulf, Mallory’s Le Morte d’Artur, Gawain and The Green Knight, and Tolkien’s masterpiece novel The Lord of The Rings, and yet for some reason I had never galvanized my thoughts about the myths of Celtic places, and how much of it might be true. The range of subject matter in Skyrim is awe inspiring. It was obvious to me that the writers of this game did an incredible amount of research regarding Celtic myths. But the Skyrim writers went one step further and made cultural connections about mythical subjects that historians and anthropologists were embarrassed to talk about. For instance, standing stones and free-sitting boulders in Skyrim were not placed at random, presumably from glacial displacement, but were found in places specifically designated by a culture. Those designated spaces were inhabited by giants. Where did Skyrim get that idea from? Certainly not from academic history, although religious history texts have an abundance of content about giants. In Skyrim there are Dolmens, Standing Stones, Cairns, Free-Sitting Boulders, and Stone-Circles, all inhabited by giants, most of which also contain astrological significance. Suddenly Astrology, History, and Anthropology were ignited in my thoughts. It seemed to me that the designers of this game were signaling something to us, saying “wake up people, something amazing happened in the world once”. They had made a seamlessly logical scenario out of the Celtic universe, the ancient and half-forgotten world that we have only guessed at in this late phase of history. I began to wonder if these themes were really out there, in the actual world. If the Megaliths were cultural, then nobody could’ve moved them. I would just have to find them if I could. And that was my epiphany. I decided that when the snow melted, and the Spring finally came, I would go on my own real-time quest to find the Megalithic culture. Stonestrider.com would be born. My life has never been the same. I would like to use this post to just express some of the similarities between the game, and what I found in real time.
Waterfalls: Take a look at this waterfall I came across in the town of Mullaghduff, in Donegal, Ireland. It was totally untouched. No trails, signs, or markers of any kind. As far as I could tell, this Celtic waterfall was in its original state. More fantastic for me were the stones around the main Fall, which seemed curved, and cut, specifically into place, with smoothed arches and right angles actually hanging over the water. I couldn’t see how this configuration of stones would occur naturally. Look also to the left of the main Fall, there is a completely separate stone-cut path with beautifully crafted steps funneling the water. The level elevated bedrock of the main flow of water, combined with the crafted stones which are clearly curved and fitted above it, along with the separate funnel on the left, makes this seem like an engineered area, not a glacial miracle. That’s what I believe this is, an engineered waterway. There are also free-standing boulders that look more like markers heading progressively up the mountain directly beyond this waterway, which makes the area a prime candidate for an ancient Celtic, megalithically cultural center, just like what Skyrim depicts in the game.
What’s even more interesting, is that this very real waterfall in Mullaghduff has more mysterious components to it than this very fictional waterfall in Skyrim. The main similarity between the two waterfalls is that they both focus on the idea that the water is centered and flowing through a specific, and elevated, rocky precipice, while otherwise surrounded by gorgeous grassy brush and hilly topography beyond. It’s as if both scenes are trying to tell us that something special happens at the rocky points of water-flow.Mountain Streams: Here is a look at a mountain stream headed towards a Celtic alter in the heights of the Black Valley in the southern portion of Killarney National Park, Ireland. Take a look at the stones on the outer edge of the run of the water. The stones are not rounded, but they’re cut distinctly, seemingly directing the water in a funnel towards the center. The most obvious example is the largest stone in the center of this image; it is clearly cut, and with the directional purpose of funneling the water inward. I would also like to point out, that if you were to follow this stream up the mountain, you will come to a massive cut alter, with Celtic rings etched in its side.
In Skyrim there are waterways that appear in the elevations, and they follow the flow of specifically dotted stone paths. I really feel that the game’s engineers noticed the stony designation of Celtic waterways. Whether or not they knew that the real life waterways were in many instances engineered, is for us to decide.
