A Travellerspoint blog

England - other mysterious phenomena

semi-overcast 20 °C

England has many ancient and mysterious phenomena in addition to the crop circle formations.

One of the most famous is Stonehenge, estimated age 3100 BC.
Stonehenge

Stonehenge

Another which I personally find fascinating is the stone circles at Avebury, argued to be the most impressive of all remaining prehistoric earthworks in Europe, age 2400BC. (To give a perspective on size, the blue spot on left is Chas walking through the stones)
Avebury stone circles

Avebury stone circles

Then there is Silbury Hill, the tallest prehistoric human-made mound in Europe and one of the largest in the world. It is similar in size to some of the smaller Egyptian pyramids. This is part of the complex of Neolithic monuments around Avebury, which includes the Avebury Ring and West Kennet Long Barrow.

Another is Wayland's Smithy long barrow - a large chambered Neolithic tomb. Excavations in 1962-63 proved that it had been built in two different periods, around 3700 and 3400 BC.
Wayland's Smithy Long Barrow

Wayland's Smithy Long Barrow

There are also the famous white horses - at least 24 of them. Most of them are chalk hill carvings with many of them in the Wiltshire area. Most of them date from the last three hundred years or so, though the origins of some are impossible to establish with any certainty. Only the Uffington white horse is of certain prehistoric origin, being some three thousand years old. This stylised prehistoric hill figure, 374 feet (110 m) long, formed from deep trenches filled with crushed white chalk on a very steep hillside. One wonders how it was created. Wayland's Smith is only a couple of miles of the Uffington White Horse. To see a full image of the horse log on to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uffington_White_Horse. Very impressive.

Uffington White Horse

Uffington White Horse

White horse, Cherhill

White horse, Cherhill

White horse

White horse

White horse

White horse

These images are only the few that I have seen. There are many more. These sites are maintained and preserved by Britain's National Trust, and some are World Heritage listed.

Some believe that there is a connection between the geometrical placement of stone circles and the geometry found in the crop formations.

Maybe .....

Posted by patsaunder 04:45 Archived in England Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

England - crop circle hunting!!

semi-overcast 20 °C

We arrived at Heathrow Saturday 31 July, found our hire car and set off for Marlborough - heart of crop circle country. We had booked a lovely B&B at Browns Farm for the 8 days of our visit. Very comfortable room (w. ensuite) in a lovely old 2 storey building surrounded by beautiful grounds and fields of crops. Peaceful.

Not long after arriving Hazel (our host) informed us there were two circles which were relatively close by. She showed us where to go on her ordnance map and we immediately set off.

For those not familiar with the phenomenon, crop circles are large formations which appear overnight in fields of crops from spring onwards until early autumn, with most arriving during the three main summer months. How they appear and what they mean has long been the subject of much controversy with the question still not fully explained or answered - are they man-made, or is there another mysterious explanation. While they have been found all over the world, two-thirds of the world's activity occurs in England, with an area around Wiltshire (known as the Wessex Triangle) having the most activity.

While they first came to public attention in the 1980s, they have been recorded for centuries. One of the earliest accounts is recorded in a 17th century document which appears to tell how a farmer discovered strange circles on his land. Similarly local farmers also recall having them in their fields all their life with reports that their parents and grandparents did also.

They appear in many types of crops - wheat, barley, canola, rye, maize for example, as well as other mediums, including rice paddies in Japan. Formations have also been found in wild grass, bracken and other undergrowth-type plants. Public interest began in the mid-80s with increased complexity in size, patterns and geometry of the circles since that time.

How did this all start for us.... well, it is actually Chas who is most interested. He first became aware of them on reading a book which my sister, Leonie, had at her home in Toowoomba, and was mystified. So off we set - Chas to do his own research on these mysterious circles, and me to share the excitement with him. We visited six beautiful circles which required lots of walking up hill, down dale. One circle took 40mins to walk to and then back again. Intrepid circle hunters!! However, I won't detail each of them individually, rather I thought I would just share my overall observations with you.

