Friday, 1 January 2010


It is New Year's Eve and we are at Avebury-to Mudhop, certainly: but we also have an underlying reason to be here on this day.

Our first stop though is West Kennet Long Barrow for a good stretch of the legs after the drive up here. It is a day that can be described as 'crisp', though not so crisp as to involve frost. Mind you, it's not far off this level of crispiness-we are both throwing fashion sense to the wind (not that we seem to have any of this commodity in the first place) and displaying ourselves to the world in all of our winter wrappings-essential against the freezing wind which is cutting across the Marlborough Downs. So; crisp in the sense that without our thermals parts of our bodies would be shrivelling up!

The walk up the hill to the long barrow sufficiently jump-starts our circulatory systems to ignore the aforementioned wind and, as ever, the stones give us a warm welcome. The short time we spend here this afternoon charges our batteries ready to fill the rest of the daylight hours with trudging through muddy fields, up and down hills, surrounding ourselves with this most enigmatic of landscapes and building up an appetite.

And due to a rather devious bit of forward planning we have ensured that the apex of this appetite building will coincide with our arrival at 'The Red Lion'. Here, for a small fee (actually about twenty quid), our Mudhopping metamorphoses into New Year's Eve relaxing, warming up and stuffing our faces full of food. All in preparation for our underlying reason to be here today......

...... Which is the Moon. For not only is it New Year's Eve, it is also a full moon and not only is it a full moon, it is a blue moon. As we both seem to possess a somewhat slightly off the elliptical approach to life, we had decided a few days ago that we wanted to view this moon whilst we stood on top of West Kennet Long Barrow. With this in mind we had been keeping an eye on the weather forecast every day of the preceding week, noting its predictions waver between snow, sleet, rain, dry, clouds and clear skies with each changing hour. By the the time we had left the house that morning only one thing was for certain; it might or might not be too cloudy to see the moon that night. So our campaign slogan for the day was 'Sod It, We Are Going Anyway'!

When we finally wrenched our well fed bodies out of the Red Lion to head towards our Sod It the moon was well up and playing peek-a-boo with us from behind broken clouds, clouds which were thickening fast. So much so that by the time we make our second walk up the hill to the Long Barrow the moon was completely hidden and we could tell that there was little chance of us seeing it that night. Boo! But there was other magic in the air for us; stood on that mound, with the great stones which screen the entrance to the tomb below us, we looked up at the patch of sky which was illuminated by the moon. Even from behind this thick cover she made her presence known as the light caught the edges of the huge black cloud giving it the sheen of burnished steel. Further away, where the cloud was patchier, this same light was giving the appearance of a foam flecked sea washing across the sky. Back on Earth we were surrounded by the darkness, a stillness and great calm as the wind, though still cold, dropped to a breeze. It was a very primitive atmosphere, a rare moment to stand and enjoy-and if some barrow wights had crawled out of the tomb to join us we would not have been at all surprised. But the best bit was saved for when we tried to leave.

We were sixty miles from home and the temperature was dropping, not wishing to run the risk of icy country roads it came time when we knew we must leave. But when we started to make our way back down the side of the barrow our legs suddenly made it clear that they were reluctant to do this-there was something more for us here tonight. Not knowing what this something was, and needing to get our bodies moving again, we decided to take a walk along the top of the barrow to its far end. Once there we turned to walk back (there being little else we could do) and then it happened. Rather like the cheesy ending straight out of Hollywood, at that moment a great split appeared in the thick cloud and the Moon was fully exposed in all of her glory. For a few minutes she did her 'doth shine as bright as day' bit, casting her full light upon us and creating long shadows over the countryside. This is why we came and, unexpectedly, we were not to leave without seeing it-giving rise to two loonies on a hill on a cold dark night, grinning for the fun in it all.

Happy New Year Folks!


M S Stanley said...

What a marvellous account. Thank you for posting.
BTW, as a life-long Fortean and bemused seeker of "truth" behind many fringe topics, I wondered whether you have ever - or plan to - mud-hop into the subject of crop circles? Both circle-hoaxers and researchers (like Colin Andrews)report having had distinctly odd experiences in the fields at night. And what of your adventures visiting stone circles? Anything odd ever happened to you inside them?

(Just thought I'd enquire, if you don't mind me asking. Oh, and Happy New Year!)

durogante mudhoppers said...

Crop Circles; this is a subject towards which we have a completely open mind-there being evidence that some are created by folk running around in the field with bits of wood on their feet, there are also crop circles which appear that stretch the boundries of possibility of them being created in this way.
We have Mudhopped into a couple of the circles but cannot report either of us feeling any of the powerful vibes that others have experienced, though we have seen a fair number of orbs in and around them (visible to the naked eye)And there is a particular mystery that has never been solved witnessed one of us. On a first encounter with a crop circle, about ten years ago, I wanderered through its design looking at the way in which it had been pressed down. It was quite a big affair with an outer circle and lines criss-crossing inside to create the complex pattern. So, if this was done using planks it should be possible to see which was done first-the outer circle or the inner design-by seeing where the corn overlapped. Only it didn't overlap, where any one part of the pattern met another the corn was actually weaved together. Strange!
In all, we both agree that however they come into being they are certainly magical creations. We will keep our minds open and explore them whenever we can.
As for the stone circles, the odd happenings are so frequent as to be the norm-especially when we spend time in them after dark. To be accompanied by spirits, or to see them moving around us, is something which we know is likely to happen-and we always get told if our presence is not welcome (and, obviously, at these times we leave). We have found that it is never uncomfortable when these spirits are around and there have even been times when one or both of us have felt a spirit so strongly that communication with it has happened.

Many thanks for your interest and your feedback.

M S Stanley said...

Many, many thanks for sharing your fascinating experiences. I appreciate your candour in these marginal subjects and agree that an open-minded approach is the healthiest.
As the only member of my family who has yet to experience anything remotely otherworldy, you can imagine my frustration as my ghost-meeting brother, my tulpas-spotting father, my out-of-body- experiencing wife and my UFO-encountering father-in-law have absolutely NO interest in these things whatsoever! Perhaps I have a dampening effect on the ether?!
I have just acquired a digital recorder and intend to try and capture "spirit voices" (EVP). Your account of entities in and around stone circles made me wonder whether EVPs recorded within these ancient places would reveal snatches of an archaic language.

Thanks again and happy snow/mudhopping!