Celtic Rings in Stone: Here is a look at the alter to be found at the top of the mountain stream in the Black Valley in Killarney. The rings cut into it are smooth and perfectly concentric, and hardly look like the work of a chisel at all. The rings are thousands of years old and hard to see now, shown just below center of the right slab, if you look close. It is clear that this slab was carved into linear sections, and ‘squared’. Even more incredible is that its location is near the top of a mountain. None of the other stones near by look even remotely like this. One last thing to take note of in this scene is that these slabs seem to be facing directly towards the central feature of the valley beyond, which is the beautiful lake Brinn, splitting the two mountains. There is just so much to consider when looking at Celtic ruins. It seems to me that they are far more than primitive markings. There is meaning in the direction in which stones face, what they depict, and where they are found. All of this is far from primitive, it’s actually elegant.Now here is a view of a squared stone slab with semi-concentric rings on its face in Skyrim. Yet again, the more amazing and mysterious stone, is actually the real one.Free Sitting Boulders: I am sure that there are boulders that have been moved by glaciers. But I am equally sure that there are boulders that have not been moved by glaciers. Free-sitting-boulders can most often be found guarding areas where sacred Dolmens or Wedge Tombs are directly near by. Here is an example of a free-sitting-boulder that I came across placed 30 yards from the incredible Wedge Tomb at Cavan Burren National Park in Ireland (Image on Right, click on it to look closer/Additionally, at this Wedge Tomb, are three stone-linings all converging directly on it/the linings are energy transfers, not walls). I am absolutely certain that this boulder was placed here as a marker to display the area as ‘occupied’. I imagine that this was a fair warning, a way of saying, “if you cross this massive marker, you will have to deal with the individual who is strong enough to put this here”. Notice how the boulder is placed exactly over another granite face below it. Scientists want us to believe that this boulder came to rest exactly on top of this other rock face beneath it, moved at random by glacial displacement? The odds are beyond gastronomical. I’m sorry, but no. This is a megalithic cultural statement, a boundary, near a Wedge Tomb.Here is the equivalent in Skyrim. This free sitting boulder is directly on the edge of a Cairn inhabited by giants in the game. It becomes increasingly clear that the Skyrim writers know something the general population has yet to imagine possible, or has perhaps forgotten.Standing Stones: The simple wonder of standing stones can move you. Here is an 8 foot standing stone in the heights of the Conwy Valley, Wales. Again, this stone weighs at least two tons. Moving this, and to such an elevation from the valley below, would seem crazy by human standards. I believe this standing stone is another type of marker, placed by the individual(s) who wanted to live away from the common collectives of people down below, and it served as a warning to them. More compelling is the fact that this stone is 100 yards from beautiful Dolmen just down the Roman pathway. Here is an image of a nice standing stone in Skyrim with what looks like similar dynamics.
Stacked and level megaliths: The most obvious and famous example of stacked and level megaliths is Stonehenge. The mystery of Stonehenge is one of the most important and fascinating in the world. There is so much that goes into creating sections like these, including grand notches that are cut and fit to be fixed into place like Jurassic Legos. To do this with sarsen stone, the hardest stone in the world, is almost inconceivable for a primitive culture at the start of history. Here is a look at just one section of Stonehenge.And here is a look at one section of an entrance to a cairn in Skyrim. Same proportions. Same idea. Amazing Natural Beauty: It is so important not to forget the natural beauty surrounding the mystery of Celtic culture. Mountains and valleys are simple and worthy reasons for celebration. I just want to mix and match some actual scenes that I was lucky enough to come across, with scenes from Skyrim below. The fantastic images in Skyrim should inspire you to try to climb mountains and explore valleys, however distant from you. You can do it! Something tremendous is revealed when you get out and take a close look at wild natural spaces. There is a hidden megalithic culture beneath us, and in some preserved places, totally visible. The Skyrim engineers have somehow put together a vision in their game that taps into the myths in a way that is almost signaling us, warning us, that there is more going on in this world than we are being told by commercial banks, governments, and people. I would like to thank the makers of Skyrim for inspiring me to think and wonder for myself just how much of what they are proposing might be true… ..which is far more than I would’ve known, had I not gone in search after the miserable winter of 2014. I will end this post with this statement: Biblical scriptures and the Dead Sea Scrolls speak of giants in the land, before, and after Noah. There are entire narratives dedicated to this premise about giants. “Seek and Find the Sacred” is not just a nifty cliche, its your personal invitation to understand the most mysterious and amazing things first hand, not relying on some other persons opinion, but developing your own. The megaliths are there, in dynamic positions, with symbols and angles, waiting to be understood. All of this takes place in a naturally beautiful, and often romantically distant places, far from the manic urban centers. You have nothing to lose by letting go, and going for it. I hope to see you out there. And however far out “out there” might be, the better.
