Ancient Sites | Dowsing

Cumbrian Circles – Part 4: Mayburgh, King Arthur’s Round Table, Oddendale and Gamelands

October 13, 2009

Cumbria – September 27th, 2009

This is the final part (although it may be a long one) of our Cumbrian day out in late September of this year. Kal and I had spent the morning visiting the famous sites of Castlerigg and Long Meg, and then had retired to Penrith to reflect on the morning’s work. The afternoon promised much more to come – the intriguing sounding Mayburgh Henge, King Arthur’s Round Table right next door, and some smaller cairn circles that were situated close to the M6 motorway. Finally we would complete the day’s work at Gamelands stone circle nestled in the bosom of Knott Hill.


Not far from where we dined we discovered Mayburgh Henge, situated uncomfortably close to the very busy northern arterial motorway that links the borders of Scotland with the northern reaches of England – in itself an uneasy relationship historically. Mayburgh Henge is well signposted, sitting at the southern end of Penrith town. No-one else was visiting that day so we had the site to ourselves. From the old sketch shown below you can see the arrangement and scale of the site in relation to the so-called Round Table of Arthur, a site whose name is shared amongst many other ancient earthworks and sacred sites.

Thomas Pennant's diagram (1769)

We climbed the relatively tall earthenwork surround passing between the evenly spaced trees that line it. The dowsing rods showed us our relative entry points. I asked to enter by the original entrance and was taken to a gap closest to the motorway on the western side. From there a path snaked into the centre, and I made my way in as Kal followed his own entry point – one that was most energetically suitable to him. The arena housed a sturdy standing stone, a remaining one of perhaps four that had stood there at one time.

Mayburgh Henge (10)

I dowsed for the aura of this stone and found one some 20 feet away from the stone. My next quest was to find the most suitable power centre for me – typically a female energy centre. I found one, lip-shaped and of a slightly different grass to the surrounding greenery. The power centre was at the very edge of the stone’s nemeton field (or aura). The lip shape didn’t connect with me until I heard Kal exclaim and point to a white shape in the grass near to the the stone. I went to inevstigate….

Mayburgh Henge PC lip shaped

It was a pair of white knickers! Obviously some courting had been going on here during the quieter hours and these undergarments had been frivolously abandoned in the frenzy! There was clearly something quite attractive in the energies of this space still!

Mayburgh Henge (3)

We circled the central stone looking for something that we couldn’t vocalise. As I stood exactly opposite the entrance something emerged from the stone in the afternoon light – a face in the stone, like at so many other sites.  This looked like the face of a heavily bearded man, or perhaps a lion with a majestic mane. Photographs never do the phenomenon the justice that one’s own eyes do, but I hope that if you unfocus your perception a little you might catch the essence of what we saw in the stone. At least he appeared to be smiling!

Mayburgh Henge - face in stone

Kal asked if there was anything “energetically interesting” (which has come to mean something that we haven’t discovered before, or which would help us on our journey through dowsing) and the answer came back a flat “No”. I did the same and got the same response. Perhaps our time would be better spent elsewhere, we concluded. The site seemed….changed. Perhaps we were there are the wrong time, or the site was too damaged. Whatever the reason I began to look for the exit, which I found to be a gap in the northern edge of the earthwork ridge.

Mayburgh Henge (9)

King Arthur’s Round Table

On the way to Mayburgh we had passed a sign for Arthur’s Table, so on the way back out we stopped briefly so that I could photograph it. We didn’t bother with any dowsing here as there were several cairn circles and more that we wanted to get to. There didn’t seem to be much to the site. I trusted Kal’s intuition – he normally gets attracted to interesting sites, and that’s why he’s so useful on these expeditions, although we are both sometimes surprised by places that initially seem to be nothing at first glance, but which turn up unusual features. I leave you with some pics and info to decide for yourself.

Arthur's Round Table

Arthur's Round Table (1)

I tend to agree with the views of authors like Thomas Green, who wrote the book “Concepts of Arthur“, and who believes that Arthur was a mythical archetype who had subsequently been subjugated and sublimated into historical record, force-fitted if you like, for the aspirational purposes of whomsoever needed him influence during their own reign as King of Britain. I tend to agree that Arthur fits the archetypal sun hero mythology with an extra dimension of being seen as one with the land.

Oddendale and Seal Howe

The clouds began to thicken and the wind picked up markedly as we arrived at Oddendale by a road that can barely be described as such. It didn’t take us long, tramping over the bleak limestone laden moorland, to decide that the rag-tag arrangement of rocks that barely resembled any form of structure might be the remnant of a cairn circle as noted by Burl, but frankly we didn’t care. Follow the link in the previous sentence for a better view, because it appears more exciting on that page. For us, we didn’t “get” anything about it or from it. The wind whipped us, and rain threatened, and we decided that we should head back to the car in search of more rewarding features.

