Friday, 13 April 2012

Illane and Cappaboy Beg

Cappaboy Beg
Thursday 29th March 2012

A nice early start today, the sun is shining as I drink my cup of tea and have a look out in the garden.
Todays plan is four more stone circles !
I say plan... well, I've got a vague idea, a sort of half plan of where to go but not sure what order to do it all in. Whatever way we are going to do it we have to head through Bantry first. Decision made as we head out of the otherside of town -  Up the Cappanaboul Lough road,then take the turning towards Gortroe. We spot a standing stone in the field to our left - Shandrum Beg standing stone. I did know that there was a stone somewhere around here - it's marked on the map, but that doesn't mean a thing here in Cork ! A quick jump over the gate for a closer look and a photo ! Strange shape this one ! but a decent stone and worth seeking out. A good start to the day !
Shandrum Beg
Further on down the lanes, I hear my first Willow Warbler of the year singing away, just as we turn off down a rough track... a real rough track,possibly even, the worst one so far ! it goes on.... and on.... until we get to Derryarkane farmhouse at the end.
There's no answer !  I don't want to wander off over the fields without asking - It's a shame but it looks like this one is out for today !
So we turn round and take the track back. A tractor is heading towards us driven by a youngster. We ask if we can go up to the circle, but he tells us that the circle is in Kealkill ! He is as helpful as he can be, and is unaware of the stones that we are looking for and gives us rough directions for that one. We've been to Kealkill before.... it's obviously the well known circle in the area. I'll have to see if I can get to this one from the other direction one day. Definitely don't want to inflict anymore damage to the suspension on my poor long suffering car.
Amazingly another car passes us on our way out - busy track this !
We head through Kealkill, stopping off at the shop for a few supplies.Then past the castle, turn left and through the lanes past Maughanasilly stone row to Illane Townland. There's a right turn with the Townland sign fixed to a stone so it's easy to find.We drive down to the end to ask permission. The nice old man who lives there says it's ok - if I'm up to it !
Illane Stone Circle

Illane Stone Circle
Back a hundred yards or so to the track on the right. I park up and leave J in the car. It's a windy old track up, coming to an end into a field. The track did carry on but is now too overgrown to use. There is now a choice (though I don't find this out until I come back !). Either over the rusty gate on the right or through the field and over the barbed wire fence. I go over the rusty gate and through the young(ish) pine forestry plantation eventually coming out onto the open hill.There are various animal tracks through which you can follow but It's not easy and I went more on instinct and luck than judgement.Once out, I head up for the highest point and scan the surrounding moorland. There's no sign.The map seems to be a bit off, but I eventually find the circle just 30 yards away slightly North East. A dinky little 5 stone circle. Aligned NE-SW with great views of Knockboy, Carran and Coningar. There is a cairn and standing stone adjacent to the circle and there should be another standing stone some 200 yards away somewhere ! but I can't see it. Though small, it's still another nice circle and I'm certainly glad that I've made the effort to get up here.
Illane Stone Circle
The sun is beating down, so I head back. This time, across the top of the plantation and over a gate. This is the end of the track that I came up on ! but as I mentioned earlier is well overgrown. I jump over the next gate and walk down through the field but find that I have to step over the barbed wire fence. It's not difficult though.Then I rejoin and follow the track back down to the car. Joanie had just been watching a Hare on the track, just before I got back !
We eat our sandwiches before heading off back through Carriganass and left up the main road, taking a left turning (signed Talagh Candles) for Cappaboy Beg NW. It's a long long lane and I'm wondering whether we're on the right road. Eventually we pass two old farmers having a chat. I stop and ask if this is the right way to the circle. They tell me that we are well off course and that the circle is in Kealkill ! This time I show the map and they say - you must mean the stones at the end of the road and to keep going and knock at the house at the end on the left hand side for advice.
Well, at least we are on the right road this time. We find the house and knock. A man answers. He has a really thick Cork accent, but he isn't the owner so can't give us permission to wander over. That is a shame ! We could see that it was a few fields over but it's another no goer !!
One more to try for, for today -
Back out to the main road and head in the Macroom direction, on past the school and park in a gateway about 750 yards further on. From here there's a good track up the hill to Cappaboy Beg SE - it's a steep walk up but easy enough with the track.There's a whole complex of stones here and the first thing to come into sight is the Four Poster and accompanying Standing Stone.
Its a fair size - and considered a circle even though it's more trapezoidal than square or circular.This is the first of the very few four posters that are recognised, that I have visited.
Cappaboy Beg Four Poster

Cappaboy Beg Four Poster with Standing Stone in ackground

Cappaboy Beg Four Poster
There is another possible standing stone over the other side of the track - not sure.Further up the hill is a stone pair. One massive stone and one small stone ! I follow the wall back down looking for the radial cairn circle and its accompanying standing stone. They aren't easy to find in the gorse but there they are ! The stone is against the dry stone wall and the cairn is quite large in diameter, but the stones are all low.
This would have been an important site back when it was put up and who knows what else is laying undiscovered on the peaty moorland. A ringfort has already been totally engulfed by the forestry plantation !
It really is hot up here, it really has been like a summers day. I head back down to the car for a drink . Two out of four - not too bad ! I'll be back for the other two one day soon !
Cappaboy Beg Standing Stone

Cappaboy Beg Stone Pair
Cappaboy Beg Standing Stone by Radial Cairn

Sunset over West Cork

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