Note: The broad and beautiful rolling hills southwest of London is home to some of the most mysterious wonders in the world. This designated area has a rather unassuming name, considering the undeniable mysteries it contains, known simply as ‘Wiltshire’. It could be called something more relevant, like “Temple-haven”, or “God-stone-shire”, but the humble title remains. The district of Wiltshire is basically a 50-by-50-mile zone extending from the cities of Ashton Keynes at the northern edge, down to Salisbury in the south, not far from England’s gorgeous southern coast. During the dry season in England, which is late summer, this area is host to campers, hikers, bikers, and anthropologists. Teams of hikers can be found attempting expeditions from the southern tip of nearby Cornwall, north to Snowdon Range in Wales, all the way up to Glencoe Scotland. Many of these outdoor enthusiasts begin here, in Wiltshire. The Wiltshire hills and fields feel at least four to five times more broad then in Ireland, Scotland, or New England. In antiquity England was known as Albion, which means: “Land of Giants”, and on this wide open Celtic plain, the title seems appropriate. It becomes easy to imagine giants roaming across these fields, tending flocks, roasting lamb over great bonfires, and watching the stars in the fair season, very much like they are depicted in the Celtic Xbox game, Skyrim. This is an extremely picturesque open space, with hedges, crops, and surviving ancient old-growth trees standing stoically against a universe of looming green fields. The fascinating, and world renown Stonehenge, is within the boarders of Wiltshire, receiving international visitors numbering into the thousands every year. However, an equally incredible and mysterious megalithic place exists just 20 miles south of Stonehenge, a place which most people don’t seem to know about, that place being Avebury Stone Circle. Avebury is nothing less than the largest stone circle on earth.Not only is the radius of the outer circle about a mile long, but the 98 Sarsen stones that make this circle are without a doubt the largest possible standing stones that could’ve been placed here. Each stone is, at a minimum, 12 feet tall, by 3 feet in width, and some are larger. These standing stones range from 50 to 60 tons each. It’s boarding on impossible. That’s roughly 12 MILLION pounds of stone in one place. Here are some examples of perhaps the largest standing stones on earth below… There are also two smaller inner stone circles within the overall ring, with more customary stones that are about 6 feet high and 2 foot in width, but several of those stones are now missing. Altogether, this is a grandly concentric scene, with circles within circles of impossibly placed stones, like interwoven gears in a Jurassic size clock. A hike within these rings is a dreamlike experience. Each stone has an absolutely distinct character and individuality, unlike the sarsens at Stonehenge, which are uniform in character, most likely indicating a different meaning. Each standing stone is a type of unique masterpiece, an essay on individuality. If you study standing stones enough, it is hard not to look at people the same way, with subtle nuances and individual markings that make them unique and amazing. Incredibly, standing stones convey many such meanings like this, without a single etched word anywhere. It is simply the nature of the statement itself, the stone as an expression, that draws out our faculties to find the meaning. It would indicate that whoever put these standing stones here was, at minimum, aware of the meanings they would convey forever after. And yet there is so much mystery. It would seem clear that each stone was chosen specifically for its attributes at Avebury. It becomes impossible not to wonder how these stones came to be here, and why each was chosen.
The amount of work that it would’ve required to move 12 million pounds of stone in the Neolithic period is incomprehensible. The undertaking would’ve cost hundreds, perhaps thousands of lives, and for several reasons. Neolithic England was a place of Celtic tribal hunter-gatherers, and these tribes would’ve guarded their territories against any trespassers or invaders with deadly force. Moving 98, sixty-ton stones, slowly across a hostilely protected landscape (perhaps with wooden rolling logs and ropes) seems totally illogical. And how many miles have the stones been moved from wherever they came from? This is 12 million pounds of stone we’re taking about, so it presumably makes sense that this effort took several generations, and all of this effort just to create something for which the function is not entirely known? Pretty crazy. Interestingly enough, if you place your hand on these stones for more than a minute, you can literally feel some kind of charge moving through them. With all the mystery surrounding this place, you could hardly be surprised.Avebury is obviously a Celtic spiritual center, and one of the most important in the world. The history here goes back to the very beginning of recorded time. Druids and Celtic peoples would’ve come here to perform their sacred rites. The classic medieval Tudors in the backdrop behind these ancient stones display a middle age period alive and well in the present day. It is understandable that an author like J.R.R Tolkien so adeptly created his amazing novel not far from here in Oxford, weaving very human themes into mysterious magical memes so seamlessly, influenced by places like this for certain. Avebury is a living crossroads for all of these themes. The exact significance of the placement of these stones is not known. Like so many megalithic sites, it may well be that there are astrological/historical connections that we have yet to understand. I believe that the actual truth about who built this place, and why, is still unknown, and suppressed. If you ever get to Avebury, put your hand on one of the megaliths for two minutes, you will understand, from the subtle but significant charge that runs up your arm, that something more is going on at megalithic sites than just “big rocks in the grass”. I hope you make it there soon. Find your way.
