This pic was taken today - I'm really happy with how the jaguar looks.
Tuesday, 31 August 2010
Sunday, 29 August 2010
As the weather seemed fair enough this morning we decided to conquer our 5th county top (Oxfordshire) - and also planned to visit Silbury Hill later in the day if time allowed. As is usual we missed our turning and then decided to visit Silbury Hill first followed by Uffington and White Horse Hill. On the way to Silbury Hill we stopped at The Sanctuary in Avebury - a circle monument that was originally formed of wooden poles and later standing stones. The circle was destroyed in 1724 to allow the field to be ploughed. In 1930 the site was excavated and the post holes were marked with concrete. Many human bones (incuding an adolescent interred in a pottery jar) were found here and it is thought that some kind of ritual sacrifice may have taken place here.
You can see an aerial view of the stones here to get a better idea of the layout.
On to Silbury Hill, the Europe's largest man made neolithic monument. In 2007 it was suggested that the hill was originally constructed in a spiral and that the spiral may have served as a processional walkway to the flattened top. The hill would originally have been bare chalk and would have stood out against the greenery all around. No burial site has been found here. There is no public access to the hill but it's an awe-inspiring site from the viewing point. It has been calculated that it took 18 million man hours to build (equating to 500 men working for 15 years) using only rudimentary tools - antlers and pickaxes.
Onwards to our main destination, the White Horse at Uffington. This view was taken looking North from White Horse Hill.
Picture taken from the head of the horse looking towards Dragon Hill
You can't see the horse from the ground very well as it's on a 30-degree slope, the best view is from the air (video of the horse). What makes this remarkable is that the horse was first constructed in the bronze age, approx 1000BC and has been maintained throughout history never being lost under the downland.
Similarities have been made to the Silchester Horse found in the Roman dig (though believed to pre-date Roman Britain)
Looking down on Dragon Hill, a natural escarpment with a flattened top. Legend has it that this is where St. George slew the dragon and that vegetation doesn't grow where the dragon's blood was spilt.
Alan and Charlie (on the Trig Point) on White Horse Hill
261 m (856 ft)
As you can see from my hair it was a bit windy!
Looking back at the horse from Dragon Hill - trying to stay upright felt like Hill Surfing! This is probably the best view of the horse from the site, you can get a slightly better view from the road to Avebury but it's a very busy and fast road with only a few places alongside to park.
And as we were walking down the hill back to the car we heard a familiar roar and could hardly believe our luck as XH558, the only surviving Vulcan bomber (she's 50 this year) flew low over the hillside. After circling twice she roared off to the North. I have loved this beauty since watching her grace the skies at the airshows I visited as a child.
This was a low altitude flypast much to the delight of everyone on the hill. Alan saw her fly last year at Cosford but I wasn't with him so this is the first time we've been together and seen her fly.
Friday, 6 August 2010
My friend Tanya used to design cross stitch and she has put up all her out of print designs and one new special design in this auction - in total 28 designs.