Crop circle

Crop circle

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DSC00008

Firstly was my surprise at the amount of interest worldwide. In our short time we came across people visiting from UK, USA, Norway, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, and Australia, some on organised tours. Yes, we were not the only ones from Oz! Two ladies from Switzerland, also staying at the B&B, have been coming every year for 10 years!! We had much interesting discussion over breakfast with them.

We arrived the weekend of a crop circle conference which brought together 'experts' from many associated disciplines. At the Silent Circle Cafe we sat in on a meeting with lots of enthusiasts (from very diverse backgrounds) to discuss past and present circles. It was fun speaking with everyone as they were open to speak with you and give their opinion or suggestions. We even had an impromptu concert at one of the circles when someone produced a fiddle and commenced playing. A very friendly group. That was fun.

RIMG0397

RIMG0397

The circles themselves ... they are beautiful and it was lovely to wander through the formation and get a sense of them. There were many visitors meditating, lying on the crop, groups holding hands etc. However, for me there was no evidence of ‘higher intelligence’ in structure of the circles, or their energy force. Having said that the circles are beautiful. I cannot understand how they are constructed in one night (especially with the short hours of darkness at this time of year) without the circle makers being seen. Many have very complex patterns with accurate geometric measurements. Some are very large and positioned in undulating ground making it even more astounding that complex and accurate formations can be made.

Lay of crop

Lay of crop

Lay of crop

Lay of crop

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DSC00013

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DSC00012

The attitude of the farmers is interesting and varied. If they are man-made this is criminal vandalism of the farmers crop. Some go with the ‘phenomenon’ and request a donation by visitors to compensate for the loss of their crop. Others angrily mow down the circles when they occur. One person has been prosecuted receiving a fine of 100 pounds (Hmm...). Our host at the B&B, while not wanting a circle to appear in their crops, was quite accepting stating her opinion that they can't all be man-made. However, she wasn't able to offer an alternative scenario.

RIMG0404

RIMG0404

Crop circle

Crop circle

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DSC00033

The believers start their discussion from the position that the circles are NOT man-made. The evidence they provide, in my view, is very subjective and lacks credibility and substance. However, if considering that 100% of circles are man-made, how is this being done? How many teams of men are maintaining this phenomenon, out at night, in all weathers, without someone leaking information, for the last 4 decades. If even some of them are man-made, what is the explanation for the rest???? If not man-made, is the only other option 'extra-terrestrial', or could there be a scientific answer.

And ..... are there vested interests .... If so, for whom? Why?

However, there is no denying that they are beautiful works of art. Someone/something is offering the world a beautiful gift. Take a look at the ones we visited:::

http://www.silentcircle.co.uk/circles2010.html

Milk Hill, Near Alton Barnes. Wiltshire Reported 25 - 07- 10 (31)
Roundway, Near Devizes. Wiltshire Reported 25 - 07- 10 (32)
East Field, Near Alton Barnes. Wiltshire Reported 26 - 07- 10 (33)
Windmill Hill, Near Avebury. Wiltshire Reported 27 - 07- 10 (34)
Whitefield Hill, Woodsend, Wiltshire. Reported 03 - 08- 10 (42)

Maybe that is the message - just enjoy...

Posted by patsaunder 04:44 Archived in England Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Skagen

.... you can go no further

sunny

Rikke and Aaron headed home Sunday evening leaving Chas and me to continue our journey north to Skagen. We were now on our own, but thankfully travelling with our ever supportive and knowledgeable 'Ken', our GPS.

Skagen is another very special part of Denmark at the northern tip of the mainland .. you can go no further. I had been to Skagen on my first visit to DK in 2003, and wanted to share it with Chas. We were very lucky to find an available room in the centre of town, as this is peak tourist season.

Again, beautiful fine day, blue skies, low 20s. We are amazed at how lucky we have been with the weather!! However, as both Aaron and Rikke had texted us separately to advise that a turn for the worse was expected on Wednesday, we decided to get out and about as soon as we arrived.