Note: The Blue Hills is a quintessential New England hiking area, with the perfect combination of rocky pathways, quiet groves, elevated vistas, and mysterious stones. Trails include the Walcott Loop, the Skyline Trail, Rattlesnake Trail, Great Blue Hill, and dozens of minor trails to be discovered. Great Blue Hill is the highest elevation here at 695 feet. There is over 6000 acres to explore, with the option to mountain-bike, which thousands of people enjoy during the Spring season. There is preserved old-growth forest, inclusive of 100 foot Pines, small Birch groves, Hemlocks, and Oaks. Some of the trails are wide pathways lined with small cut stones, while others are staircases cut right out of the hills. Blue Hills was a sacred place for the Native Americans for thousands of years before the Europeans arrived. We can certainly see why. The Colonials that arrived in the “New World” were fleeing what they considered to be a completely bought-out scene in England, Scotland, and Ireland. Lords and Men-of-property owned, and taxed, all the land, from the Medieval period into the Colonial. The 17th century in Europe was actually a “late’ period in terms of land ownership. Everything was owned. There was nothing left. Christian Puritans found the state of affairs in London, and elsewhere, intolerable. They decided to take their chances on getting their own land across the Atlantic Ocean. When these mostly poor pilgrims, explorers, trappers, and farmers arrived, and began to explore the forests and hills of this wilderness, what they found, in places like Blue Hills, would absolutely astonish them. Secret History: The image above is a look at the countryside southwest of the beautiful city of Boston in April 2016. It was in this exact season in 1775 that King George of England issued a mandate to General Thomas Gage for the disarmament of the resistant colonials living in this beautiful region. It was yet another attempt to expand England, and possess these abundantly fertile hills. I have to believe, looking at this picture, that the colonials felt this was a place, if ever there was one, that was absolutely worth fighting for. There is something even deeper about the landscape that colonial farmers must have noticed in their appreciation of the terrain. Colonial frontiersmen would have looked for advantageous areas to live, strategically smart elevations close to running streams, with crop potential and forestry for building. Celtic homesteads had been established for almost 1400 years already under the Medieval system back in Ireland and Scotland. Lords possessed the lands with Titles, the best of which long maintained crops, and were often inclusive of megalithic stonewalls that followed riversides to Cairns and Dolmens built in the Celtic era. Men-of-property certainly made the connection that Cairns and Dolmens were a sign of ideal land, almost always placed near resources and advantageous elevations. So it must have seemed miraculous to Colonial frontiersmen when they wandered into the forests and mountains of the “New World” only to discover megalithic stone ‘walls’ already running along the riversides, leading to the most advantageous plots, near streams, peaks, and good soil. Imagine their amazement when they found stone Cairns in these lush areas, with corbel craftsmanship, identical to that of Celtic Cairns in Ireland and England. Native Americans did not claim the stonework. Natives were seasonally nomadic, and were in no way inclined to build stone cities. This is not dismissive of Native American anthropological development. Wooden ‘villages’ expanded into the hundreds of thousands in population in many areas, and were highly sophisticated, but they simply did not work with megalithic stones.
The Unspoken Thing: The unspoken thing about New England, the secret that has gone to the graves of almost every Native American tribe and Colonial woodsmen, is that America was once occupied by a megalithic culture, just like Ireland and England. Imagine if you were a Colonial farmer and you discovered this secret, that the soil and stonework of the ‘New World’ was of the same mystical sanctity of the lands Lords and Title holders had been possessing in domineering fashion throughout European history. Not only was the land giving you the essential signs of quality you were hoping for, but it went a step further, and somehow was revealing Celtic features that you could not in your wildest dreams have imagined existed in this part of the world. It was so completely familiar, but in an entirely new place. They absolutely would’ve taken this as a sign from God, and therefor fought with everything they had to keep it. I truly believe that this was a significant part of the reason why Colonial militiamen met the British on the field of Battle on July 4th of 1776. Colonial farmers must have had in-depth conversations about what they were finding in the woods, Celtic style stone-works that British Lords coveted and valued on their estates for centuries. It would’ve been the ultimate incentive to fight. The Blue Hills Reservation is one of the most beloved remaining testaments to these wonders of the old growth forests, filled with Celtic stonework running along streams, small mountains, and rocky elevations. They are still there today, as the builders obviously intended.
Connections to Ireland: The image below is a stone staircase at one of the main trails at Blue Hills. Notice how this first step is positioned, displaying the markings like an invitation, shown on the top frontal face, rather than tucking it out of sight as masons are trained to do. Whoever built this staircase wanted us to notice the craftsmanship. Everything about it says “notice me”. The style of incremented cuts on this blue granite stone is in the exact same style as cuts made to white granite on high elevation staircases at Mount Bearnagh, in the beautiful Mourn Mountain Range of northeast Ireland. Here is a look at one of those stones below, quarried in the heights by stone stairs leading up the mountain, but was never placed in the ground for some reason. The styles are identical. And just like at Blue Hills, Mount Bearnagh is inundated with other stones all around, that have incremented markings, smoothed surfaces, and right angles.
