North-easterly: Sidetracked by stones

As the tides would not allow us to cross to Holy Island before eleven, three of us were on the road early to visit a stone circle. It had been a late decision… very late, in fact, but as Gary lives a flight away in the Czech Republic, the chance to spend a little extra time together was too good to miss…and for that time to be in the ancient landscape. The others would have been long abed before we decided it was the right thing to do, or else they might have joined us as we drove out towards the Singing Stones of Duddo.

We had been there almost exactly a year before, on our way to the Silent Eye’s workshop weekend in Inverurie, organised by our friend, Running Elk. We had told the stones that we would be back one day, but had not expected that our return visit would be quite so soon. Duddo, though, is not only the best of the stone circles in the area, it was barely out of our way to the morning’s rendezvous.

There is a fair walk to the Four Stones of Duddo, which is their other common name. There are actually five, and were originally seven, but you almost have to be amongst them before you can see the shy fifth.  As we walked across the fields, the way seeming much shorter as we strode out with our long-legged friend, we told him of our previous visit, but not too much… the beauty of these places is in feeling them for yourself.

I can never look at the approach to this circle without thinking of Tolkien’s description of Amon Sûl, Weathertop, whose name in the elvish Sindarin means ‘hill of the wind’. He describes it as being crowned with teeth, and I have to wonder if Tolkien visited Duddo…and if it is the wind through the stones that has made them sing for well over four thousand years.

As we approached the threshold of their space, surrounded by the gilded remains of the summer’s harvest, a cloud of butterflies and dragonflies rose up and around us, in an unexpected moment of pure magic. Impossible to capture on camera…and perhaps a gift that needs nothing but memory, I have never seen anything like it before… and it happened again, a little while later, as we left.

The weathered and grooved stones are much bigger then they first appear, dwarfing the human frame. They have a presence that goes beyond mere size, though and seems ‘dimensional’ in a way that cannot be measured, except in the effect it has on those who walk between them. The vast horizon extends full circle around the stones, fringed by the Cheviot hills and frozen clouds streaked with rainbow-hued luminescence. It was a perfect morning.

The presence of the stones took on a more tangible form as we shared a makeshift ritual, honouring the land, the circle and the Light of life. Such moments are impossible to share, they can only be experienced and their effects assimilated. Magic happens in its own way and its own time.

Reluctant though we were to leave the circle, we left in good time to meet our friends as soon as the tide withdrew from the causeway that would allow us to cross to Holy Island. If it hadn’t been for a peloton of bike riders, we would have made it on time too… but a whole host of them were blocking the traffic on the narrow country lanes.

As it was, we were a few minutes late… but we missed the crowds and drove across the deserted, sea-damp path to Lindisfarne…

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
This entry was posted in adventure, albion, Ancestors, Ancient sites, Don and Wen, mystery, Photography, Sacred sites, Spirituality, Stuart France and Sue Vincent and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to North-easterly: Sidetracked by stones

  1. jenanita01 says:

    They definitely look like huge teeth!


  2. Ah, thank you for the waves of energy this brought on. Methinks those stones were smiling from your visit. They truly are magnificent and I have a strong impulse to hop over and hug them. 🙂 ❤


  3. If these are the teeth, I don’t think I’d like to see the creature that’s attached to the mouth!


  4. Widdershins says:

    Saw the title, thought to myself, ‘Of course you were.’ 🙂


  5. Jennie says:

    Just amazing!


  6. The butterflies and dragonflies are very powerful symbols of transformation – interesting under the circumstances. I think seeing the journey as a whole – the long trek through the seemingly barren and plowed fields on a day when the horizon is clearly in view, and then the butterflies and dragonflies suddenly arising as can happen when we experience the wonderful transformation that occurs in our lives during our studies with The Silent Eye Mystery School is no accident. Symbolism has been occurring everywhere around me and in these lessons and posts. It is no accident; they are signposts along the way, and we need to pay careful attention to them. As we come into October, a time of harvest and transformation for the earth, it is good that we are seeing so many things besides the word. Even those of us who are unable to make the journey in person can benefit from these posts immensely. I have always been aware of the autumn as a time of gathering the bounty of the year’s growth and development. It is a time of great color and beauty. Trees lose their leaves to make ready for new growth to begin, and everyone is gathering for great feasts and celebrations of warmth, friendship and joy of the earth’s many blessings upon us all. What a great time to be studying this amazing course. Thank you so much Sue, Stuart and Steve.


    • Sue Vincent says:

      This visit was special for very many reasons, Anne, we were very aware of that at the time.
      Autumn is a beautiful time of year, bt then, they all are, each in their own way and their own time 🙂


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