Lanyon Quoit is hardly any older, nor presumably any wiser, than it was the last time I visited the megalith – but I am.
Perhaps the best time to explore the more prominent sites of Penwith really is on a cold, overcast, mid-week day in the winter. Without the distractions of dogs, children, selfie-seekers or motorbikers, you can get that little more in touch with some of the more easily accessible artefacts of ancient Kernow. Freed temporarily from the invasiveness of others, even the incessant background hum of tractors, drying machines and light aircraft can seem almost soothing – well, less intrusive.
Despite its handy location next to the ‘main’ road connecting Madron with Morvah, we hadn’t set foot at this charismatic piece of Cornish archaeology for some years. It’s good to have a break from anywhere, and even better to have a long one. It enables you to see old friends through new eyes, and sense them with more mature and nuanced sensitivities.
Perhaps the most immediate impression of any quoit is of its simple, yet iconic, outline in an all-but object-free landscape. It appears to stand proud and alone, marking or heralding whatever. This, of course, is not the case at all. It is only a solitary symbol today because just about everything else around it has been removed, recycled or flattened. In the height of summer, the shrouding bracken and brambles serve to emphasise this misleading singularity. Yet, in the greater clarity of January, a whole raft of adjacent undulations and recumbent boulders emerges from the dormant undergrowth.
Dowsing indicates that several of these neighbouring sites were, at some point in their histories, at least as significant as the petrified tripod that remains. To the south of the quoit is a cluster of mounds, which might once have been a burial site or sites but, more importantly, formerly described major energy features with their shapes and locations. As we have found across the world, at spots such as these, the energies are still there, and patently still dowsable, long after their humanly-constructed accoutrements have disappeared – which is a hugely positive finding in itself.
At the other side of the quoit, I dowsed that there once stood a much grander structure with several tall uprights – just the sawn-off stumps of which now lie in silent remembrance in a stagnant pool. Here strong leys cross as they pass through the site, distantly indicating its previous significance.