Features of Blue Hills: Take a look at this amazing granite standing-stone that rests in a beautiful old growth Pine-glade at Blue Hills. It looks like something out of Game of Thrones. It stands at about 7 feet high, and 3 feet in width. There is no other stone comparable to it within the vicinity. There are angles specifically cut into its sides. It has clearly been worked on. Not only are the angles obvious, but the stones that were cut away are placed all around the area. It looks to be some kind of expression. There are hundreds of thousands of granite pieces that have been worked on all throughout the forests here. Of course, the next question from that statement will be: “What could they do with such a massive amount of cut stones if this happened all over the forests?”
More Irish Connections/Stone-linings: The answer to the question is literally all around the woods: the Stone-linings. What modern anthropologists have mistakingly (and lazily) called “walls”, are more accurately understood to be ‘Stone-linings’ that run, like connecting cables, from peak to peak, and even zig-zag up entire hillsides in some areas. Who builds stone walls that zig zag up a mountain? No one. This Stone-lining phenomenon is also found at Mount Bearnagh in Ireland. Here is a spot in Ireland that illustrates my point clearly; Please take a look at this image of two separate stone projects at the Pass in the heights of Mount Bearnagh; It clearly distinguishes the two structures as absolutely different.
The stones on the far right of this image are clearly crafted as a wall, meant to contain flocks and cattle from drifting into the next valley. It was built by Irish masons in the 17th, or late 18th century. Notice how the stones of this wall are not aligned with the direct center of the mountain beyond, but is right-of-center of the peak, simply stopping once it reaches the cliff side. Since domesticated Cows and Sheep don’t climb vertical cliffs, the purpose of the structure is obviously complete, as a wall. The project on the left in the image, however, is a Stone-lining. It obviously cannot stop the movement of anything. I believe this ‘Lining’ was built by the very first culture in Ireland. As you can see, the stones specifically align towards the center of the mountain beyond, and actually continues up the mountain in massive stacked shelves (if you look close), all the way to the center. What this image doesn’t show us is that in the other direction, the Lining continues towards the center of the opposite peak in the same way. It is evident that this megalithic period structure was intended to connect the peaks, like cables connecting power sources. I have found this same phenomenon at Glenveagh National Park, Ireland, Mount Chocorua New Hampshire, and Mount Monadnock, New Hampshire, as well as dozens of other places. (Noted here on Stonetstrider.com.) One more important thing to consider is that the Irish did not take stones from the Linings to build the wall; Why not? It’s right there, why not use it? The answer is, the Lining is ancient, and sacred, and the Irish know it. They would not touch it. If we now understand that Linings are sacred, and the Blue Hills is literally covered in massive megalithic Linings, that makes the entire Blue Hills Reserve sacred.
Stone-linings (Linings) at Blue Hills: The Blue Hills is a Stone-lining universe. Colonials would’ve seen these stones and been absolutely stunned. Some of them connect the peaks, others zig-zag up the hills as i mentioned before, and some “crown” the massive stone ledges around the peaks, like at Mount Watatic, Massachusetts, (also featured here on Stonestrider.com.) The image below is an example of a fine Lining found on one of the elevated porches at Blue Hills.
The next Lining is much more substantial, and running straight up the side of one of the small mountains at Blue Hills. There are literally hundreds of these Linings, requiring more work and tools than any team of New England craftsman could ever in ten lifetimes complete. And where are the tools that quarried and crafted these stones? No signs of them, anywhere.
Here is a dizzying look at several Linings zig-zagging up the mountain side just off one of the trails at Blue Hills. I believe that the stones were part of this scene long before the trees were there. At one time, this hillside looked a lot more like Celtic hills, unobstructed visually. It is harder to see megalithic patterns in New England with countless layers of leaves and trees, but there is some kind of pattern here. Its almost as if the entire hillside is a megalithic statement. The picture below is a hill about 100 yards high, with Linings of 100 to 1000 pound stones everywhere. Unreal. A glacier ripping this hillside would’ve discombobulated any pattern in the stones, not stacked them into Linings that looked to modern eyes like dilapidated walls. Ice did not do this.If you follow the Linings through the woods at Blue Hills you will often come across what look to be megalithic size markers, Standing-stone scale slates or boulders that seem almost decorative, or for marking the territory. Take a look at this 7 foot long, 1 foot thick, slab placed along the Lining by one of the lower trails. It looks to be at least 1 ton in weight (2000 pounds). There are cuts on the lower right side of this slab rendering some kind of meaning. It was clearly placed there. It may mark a certain point of the Sun or Moon along the mountainside, or be indicating a direction to follow, all of which are possibilities that the Megalith builders were absolutely concerned with.
