Friday, January 20, 2012

Dolmens reminders of neolithic past

We have many different walks within a ten minute drive from our house. Today we opted to  take the winding road that passes right  by our house and go up the mountain in search of some dolmens. Apparently, there are hundreds of them and we haven't seen one. The single chamber neolithic tombs consist of three upright stones and a capstone. At one time they would have been covered with earth that has now worn away.

We have excellent maps of the trails and drove directly to the neolithic dolmen trail, parked  and there it was. We didn't even have to leave the car but of course we did. The first dolmen had been restored but the standing stones of the others were as they would have been in 4000 or 3000 BC. This area and the Languedoc in France are well known for the stones. We followed the track a bit further but it was really rough and overgrown and we decided to go on a different trail

The next path we followed took us past the only working farm that we've seen in the mountains. As on our previous walk up the mountain there was clear evidence of cows but we didn't see any. Do the same seven or eight cows we saw last time we were up here leave these cow pats everywhere? If it is them they are certainly prolific. We followed a trail to an old ruined stone farmhouse that was completely overgrown with bushes. The view was spectacular as we looked over the mist covering the valley to the snowy Pyrenees. And in the distance we heard the clanging of the cow bells.

On our return trip down the mountain we passed a sign for a dolmen, which is probably only a ten minute walk from our house but there doesn't seem to be a clear path. We will leave this exploration for another day.

No comments: