This magnificent stone circle is the first that we ever shot serious footage at for ‘Standing with Stones’. Sadly though, Scorhill does not appear in the final film. Why? Well, Rupert and I first shot ‘serious footage’ for Standing with Stones way back in 2001 – and then we were not filming for the DVD as we know it, we were filming for the original 10 minute pilot film that we conceived as a try-out for a broadcast series. You can see the pilot in the ‘Extras’ section on the DVD. Since filming there though, we discovered that the owner of the part of Dartmoor on which Scorhill stone circle stands is particularly touchy about people visiting the site, let alone photographing or filming it. As the land owner lives in estate right next to the walk up to the site, we thought it best not to push our luck when it came to making the DVD and therefore removed it from our plans.
However, if you click on the image below you will be treated to the opening sequence from the 2001 pilot – all shot at Scorhill stone circle.
“It looks like a target to me!” So says Rupert of the Yellowmead quadruple stone circle in the South West of Dartmoor. Not that he or I seriously suggest in the film that it was for Neolithic hunting practise (“Nearest spear to the middle wins!”), but this is one of the first times in the film that we hint that playing and having fun with ideas around Neolithic and Bronze Age sites can sometimes unlock thoughts that are well worth pursuing.
In this case, Rupert’s seemingly off the cuff remark sparked off a train of thinking that informed a number of Rupert’s observations and conjectures that appear throughout the film. The lesson though, is not that we can derive any definitive answers from allowing the mind a bit more freedom when trying to interpret these sites, but that sometimes the evidence can yield valid alternative explanations when queried from “outside the box”.
We would have to wait until we got to Stanton Drew before our convictions became strong enough to follow through with the fruits of this line of thought, and I’m afraid Yellowmead remained mute in the face of Rupert’s half joke.
The astonishing thing about Yellowmead (apart from its quadruple concentricity, that is!) is that it is still there after all these years. Or that any monument remains standing on Dartmoor. Whatever its popularity with the folk who assembled it, it is certainly very popular with the animals of Dartmoor, especially the Dartmoor Ponies who seem to derive enormous pleasure from backing up to the stones and using them as a good scratching post. You can see the stones rocking in their sockets as they do so - quite alarming.
Dartmoor – 21st June, 2006
I really can’t explain this. Altitude sickness? Dartmoor madness?
We’re sitting high up on the tor with open views across the moor. Perhaps we’re just feeling pleased with ourselves. We had just finished filming the view across towards Evil Combe and Rupert’s piece to camera. We’d probably just had a fag. Truly, honestly – nothing more than a cigarrette.
Devon, 10th December, 2005
The whole enterprise nearly came to an end this morning. My GPS took me up a Devon lane that was far too narrow for The Bus and it almost became wedged fast in the road. At the time, I thought the sides were being torn off but the damage was far less than I imagined. However, you can see here that the awning has been lost
and the the door is buckled.
For the full story, see ‘Early Days Shooting Standing with Stones‘.
Early days for this blog but about time I did something about the early days of making this film.
A couple of months after Rupert and I had finally decided to ‘green light’ production of Standing with Stones, in early December 2005 I set off on my own towards Cornwall to do some preliminary filming and exploring. At that time Rupert was still living on the Isle of Man and logistically it did not make sense for him to make a special journey, especially as no script had been written yet. Most importantly, it was a chance to test the way we had chosen to work and to make sure that the motorhome we had bought really was up to the job of mobile hotel, office and camera car. I had invested specially in what I thought was the best camera for the job (given limited resources) – a brand new Sony Z1e HDV camcorder. High definition (albeit heavily compressed) to do justice to landscape and texture, lightweight enough to be carried up mountains along with the other gear and cheap enough so I could buy it.
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