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  • Writer's pictureAndy Brown

Mên-an-Tol and Montol: Cornish Solstice Celebrations and Ancient Monuments: A Two Part Blog

Updated: Jan 29, 2022

Part1: Large Format Photography on the High Moors

Crick Stone in moody landscape
The Holed Stone with Companion


The weather in Cornwall for the month of December is generally pretty uninspiring with dull, damp drizzly weather day after day. but if I just sat at home and moaned about it, there would never be any Images to show in this Blog. What is inspirational are the number of events that happen at this time of year all around the county. One in particular that I have attended now on many occasions is Montol, the Midwinter Solstice festival held every December 21st since 2007 in Penzance. The The 2020 event was cancelled, so I resolved this year to make up the time and also combine the trip with film photography of at least one ancient monument the day before; December 20th. What could possibly go wrong? Lots of course as our winter season is marked by gales, rain and general gloom rather than crisp frosty mornings. Snow is unlikely here in Cornwall and the last major fall was during the 'Beast from the East' in 2018. However, the weather forecast was relatively promising with no rain forecast. That being said, the actual weather out on the wild Penwith Moorland could still be almost anything. So, I booked my favourite Penzance B&B, Torwood House and started researching ancient monuments in the area. My next step was to decide on an itinerary.


Granite Stile

Deserted Farms

The Mên an Tol

The Farmhouse

In Conclusion

The Images


Update! YouTube Video now Live!! See below...

Thanks for reading this rather extended Blog, of which there will be another part shortly covering both the Solstice celebrations and my frantic attempts to make portrait images of participants with the large format camera. Plus, as a bonus there will be some images shot with a new acquisition, my Zeiss Ikon Nettar square format folding camera. This 70 year old beast pleasantly surprised me, but you'll have to wait for the next Blog. In due course I'll probably review it on my Retromania channel for all things old and look at its photographic potential in more detail on my Chromagraph PhotoArt channel. Also, by then you will be able to watch the video of this shoot on YouTube. Due to the wind noise, I'm afraid, I'm going to have to narrate some or all of it, but at least you will be able to hear me. Fortunately, the Montol Video (my longest ever) is already uploaded, so Part 2 should be here soon. While I'm banging the drum, I'm going to start posting more stuff on Facebook, Instagram and maybe even Twitter soon, plus there will be more episodes of the big Darkroom series now that Christmas is behind us and hopefully the weather will be improving somewhat too. Of course good weather isn't essential for photography, but it's been so miserable here recently that motivation been lacking. Nonetheless, I've got loads of shoots in the pipeline, but as ever with me it may take some time.



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