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Climbing on Standing Stones
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Re: Climbing on Standing Stones
Feb 26, 2012, 14:58
Resonox wrote:
...strangely enough I can't find a "paying due respect" crowd to add to this list...is this perhaps why it is a hot topic?

"Respect" is an odd thing though isn't it, because it's so subjective. And it needs to work two ways, even though in order for that to happen both parties must understand what the other party means by "respect" themself.

For example, one June we walked to Boscawen-Un from St Buryan along some very muddy and overgrown footpaths (and I go bitten on the bum by a goose, but that's not strictly relevant). It was a bit of an arduous trek, for such a relatively short distance, and it took a long time and much effort. By the time we got to circle we were quite tired and glad to get there.

As we came to the gate, we realised that there was a large party (about a dozen) people sitting inside the circle. There was also another couple, not part of the group, sitting in the long grass inside the field but not in the circle itself.

It turned out the group were practising some kind of "ceremony". They were sitting inside the circle, leaning against the stones. Finger cymbals were in evidence, and possibly the odd bongo drum. The group were of mixed age, between 35-65 I would say.

Not wishing to disturb them, we went and sat in the long grass at the edge of the enclosure and had a snack, etc. The other couple were obviously doing the same (i.e. waiting to see the circle, but not wishing to interrupt the group).

We sat there for a while. And the "ceremony" went on for about an hour. The other couple had got up by this point, taken some pictures on the fringes of the circle, perhaps of stones not being sat against. And then they went, clearly a bit sad to have not been able to get into the circle. Another couple came, I think they were German. Then a lone man. All waited for the group to finish.

Anyway, at length the "ceremony" finished. I freely admit I was impatient by now, but we carried on waiting. The group obviously knew that various people had come and gone whilst they were there. They also knew there were still people there now. But instead of leaving the circle at the end to allow the others (who had all waited quietly and patiently) to have access to the stones, they then decided to carry on sitting there and started talking about various thing, work, kids etc. They clearly had no intention of leaving any time soon.

We gave up and left the circle, heading towards the road to the north. I was annoyed, I'll admit. As we got to the road, we noticed a mini-bus parked in the layby, which they had obviously all come in. This increased my irritation, as we had made the effort to walk to the site from some distance and couldn't get to see the stones, while they just drove up and effectvely prevented anyone else from having access.

Now, they didn't climb on the stones. They didn't damage the stones. They probably believed that their "ritual" was no doubt the kind of thing that druids used to practice there and that they were carrying on a millenia-old tradition.

But did they show any respect for any of the other visitors? No, they did not. Even though the others accorded respect and patience to them. Would the proposed code have any effect on them? I seriously doubt it, because they don't believe themsleves to be offending it. Would they have been offended if the other visitors had walked into the middle of their gathering, talking loudly and taking pictures? You bet they would.
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