Elevated Trails at Blue Hills: People from this area of New England love hiking here. With all the stonework taking place beneath the trees, it is impossible for a hiker not to be curious what might be taking place at the hilltops, under the Sun. There are trails that loop in a lengthy approach to the smooth stone porches above, but there are also very direct trails with serious inclines that will take you to the best peaks within 15 intense minutes. One peak has a direct view of Boston twenty miles away, with beautiful, Celtic looking, old growth fauna along the ledges (Image below). You can just make out Boston in the distance. Along these smooth rock porches are stones that are obviously crafted, and serving as markers of some kind. Take a look at these stones on the upper path of “Skyline Trail”, the most popular trail at Blue Hills: This stone is clearly crafted. Furthermore, looking from this exact stone down the direct path of the trail, are two more crafted, free sitting boulders, perfectly aligned like 1,2,3.
Around this area are also stones that have clearly been cut away from cliff faces. Take a look at these triangular stones, still standing near the exact indents from which they were cut away from. Just for clarity, I highlighted this image so you could see the exact spaces of the cutting, and the right angled triangle stone. This is evidence of extremely intelligent craftsmanship, conscious of geometric principles. There are also more minor cuts in the stones along the trails, with triangular features. Below is just one example of thousands. They seem directional. Amazing. The view from the top of Skyline Trail is a classic New England picture. The shadows on the dark granite ledges give a bluish hue to the stones, most likely where the name for this beautiful place derives (top images). We should remember also, that these trails were used by the Native American tribes for thousands of years, before it became “New England”. For the most part, they have taken their sacred knowledge with them into history. Take a hike through the Blue Hills, and see for yourself the unspoken reasons why a community of poor colonial farmers risked their lives against the greatest empire the world had ever known. They knew what we are quickly forgetting, that something entirely mystical took place on this sacred land. Find it, if you can, and go strong.
Note: It is hard to know how to begin when talking about a place like Gortnavern. It really isn’t a place that you will find in a tourism guidebook. It’s a rugged and cloudy place, with dark oily soil in the heights. Known as ‘Ranny’ to the locals, the small black mountain peak here overlooks Mulroy Bay, an inlet extending out to the stark Atlantic edge of Ireland’s northernmost coastline. There are no trails here, just farmers roads, and fields upon fields. In the distance to the northeast is a rim of mountains that create a saturated basin of nearly picture perfect rolling hills and streams. What looks like a simple and approachable climb through these heights is actually a phalanx of thick hedges, stony streams, tall grass, rocky knolls, spongy moss, and tough roots. You will need all your gear, tall boots, and rain suit, to hike without fear. At the dark peak of Ranny wild goats graze and look on. It is easy to see that people do not come here often, judging from the looks on their faces. There are plants and fauna here that I have never seen before, with winding undergrowth and tunnels of tough branches. To achieve the peak at Ranny you will have to pass through them. Not only that, but you will have to cross streams, climb fences, and avoid bulls in the fields. At this point you’ll probably want to ask: ” Well then, why the hell would you want to go hiking there?” It’s a good question, with a worthy explanation. The Dolmen. The misty heights of Ranny is home to one of the few remaining undisturbed Celtic Dolmens in this part of the world. Other Dolmens remain, but are reinforced, rebuilt, or tampered with, in various ways; But not the Gortnavern Dolmen. It is in situ, in it’s original state; A beyond-priceless expression from an era gone by, built by the first culture that this part of the world had ever seen. Irish archaeologists date the building of most Dolmens somewhere around 4000 to 6000 B.C.E, but in truth, there is really no way of knowing just how old this megalith is. This is an exquisite example of the Portal Tomb, which is a spiritual statement of a crafted, massive, stone satellite, meant for catapulting souls from this world, to the stars. The 10 ton, elevated capstone, supported by five huge pillar pieces beneath, is forever tipping its brim towards the beautiful Gortnatraw Mountain in the distance. If you can get to this spot, it feels as if whoever created this Dolmen, wanted us to see how beautiful they felt this very scene was, which is why, perhaps, they chose to face the capstone in that specific direction. If that is the case, then as you look, you are sharing a moment with someone who lived 6000 years ago. What could be a more worth while hiking goal? Whatever you do, stop to appreciate the the strange darkened peaks, of a style i had never seen before, or since. In the end, you will have to decide what your goals in a rustic scene like this will be. If hiking to the top of Mount Ranny is your goal, be prepared to cross farmers fields, and travail the obstacles, with a tough incline as you go. If finding the Gortnavern Dolmen is your goal, you must find Drumatrumman Road. Pass the farm at the top of Drumatrumman Road, and continue about a half mile further up the hedgy dirt path. You will need to look right; At about 75 yards to the right of the lane, beyond cows in the fields, just to the next gully, beyond the stream, you will see the Dolmen. Beyond the hedges behind the cattle in the image below, the Dolmen is just out of view at this vantage from the road. Keep clear of the bull, follow the hedge to the left. More generally, approaching this scene, there is a sign for the ‘Gortnavern Dolmen’ from the main road just outside Kerrykeel center, but from there you should plan to ask for help, and bring your GPS/Phone, you will need it. Many of the roads do not have names, so approach farmers with humble honesty and respect. You are on their land. If you tell them you would like to see the Dolmen, they will gladly show you the way, but DO NOT JUST WAVE AT THEM AND PASS BY. This is a real rural community, with functional farms and generational families at work, be respectful. If you can get to Gortnavern, you have already achieved something which most people, even seasoned hikers, will never do. These are the rare places, the wild unmarked terrains, where you will discover more about yourself in the challenge, than any commercially advertised trek can offer. This is the real Celtic experience. Go strong, bring plenty of water, and may the road rise to meet you.
