The Bay of Morlaix from where we stay with its many rocks and islands and changing tones always reminds me of something Heather Dohollau said in a poem about seeing the Bréhat archipelago for the first time, that it was 'like a Leonardo or a Patinir', so that I half-expect to see a wonderfully out-of scale St Christopher half a mile high and confounding all perspective, striding across the water towards us.
We set off from the door at Kerbiriou, and for the first time walked around the entire edge of the small peninsular, skirting round the cairn of Barnenez, which is its main claim to fame. We did once pay admission and visit the cairn, but I'm afraid that, as with many prehistoric sites and monuments, it doesn't do a great deal for me. I have difficulty connecting, perhaps the imagination required to fill in the gaps is beyond me, but also the amount of artifice and making it up of those charged with preserving them sometimes seems unconvincing. Tom, who's done a bit of archaeology, grumbles rather about the French tendency to rebuild and reconstruct, but in fact in many later sites, such as mediaeval castles, I quite enjoy this, though I appreciate it might not always be quite authentic, and deny one the pleasure of ruins.
So anyway, this time we didn't go to the cairn, but followed the coastal path. At the top of the peninsular is the island of Sterec, about which I can find nothing on the web in English or French but images, which rather reflects how delightfully unknown and unfêted this whole small corner beyond the cairn is. It's one of those part-time islands, like the Île de Callot, which you can walk to at low tide, but I'm not sure what's there when you get there, and anyway on this occasion we couldn't.
I don't really know what this line of posts was for, or how long it had been there, or anything about it. Our hosts might have known, but I didn't think to ask them.
If its function was to hold back land fall, it seemed to have been replaced by this cage of pebbles. This kind of structure we've observed on a much grander scale filled with large grade aggregate holding up road building in quite precipitous places. I've wondered if the metal will ever corrode, bringing down concrete, bypass and all, but decided it's not my problem.
They probably aren't all that old, but sea and weather had done their work and they seem quite ancient and mysterious, full of potential but ungraspable meaning, like a woodhenge or processional alignment,
Unknown walkers and pilgrims had left their mark on them, in the form of those ubiquitous balanced stone towers
and precisely chosen pebbles placed in and across the gaps between them.
They were studded and pierced and infibulated with metalwork,
tattooed by rust with shamanic faces,
Even more pictures on a web album here.