Men-An-Tol is a megalithic stone formation near Penzance, on the road between Madron and Morvah. Since it's only a few miles away from where we were brought up, neither my sister nor I had ever visited it! There is a small parking area by the road, and then you have to walk for about 15 minutes, and go over a stile to get there. Having said that, there were several people who turned up while we were looking at the stones, but only one couple from England, and we were the only Cornish visitors.
The stones are a lot smaller than I'd imagined, they come up to about waist height on me, and I'm only 5ft 4ins. There is a some controversy about what the stones actually are. Some people think the round stone must have been the entrance to a tomb, others that the stones form part of a stone circle. There have been rituals associated with crawling through the circular stone through the ages, and that it cured rickets seems to be the most popular. While we were there, two people did crawl through the stone. Of course, with an upright stone and a stone with a hole next to it, it also has a strong connection to fertility, so perhaps the couple weren't too concerned about rickets!
Something else in the landscape that struck both me and my sister were the stone walls in the nearby farm. These are amazing constructions with huge stones at the base which would have needed at least a couple of people to move. The rest of the walls were made up of carefully placed rocks, that fitted together beautifully. I say 'beautifully' since the walls were lovely to look at, especially with a mixture of sun and shadow highlighting them. As we were walking up the lane we also passed over some culverts for little streams which were roofed over with stones that were the same size as the standing stones. I've no idea when these walls and culverts were created. Was it Victorian times, after the Enclosure Acts. Mediaeval times, Roman or even back at the time Men-an-Tol was created? It was impossible to tell just from looking at them since they had a timelessness which could have come from any age.
The reason why we decided to go there, is fj_warren had decided to use a picture of Men-an-Tol as the cover of her second book in the Trevu Trilogy: Familiar Strangers. The image of the two standing stones and the circle between them is a neat metaphor for the two characters in her books, and the way their lives interact. The book will be published on October 2nd and is available from Amazon UK