Note: Along the gorgeous south-west coast of Ireland, which runs all the way down to a baby-blue Irish Sea, sits the rare, old-growth, Celtic forest known as The Raven. There are a few reasons why it’s rare; The first being the British incursion of Ireland, which took place from the early Medieval period into the Colonial. The British occupation made it possible to extort vital resources for England, such as timber for the imperial fleet, starting in the mid 1500’s. Luckily The Raven survived. The second reason for the rarity of this place is that The Raven has been a protected wildlife Reserve since the 1880’s, making it a priceless time capsule of trees and flowers that have almost vanished. It is the only place left in the country where you can find the wildflower known as Wintergreen, which is mingled among Devil’s-Bits, Foxgloves, and Bluebells in the grassy dunes. This is a place to let your imagination go, and daydream about the feeling of old Celtic regions. It is a natural kingdom of preserved fauna and wildlife that Celtic peoples felt was sacred.
Beautiful trails extend around, and through this forest of towering Irish Pines and Evergreens. One of the trails is a basic circular loop around the edge of the old glades. S0me tree’s are standing over 150 feet tall, above broad beds of rolling clover, tall grass, and shiny white sand. If you add the element of the striking blue-crystaline color of the Irish Sea, the overall scene becomes worthy of wonder. There are fantastic minor trails that branch off into the forest, creating a direct pathway from the beach, about halfway around the larger outer loop.These pathways are nearly perfect for mountain-biking as well. An extended adventure is possible for those who wish to try a more rustic challenge of approaching the Raven from further off. If you park at Adcavan business park, about 3 miles away, you can bike the small dirt road that runs parallel to The Raven in the distance. Riding from the main road, you will need to lift your bike over a simple gate, and ride 2 miles, eventually reaching a dilapidated stone archway. This archway marks the path that runs directly towards the forest. This route is rustic and challenging, with rocky paths that run along a huge ocean channel lined with golden wildflowers while you approach. At times you may need to walk your bike, but it leaves time to get a picture of the channel with The Raven beyond.
Once you reach the forest you may wish to explore the beach before continuing to ride. Lock your bike around a tree and climb over the dunes to get a glimpse of the Irish Sea. Smaller side paths lead through thickets on the edge of the dunes that are tempting to follow. The Pines run to the edge of the dunes, opening up to a spectacular scene, one which the ancient mariners of England, and the Vikings, must have admired while approaching to raid. A view like this is also most likely what a young Saint Patrick must have seen, and had to return to, even after captivity. This place is hauntingly beautiful, even on a cloudy day. Enjoy the opportunity to relax and wander in a rare wildlife scene from long ago. All options for exploration are possible at The Raven. Good luck as you go:) Seek and find.
Elevation: 1,642 ft
Note: Monument Mountain is a rare natural gem for Massachusetts. It is not connected to the rolling hills of eastern New England, but rather the beautiful Berkshire Mountain range, which runs through the southwest corner of Massachusetts, before continuing northwest into New York State. In early November the hillsides around Monument Mountain practically glow from the morning frost in the Sunrise, giving it a unique New England appeal… From top to bottom, massive shelves of white-quartzite line the mountainside, with jagged cliffs looming hundreds of feet above the trails, leading to what is known as ‘Squaw-Peak’. Alternative trails are known as “Indian Monument, and”Hickey Trail”, but are both essentially part of the same loop leading to Squaw Peak. As hard as it might be to believe, this is the Macchu Piccu of Massachusetts. The trails here lead through glades of old growth forest and quartzite glens. There are White Pines, Hemlocks, Maples, and Birches in the elevated areas, that change the feeling of the trail as you go. The forest is a barrage of overgrowth and ledges, with craggy shelves at every turn. Some fixtures were obviously toppled by a glacial game that was played over 10,500 years ago, while other stones do not seem random at all.