Our first visit was to Den Tilsandede Kirke - the church buried by sand. The church, which bears the name of Sct. Laurentii (Saint Laurence) the seafarer's guardian saint, was built in the second half of the 14th century and was at that time the largest church in the region. The sand drift started around 1600 finally reaching the church towards the end of the 18th century. The congregation had to dig their way into the church when they wanted to attend services. The struggle continued until 1795 when the church was closed by royal decree. Today only the tower of the ancient church is visible.

Skagen1 Den Tilsandede Kirke - Sand-Buried Church

Skagen1 Den Tilsandede Kirke - Sand-Buried Church

Skagen2 The stairs to the church tower

Skagen2 The stairs to the church tower

Skagen3  Looking out from Den Tilsandede Kirke's tower at the sand dunes which surround it

Skagen3 Looking out from Den Tilsandede Kirke's tower at the sand dunes which surround it

Skagen4   surrounded by the sand dunes

Skagen4 surrounded by the sand dunes

It is very interesting to imagine the struggles faced by the locals with the sand and having to walk away acknowledging defeat. This is an ongoing challenge, as our second visit to the Raabjerg Mile quite strikingly shows. This is an impressive area of the migrating dune which was formed on the west coast in the 16th century during the great sand drift which dominated the landscape until this century. The dune moves eastward towards the forest at a rate of 15 metres a year.

It is the largest moving dune in Northern Europe with an area of around 1 km² and a height of 40m (130 ft). The dune contains a total of 4 million m³ of sand. The wind moves it in a north-easterly direction up to 18m a year. The dune leaves a low, moist layer of sand behind it, trailing back westwards towards Skagerrak, where the Mile originally formed more than 300 years ago.

No matter which way you look, sand dunes are all around. Very impressive, and another example of the rugged but beautiful landscape of Denmark.

Skagen5   Raabjerg Mile - shifting sand dunes

Skagen5 Raabjerg Mile - shifting sand dunes

Skagen6  as far as I eye can see in all directions

Skagen6 as far as I eye can see in all directions

Skagen7   and there's more ...

Skagen7 and there's more ...

No visit to Skagen is complete without the obligatory trip to Grenen, Denmark's most northerly point where the two seas, the Skagerrak and the Kattegat, meet. This is one of the biggest tourist attractions of the area. We enjoyed the 20min. walk from the car park to the tip.

Skagen8   Grenen - the tip of Denmark

Skagen8 Grenen - the tip of Denmark

Skagen9   where the two seas meet - you can actually watch the waves coming together

Skagen9 where the two seas meet - you can actually watch the waves coming together

Skagen10   I can actually say I got my feet wet at the tip of Denmark

Skagen10 I can actually say I got my feet wet at the tip of Denmark

Skagen11   as did Chas

Skagen11 as did Chas

Another beautiful day - 23deg in sun but 17deg or so in the wind. We took time out for a coffee in the cafe to reflect on and enjoy the experience.

Skagen is famous for many things, as well as the sites we visited. Skagen was, and still is, a fishing port. However, it became famous in the 1870s when it became a summer destination for a group of painters and writers (known as The Skagen Group) attracted to the quality of the light of the area. This part of Denmark is actually called The Land of Light . They have more sunshine hours than the rest of the country and a longer period of light evenings and nights during summer.

They transformed it into a desirable holiday destination which still draws tourists from all over the world, and artists still come to experience the way the colours in the different landscapes mix together which helps to portray the different moods of the area. Art, music, and the special atmosphere are still the attractions. Chas and I spent our last morning at the Skagen Museum which is dedicated to the famous painters and poets of this time. If you ever make it to Skagen, this is a must see. The exhibition not only portrays their art but also provides an interesting social history of the people of the time which is beautifully presented.

