Day 79 mile 79: Stone Circle Equinox. Today it is the spring equinox, so it is a great excuse to get up early and go high up on the hills above the village to the ‘Druid’s Circle’ for the sunrise. Its a neolithic site perched on the very edge of the Carneddau mountain range overlooking the sea.
As I got up to go for this run I could see that the weather was not that great, but figured that the clouds might clear and that if I didn’t go I certainly wouldn’t get to see the sunrise! Jogging up from the farm in the gray of the pre-dawn light the birds were already beginning to wake up, with a wren singing in one of the gnarled hawthorn trees and a pheasant squawking his disapproval as I went by at such an early hour.
The path up was muddy and slippy with occasional moments where the streams had encroached though the sedge grass to create pools that would occasionally ambush one foot or the other resulting in a soaking anywhere up to the knee, the trick was not so much keeping one’s feet dry and making sure that the feet came back up from the depths with the shoes still on!
Leaving the drystone wall behind and moving up towards the summit ridge the winds really started, having got back down and looked at the reports they appear have been somewhere around 55mph, with snow forecast for later, not the spring day I had hoped for.
Arriving at the circle made for a strange experience. Firstly it is right on the edge of the plateau so pretty much all physical effort stops the instant you get there and an especial silence falls, the wind and rain continues to batter the clothing but breathing stills, heart-rate declines and the thudding in the ears ceases.
It’s a special place.
I had half expected to find other people up there given the day, perhaps the odd hippy or neo-pagan or something, but instead I found only a bouquet of freshly cut daffodils which had been dispersed but the wind. I gathered them up and place them back in the center of the circle, as that is where they seemed to have blown from. I don’t know who or what they were for, or in memory of but they were beautiful bright yellow against the grays, browns and greens of the hilltop.
The dawn came. It was not the pristine sunrise one could have hoped for. It was more a case of noting on the watch the minute that the sun would be rising behind the thick bank of cloud, but as I stood there for those few minutes, fingers rapidly cooling in the freezing rain it became noticeably lighter and the colours flowed back into the landscape. It’s a beautiful and elemental place and it is easy to see how people can draw a sense of spirituality from the situation of such a space.
I then got the descent, 1000 ft drop in just over a mile down boggy, mossy grassland and rock wooooooooooooop!
Hopefully the map below may give you some impression of how the circle sits in the landscape, cradled in the apex of an amphitheater of hills looking out to sea and behind to the plateau. It is a singularity between land, sea and sky, looking out to nature and to industry; encompassing past, present and future. At a time such as this, when day and night are in equilibrium, it is nothing short of awe inspiring.
Warning: I probably should write this, please take care in the mountains, tell people where you are going and certainly don’t go off running around them by yourself in the dark in poor weather conditions without suitable kit, training and experience!
I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.
Distance: 1733.2 meters recorded
(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)
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Massive thanks to all as ever 🙂