Oddendale cairn (2)

In retrospect I think we missed the point with this circle, but at the time we weren’t keen on it. We laughed at the idea of dowsing what was left and headed back to the car down the track that was marked as the Coast To Coast trail. As we go to the point where the trees met the path our eyes were drawn to a small ensemble of rocks, almost simultaneously. Here was a ring of stones, right next to the path, but not marked on the OS map. How curious? Who was it not on there, because clearly the stones were a circle, and equally clearly they were obviously not a new construction?

Suddenly this assumed a huge importance as it was found to be quite energetic. Our dowsing motivation returned with a vengeance and we were suddenly highly engaged in this tiny circle of small stones in a way that the larger circle a few minutes ago had not managed to do. We soon found that, although highly energetic, the circle was in need of “repair”. As usual, Kal dowsed for which of us should get engaged int he task, also as usual hoping that it wasn’t him. It was him! I laughed – served him right for trying to be lazy! “The rods had spoken!”

Kalmott Cairn Circle (9)

I watched in amusement as Kal assembled some increasingly large rocks and placed them appropriately at points around the circle, wherever the dowsing rods informed him to place them. Once he tried to pick up a tiny rock that was next to a large boulder and he gave me a sideways glance. Oh no! I dowsed for which rock would be most suitable to the task and confirmed it was the larger rock, which again amused me no end.

Kalmott Cairn Circle (6)

Kal introduced the healing energies of a nearby tree into the circle to kick-start the healing process, and then confirmed that the process was complete, as the energies were already beginning to change in response to the new rocks, the intent that Kal had invested, and the living energies of the tree. We rather punningly named the ring cairn “Kalmott ring cairn“- a combination of our given names – and on our return I posted it to the Megalithic Portal. To our astonishment, the entry was validated and published.

Kalmott Cairn Circle - entrance stones

As we left the site we spotted three stones in alignment. How had we missed this on the way in? How had we missed the cairn circle? It was all very strange. Here were three stones that I dowsed as entrance stones. They were in alignment with the Oddendale circle and the cairns on the hilltop in the distance. It looked to us like this whole area had at one time been full of important megalithic structures. It certainly was for us!


Gamelands circle was quite easy to get to as well. Seems as though many of the circles in Cumbria are quite accessible, or perhaps that’s just how it happened for us on this visit. I found an entrance point on the eastern side, shown in the picture below. Directly behind us to the east was Knott Scarr, a rather dramatic small hill that also seemed to feature a pair of cairns atop it, just like Oddendale. Taking this concept further I dowsed as to whether there was any energy coming down from the hill, like at Monzie Circle in Perthshire. Indeed there was, and it flowed straight into the entrance of the circle. Interesting, I thought. A feed.

Gamelands Stone Circle (1)

Our respective power centres were quite close to each other. Mine was at a recumbent smooth rounded female stone topped with lovely fresh sheep droppings. Nice! Kal’s was a less than obvious male stone without the usual point. Most unlike Kal! He’s always got a point to make!

Gamelands Stone Circle (8)

Whilst I dowsed away quite happily, tracing flows around the circle and finding energy paths, Kal was busying himself making friends with the herd of cows on the other side of the fence. Bovine relations took a curious turn when Kal tried to walk away and some of the cows began to follow his movements, heading towards the open gate that linked the stone circle field to the cow’s pasture land. Ut-oh! Cows are too curious about dowsing for my liking. I had had a recent experience at St.Elmo’s Summer House in North Wales where I had to abandon my dowsing when the cows got quite upset at me walking around the ring, and finally they chased me away. Here was Kal positively inviting the cows to come and join the dowsing work. I foresaw imminent bovine botheration coming out way.

Gamelands Stone Circle (7)

I found a strong link between two female stones on either side of circle. The farther one was heavily pitted with cup-marks or weathering, or heavily weathered cup-marks – it wasn’t possible to tell which with this limestone rock. Either way, that was the only female connection, as the rest of the site was very male-dominated, possibly a result of the strong energy flow off the hill.

Gamelands Stone Circle (10)

Shortly after finding this out the cows got too inquisitive and began to crowd us – abandon ship! It was getting late and we had several hours of traffic jams to get through yet, although we didn’t know that yet.

Gamelands Stone Circle

The day was done. We had seen some amazing circles, saw the most beautiful landscapes, a stunning sunset, had done some worthwhile dowsing, had meditated purposefully at several sites, and had a good laugh as we went around too. And all this was mere scouting for the inevitable further visits we will do with some more intensive dowsing, mapping and meditating in the coming months. Cumbria is a treasure trove of great sites!

Here are some links to external sites with more information:-


Leave a Reply