Skagen12   Various remnants from WWII still visible

Skagen12 Various remnants from WWII still visible

Skagen13  Looking up the beach towards the lighthouse

Skagen13 Looking up the beach towards the lighthouse

Skagen14   Adding a holiday atmosphere to Skagen many of the houses are painted alike with pure white trim, brilliant yellow walls and red tile roofs.   Very pretty

Skagen14 Adding a holiday atmosphere to Skagen many of the houses are painted alike with pure white trim, brilliant yellow walls and red tile roofs. Very pretty

Skagen also has a very active pedestrian shopping precinct with lovely little shops selling Danish goods, busking performers and many busy restaurants. The fishing port also has restaurants with live music which are busy into the evening with the long daylight hours.

Skagen is definitely a special place and there was still much that we did not have time to see, both here and in Thy. We will definitely have to visit this part of Denmark again.

On arriving back in Aarhus on Wednesday, we had to say 'goodbye' to our lovely exchange home and prepare for our next adventure ..... crop-circle hunting in England.

Posted by patsaunder 01:03 Archived in Denmark Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

North Denmark

Thy National Park

sunny

On the weekend of 24 & 25 July, Rikke, Aaron, Chas and myself travelled to the north of Denmark to visit the beautiful area of Thy. This is a special area surrounded by the Limfjord and the North Sea. The locals are very proud of this unspoilt environment, part of which has been proclaimed Denmark's greatest 'wilderness' - the first and largest national park, an unspoiled nature area of 244 square kms.

Rikke's mum grew up in this area so Aaron and Rikke were very keen to share this with us. Rikke spent many of her childhood holidays here with her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

With kilometres of white, undisturbed sand beaches along the west coast, this is a major tourist area with many people coming for the summer holiday season. Many Danes have small summer houses which are only used during holiday time. In some areas the small villages actually close down over the winter months. You certainly get a sense of the ruggedness of this area with the strong winds and the surf blowing in from the North Sea. One of Europe´s best surf spots, known as 'Cold Hawaii' is on the coast at Klitmøller in Thy, and a world competition for windsurfing will be held here in September.

We stayed in a B&B on a farm (Munkebo) with chickens, sheep, donkey, ducks, dogs and cat. It was comfortable and close to everything. It was amazing beautiful summer weather, except for the ever present wind. Our first visit was to Nth Vorupør, a beautiful fishing village. It was very peaceful walking along the sand by the water with the sand dunes which seem to go on for ever. The dunes developed at the end of the last ice age and are still moving east.

Thy

Thy

Thy

Thy

Thy

Thy

On Sunday morning, Aaron, Chas and I rose at 5am to go hunting for deer and birds in the national park leaving Rikke to catch up on some much needed rest. Obviously we were only armed with our binoculars and cameras!! It was quite cold, with a strong wind blowing. We first tried the open areas looking for signs of the herd of deer. We then moved into the forest hoping to find our way to the observation tower. Aaron is an avid bird watcher and was able to point out different ones to us. This area of the park is one of only four areas in Denmark which has a mating pair of cranes. We were very pleased to be able to see them with the binoculars quite some distance away, initially in the water, and then venturing out onto the grassed area, which was special. The sun was just reaching the top of the trees when we decided to go home for breakfast 3 1/2 hours later. While we did not see the herd, we did see one beautiful deer running across a field. A lovely time together.

Thy National Park 5

Thy National Park 5


Thy National Park

Thy National Park

After lunch we went for a walk through a different forest to a lovely secluded lake. Rikke is definitely a 'water' person who has to get her feet wet whenever she can. It was a lovely peaceful area, and several other families arrived to enjoy it also while we were there.

Thy National Park 8

Thy National Park 8

Thy National Park 7

Thy National Park 7

To have a look at the map to get a better idea of where Thy is located, log in to http://www.visitthy.dk/international/en-gb/menu/turist/thy.htm

Remember to look at the photo gallery for more pics of this beautiful area. I have included captions on most, and it is lovely to see them in the 'Large' sizing.

Posted by patsaunder 02:44 Archived in Denmark Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Settling in

... at last

sunny

Have now been in Denmark for the last 2 weeks and have taken time to settle in to our first exchange home, become familiar with our local area and the Århus town centre, practice driving on the wrong, or should I say ‘right’ side of the road (Chas is doing very well), and just enjoy being here with Aaron and Rikke.