The Solar Stones: The initial trail runs through a glade of towering Pines for about a half mile. Soon you will encounter an incline in the path that will lead you into Birch groves, baby Pines, and stony footing. As the trail to Squaw Peak begins to elevate, there are stairs that are clearly cut out of the mountain, leading up to smooth rounded porches. On these porches are stones that have specific angular cuts that are pointing directly at the Sun at mid-day. These stones appear at other sites in New England too. The image below is a prime example of the Solar Stone type at Monument Mountain, approaching Squaw Peak. Before coming to Monument” I had found several stones that were cut exactly like this, shown below. I felt that if stones were cut specifically to be “pointing” at something significant, it would most likely be the Sun. So on this day at Monument Mountain I tested my theory. I climbed to reach Squaw Peak just before Noon, and using this method I came across this exact stone, which points directly at the Sun at Noon. These are the moments that hikers live for. Trail features become both an exploration into natural beauty, and anthropological. Standing there, as the Sun was directly above this stone, I felt as if I was momentarily peeking through a keyhole connected to a culture from the beginning of Time. The “Solar Stones” geometry is essentially: a single long-side leading up to a 45 degree angle, which is then cut, creating an arrow head, or apex, pointing straight up; Then the cut goes back down 45 degrees, to a shorter side, which runs parallel to the long side. These cuts are made in solid granite. Take a look below… If this were the only stone that I had seen like this, then I would hesitate to publish it here, but I offer some other examples of beautifully cut Solar Stones with the exact same angles and features. This Solar Stone pictured above is located near one of the most significant “Celtic style” alter’s in New England: the Heath Alter, of Massachusetts. Notice the identical angles. Here again is a Solar Stone with the exact same measurements at a different location. We can at least conclude that whoever created these stones had a sense of ‘symbolism’, which in this case, was to convey how important they felt the Sun was, and that they were very much in tune with its properties. As you continue hiking along, the elevated stone porches emerge (image above) which head directly towards Squaw Peak. Your first clearing will arrive facing north-east, and its phenomenal.
Aligned Stones: The edge of this porch has several stones that are centered and aligned with the massive square tower that stands almost 1000 feet high in the distance. This ledge also seems to be aligned to the peak of the mountain just beyond. If it weren’t for places like Macchu Piccu, where stones are aligned in amazing ways at high elevations to mountains and peaks, something like this would certainly seem impossible. But notice the stones running in a straight line directly down the center of this porch, with tops that are squared perfectly with each other, as if leveled intentionally. Makes you wonder. What could possibly have done this? (left image) This is the magic of Monument Mountain’s porches.
Pattern Stones: Along the trail at Monument” you will also see a type of stonework that fits a specific pattern. This can also be found at other sites in New England. Here is an image of a long singular megalithic slab specifically placed above three smaller supporting stones. Below this are other spots at Monument”, and other places in New England, with the same dimensions of: the long slab on top, with the three smaller below. This is easily something you might pass by, believing it to be simple glacial displacement, but have a look at some other patterned stones in New England that fit this exact design.
Interestingly, over 2000 miles away, there are Dolmens in Ireland that, in profile, fit this is exact numeric design: one long slab over three lesser stones This example is significantly larger, which is the Gaulstown Dolmen, with a capstone weighing 6 tons, suspended roughly 6 feet in the air. This relationship of 1 over 3 seems to be significant for these fixtures, and for the moment we can only guess at the significance of this.
After continuing along the porch away from the north-east alignment you will find Squaw Peak, which has a wonderful 360 view of the river valley. On a clear day distant peaks cut the clouds at a distance. Monument” trails also sponsor some of the more common megalithic features found at places like Mount Monadnock and Mount Watatic. There are classic stone-linings that run straight up the mountain… and the mysteriously cut “X” sections, that produces the diamond shape stones that appear all the way into Maine and New Hampshire. All of these are found here at Mounument”. Give yourself an entire day to search out the pathways that lead through this wonderland in south western Massachusetts. Feel the texture and absolute smoothness of the creases in these megaliths as you go. This is an absolutely wonderful hike that stretches for about 4 miles along the larger picturesque loop. Someone loved and appreciated this place in ways we are only just beginning to understand. See it for yourself, the sooner the better.