......I just happened to come across my notes from Arenig Fach last October...........very basic, sure you've have many similar instances.
"Sure, the wind is severe, the lowland drizzle transformed into horizontal, lashing rain. But, hey.... this is Wales. So I'm not expecting to be picked up and dumped unceremoniously on my back as I attempt to venture towards the trig! Point taken, mam."
..............I'm transformed from a (hopefully) reasonably educated 21st centuty man into more or less simply a creature struggling to cope with the way the world is up here. This is a living planet, constantly changing, so for me debating whether the people who built the monuments 'felt' the same as us about them is very much an (albeit interesting) aside..........
No, for me the major point is how we relate to these monuments TODAY. Do we feel the landscape they represent is 'special' now, somewhere which invokes emotion in us merely through the act of being there? In other words, do they possess a 'sense of place'? Or do they just represent something to 'collect'.... in much the same way many hillwalkers 'tick off' tops without appearing to actually experience any emotional response. I sit upon summits, within stone circles, upon long barrows etc for hours because doing so releases 'something' inside me, something that makes me feel 'right', allows me to interact with the weather, wildlife etc. I'll always recall an elderly Indian gentlemen responding to a young woman exclaiming that 'these are just a bunch of old stones' with 'ah, but they represent the dawn of civilisation, everything we are'. Couldn't have put it better myself.
Well put. I feel exactly the same as you in your experiences.
"Sense of place" to me means that sense of something familiar, something personal, or a general feeling of belonging. This comes through having been there in the past, i.e. a nostalgia. It also comes from a deep interest in the pre-history and history of a site or area, and also with a feeling of beauty in a place you visit. A sense of something drawing you back, a sense of something making you feel you never want to leave, or that you want the experience of being there never to leave you. There is also the sense of a presence in some places, of something intangible. I find this most in the mountains and sometimes at prehistoric sites.
To try to convey this adequately to someone who has never experienced such an intense feeling is almost impossible, unless you are blessed by the ability to form feelings into words in a way that most of us can't.
That Indian gentleman has put into words what many have failed to do. How eloquent he was.