Sacred geometry

Charles Cowling



In an as-told-to piece in today’s Sunday Times, extreme expeditioner Ed Stafford describes the hardships he underwent when he was dumped naked on a desert island. He found the loneliness and isolation especially difficult to bear. 

“My best technique for staying sane was something the Australian Aborigines taught me. I built a stone circle and whenever the panic or anxiety got too much I would go and sit in it and feel safe and happy again. It’s a simple technique, but it worked. I think I’d have spin out otherwise.”

A nice thing to have in a natural burial ground, perhaps? 

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Jenny UzzellCharles CowlingJames LeedamCharlesRichard Recent comment authors

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James Leedam

As you probably know Charles, Cothiemuir Hill natural burial ground in Aberdeenshire includes a neolithic stone circle at the summit of the hill – the stones there are simply beautiful and the recumbent stone is unbelievably huge and whale like.
Coincidentally, I have recently proposed an earthwork circle at a future natural burial ground as a place to gather and to add features to a relatively flat piece of land. My inspiration came from Herbert Bayer [] and Richard Long [].

Jenny Uzzell

Brilliant, James. Thanks!
I’ll add it to our ‘wish list’!

Jenny Uzzell

I don’t necesarily recommend it, Charles. On a rest between ‘pulls’ I lay on my back half way up the hill wondering why I had thought this would be a good idea. Keith (who, on account of an old injury had been given the camera instead of a rope) stood over me and with mild concern and great politeness enquired ‘Have you died?’ And that was only a fairly little stone compared to many I have seen and there were at leat 100 of us!


I doff my seasonal headgear (Russian-style with furry earflaps) to you, Jenny! I am ashamed to say that I have never shouldered a sarsen in the cause.

Jenny Uzzell

Oh I’m entirely up for a stone circle, Charles. We have a recently built one just up the road. I even helped pull one of the stones up the hill. The respect I have for the builders of the originals as a result is boundless!


A stone circle is all very well on a desert island but on the rainy isle of Blighty perhaps they could stretch to a gazebo lined with memorial benches.

Jenny Uzzell

Quite, another tip for survival…don’t spend 60 days on your own on an island unless there’s a REALLY GOOD reason!!

james showers

Grasping at straws, it seems to me……… not so much the rock island thing – it’s tough out on your own – but doing this kind of hi-viz career boosting stunt for TV.
Give me Ray Mears any wilderness night.