We are enjoying a lovely, relaxed environment in our exchange home. Our hosts have been extremely giving in making their home available for us. We even have fresh strawberries for our smoothies, raspberries, tomatoes, and herbs growing in the garden for our use. The flower garden is magnificent and we have enjoyed eating dinner outside in the mellow evening surrounded by the beautiful sights and smells around us. As it is light up to approx. 10.30pm we have also had fun sneaking around the garden in the late evening trying to catch the resident hedgehog family rustling in the garden for their evening meal ... no luck yet but we will keep trying to get a pic!!

Garden at 9 am

Garden at 9 am

Garden at 1030 pm

Garden at 1030 pm

We have had the most wonderful Danish weather since we arrived – beautiful sunny, warm days, a few showers only and lovely long, pleasant evenings. We are constantly being told “This is most unusual. Enjoy it while it is here because it won’t last!!”. As this is the Danish summer most families are on holiday. Consequently they are taking every opportunity to get their dose of summer sun. Which means picnics at the beach or the back garden, and family get-togethers. On our first weekend Rikke’s mum and dad (Anna and Erling) sailed their boat from Kolding to Århus to be with us. It was great to see them again and we enjoyed a lovely picnic at the Mosegård Beach a little north of Århus. Beautiful calm water with just a slight roll of wave as it reached the land (water temp a cool 21degC but this does not stop the Danes from enjoying a swim) sailing boats, and beech forest to the water. A beautiful natural environment. Going to the beach has a very different feel to the Aussie equivalent. As there is only a short period of the year to enjoy being outdoors (and even in summer good weather is not assured) the beaches have not been commercialised and remain pretty much in their natural state. Mosegard was packed with locals finding their patch of sand or grass to enjoy a picnic, a swim and their day in the sun - relaxed, yummy food, and family. It was a different experience from the commercialism, rush, hustle, parking problems and stress which can be part of a day at the beach in Auz.

Summer in Denmark

Summer in Denmark


Summer in Denmark

Summer in Denmark

We are only 10 mins from Aaron and Rikke and it has been wonderful to be with them, and to prepare dinner for them in our home after their day at work. Very hyggelig (cosy). We also renewed our friendship with Rikke’s family at her nephew’s (Carl Emil) birthday celebration, and it was lovely to meet his dad’s family also. It was fun also to listen to the conversations and test our limited Danish, with the inevitable ‘faux pas’ which caused much laughter and joking with us. Our Danish is coming along slowly..... We had a lovely day - lots of fun, laughter, good food, and football in the back yard with family and friends.

Celbration in Kolding

Celbration in Kolding


Celebration in Kolding 3

Celebration in Kolding 3

We have had a wonderful time wandering through the town centre and enjoying the relaxed Danish holiday atmosphere. The Jazz Festival was happening in our first week and there was a party atmosphere in town. We were also able to attend a concert to listen to great jazz. We have visited The Women's Museum (Kvindemuseet), one of the world's few women's history museums which gives an account of the life and work of Danish women over the years. Very interesting, and surprisingly there are many similarities. Also The Occupation Museum (Besættelmuseet) which portrays the dramatic events in Århus during the German occupation from 1940 to 1945 with the liberation of Denmark in the evening of 4 May 1945. Very thought-provoking. And the beauty of Århus Cathedral (Domkirke), the centrepoint of the town, with frescoes from the 15th century and much more.

Now that we have settled in we have many adventures planned. If the beautiful weather stays with us we hope to head north to west Jutland on the weekend, an area I have wanted to explore. It is away from the usual tourist attractions, sparsely populated but very beautiful. Then on to beautiful Skagen for a few days and the obligatory trip to Grenen to stand on the northernmost point of Denmark where the Baltic meets the North Sea.

Have a look at the photo gallery for more pics. Click on the subscribe button to be advised of our next post. We hope you link in again.

Posted by patsaunder 06:49 Archived in Denmark Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

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