Walking the Trelew Line

On May 29th as part of the CASPN’s annual day of walks and talks I led a walk from Boscawen-ûn following the Trelew line visiting a number of standing stones on route.

The Trelew line was first identified by Sir Norman Lockyer who was considering astronomical alignments from Boscawen-ûn to local features. He suggested the Trelew standing stone was in a November setting position when stood at the circle. Since then John Michel identified an intervening menhir, called Chyangwens, this is found in a local farm hedge. Visible from miles around, it is an impressive piece of granite. Another stone Toldavas extends the line further on from Trelew towards the Lamorna gap on the south coast of Penwith.

When I considered the Trelew line in my work at Boscawen-ûn I felt that it was less likely that it was used as an accurate marker of a solar position. Instead I consider that the stones radiating out from the circle were positioned to lead people either to or from the circle and the Lamorna gap, used as a route for people to travel between the two sites. A similar set of stones also radiate out from the Lamorna gap to the Merry Maidens!!

Why would people want to go to so much effort to mark a way between these two locations? If you are standing at Boscawen-ûn on the winter solstice the sun would rise out of the sea, from a cut in the horizon which the Lamorna gap makes. It is a nice idea to think that people would walk between these locations, maybe in and around the solstice itself. I don’t believe they stopped there, I think they could have continued their journey to Tregeseal to watch the winter solstice sunset in another sea gap. This time one that frames the Isles of Scilly. But that’s a longer story and for another time!!!

Anyway here are some pictures of the Trelew stone and Chyangwens.

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Summer Solstice approach at the Merry Maidens

As the summer solstice draws close. I thought it would be nice to image the position of the setting sun at the Merry Maidens stone circle in West Cornwall. Currently, the sun is setting to the north (right) of the locally important hill, Chapel Carn Brea. The sun will move only one solar width between now and the solstice (or about 0.5 a degree), as the daily displacement of the sun at this time is at its smallest.  If we to wind back time to the late Neolithic or early Bronze age the sunset would be another degree to the north or to the left in the images.  So the setting sun in the bronze age would be 3 solar widths to the north (right) in the images. So the solstice sun would be setting on the lower ridge between Chapel Carn Brea and the next hill in the photo which is called Bartinney.

Anyhow here are the images – enjoy.sundown Merry Maidens