Isle of Albion
Update (29.11.2009): These pictures were taken in my early days of photography, with a relatively primitive digital camera. The images aren't great, so I cleaned a couple of them with editing software in the hope of giving a slightly better impression of the site. Eventually, I hope to re-visit and take a fresh set of images.
Photographed: Monday 22nd September 2003
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The Nine Ladies is a stone circle consisting of nine small stones, all under a metre in height. The remains of a tenth stone also exist, exposed relatively recently by soil erosion. An outlier known as "The King's Stone" can be found 30 metres or so to the south-west. The stones are all local millstone grit. The circle is roughly 11 metres in diameter. In "BIRCHOVER: Its Prehistoric and Druidical Remains" (1926), J. Percy Heathcote asserts that three other circles were recorded in the immediate vicinity in 1793. No trace of these other monuments now remains.

The Nine Ladies features a creation myth similar to those associated with many other stone circles. Local legend records how nine young maidens danced at the Sabbath to the tunes played by a lone fiddler. For their sin, they were turned to stone. The maidens formed the stones of the circle, and the fiddler became the outlier. On one night of every year, the King's Stone is said to come to life and play again 'till dawn.

When visiting the Nine Ladies, I've always been lucky enough to find it relatively deserted. It's not uncommon to see ramblers passing through or to find the occasional hippy camped here for the night, but it's just as likely you'll have the place to yourself.

The circle is located high on Stanton Moor, surrounded by young specimens of ash, silver birch and beech. The tree-cover protects the visitor from the elements and lends a fay-like sense of enchantment to the site.