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Devil's Jump (Natural Rock Feature) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Devil's Jump</b>Posted by Crazylegs14 Crazylegs14 Posted by Crazylegs14
22nd August 2015ce

Kildonan Point (Promontory Fort) — Fieldnotes

Guess it may well be an aphorism to state that the fort occupying the eastern-most extremity of Kildonan Point is well sited. 'With reference to what', the traveller might well ask, with some justification? Nevertheless it is difficult to counter that there is indeed an authentically ethereal atmosphere to be enjoyed here upon this rocky crag, the remains of an ancient settlement still encircled - at least for a good part of its enceinte - by the remains of a dry stone wall up to 4m thick (according to the RCAHMS - 1971).

Add some majestic, sweeping coastal views across Kildonan Bay to Ugadale Point to the north, Black Bay (south-west) and, last but certainly not least, eastward across Kilbrannan Sound to the Isle of Arran.... and it will be seen that visually aesthetic gold dust has been sprinkled around here, too.

The promontory fort stands above and a little to the approx east of the great round cairn at Kildonan Point, the substantial stonework protecting the apparent original entrance within the north-eastern flank initially misinterpreted by myself (in mitigation at a distance) as a companion funerary monument. Again according to the RCAHMS the settlement measures "internally 55m from NE to SW by about 64m transversely." As noted above the defences - at least those resulting from human agency - are not traceable around the full circumference of the fort, the south-eastern arc noticeably lacking in this respect. However since this sector features substantial rocky outcrops falling away directly to the sea, I reckon it's reasonable to assume that none were ever erected? Yeah, when Nature answers a potential problem so emphatically why elaborate. Why, indeed?

Having said that... the concrete Ordnance Survey trig pillar standing at the summit of the crag resides upon "a low stony mound 4.3m in diameter." Whether this cartographical aid now surmounts something far older is a rhetorical question pending an unlikely excavation. But it is nonetheless an intriguing thought.

As the afternoon drifts inexorably toward evening I must eventually retrace my steps across the foreshore back to the fabulous dun lying across Kildonan Bay and, subsequently, Kilmartin. Now it's fair to say Kilmartin Glen receives its fair share of architectural plaudits... and rightly so. However I've got my beady eye upon a much lesser known subsidiary site tomorrow... the chambered cairn at Baroile.
22nd August 2015ce

Kildonan Point (Round Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Guess I need to come clean and admit I had no intention of visiting Kildonan Point during this latest - well, second - sojourn upon Kintyre. Strange as that may seem in retrospect, given the excellence of the monuments to be found here. Suffice to say there was no master plan. There never is. Yeah, not even a night spent upon the Mull itself was sufficient to fire the relevant synapse in a brain not engaged with the appreciation of copious tea and muesli... and bring a well subsumed recollection of antiquarian typeface upon an OS map bubbling into consciousness.

Not surprisingly, given the site's obvious architectural and aesthetic quality, the sublimely positioned dun lying immediately across Kildonan Bay was the sole focus of my attention upon finally vacating the equally enthralling Balnabraid kerbed cairn. However as I recline upon the ancient wall top gazing contentedly across to Arran - as you do - something that looks suspiciously like a large stone pile catches my eye to the south, that is a little 'inland' from the promontory's terminal point. Now, given my well documented fondness for such features upon the landscape, annoyance generated by the subsequent confirmation of supposition by memory may seem somewhat paradoxical. Nevertheless I dig deep, drag myself to my feet and set off along water's edge to go have a look. The going is pretty rough, the grassy shoreline, riven by the infinitely repetitive actions of high tide, eventually merging with rock and, finally, beach enlivened by the skeletal spars of a boat long since past its sell by date.

From here it is but a short meander up a shallow rise to determine that my eyes - not to mention dormant memory - did not deceive me. Yeah this cairn is really something special.... arguably second only to the great Correchrevie should you happen to be contemplating the round cairns of Kintyre. OK the monument has been significantly damaged upon its eastern arc, a threatening mass of industrial strength gorse seemingly determined to mitigate against further loss with a show of unbridled ferocity... however enough stone remains in situ to give a more than convincing impression of overwhelming solidity. The RCAHMS (1971) gave the cairn's dimensions as "23m in diameter and 3m in height".... however... "a short stretch of a heavy boulder kerb, still visible on the SW, suggests that it originally had a diameter of about 18.5m".

As mentioned Nature has now initiated the process of reclaiming this great stone pile, perhaps with a little artificial assistance, if the presence of some delicate white flowers upon the summit is indicative of such? The Mam C would know. In fact the cairn could be said to resemble a rock garden executed in true 'no-holds-barred' Scottish style. Fine by me. What's more the view looking across Kildonan Bay and beyond to the high ground of Arran, the latter now periodically semi-obscured by an advancing cloud base, is excellent, if by definition somewhat muted of colour.

Eventually my attention is drawn to what appears to be a second, shattered cairn located very oddly upon the northern flank of promontory's end. Investigation duly resolves the apparent conundrum. Hey, it's not a cairn at all but part of a substantial, dry stone rampart demarcating what was once clearly a pretty powerful promontory fort gracing the apex of Kildonan Point.

It would appear there is to be no rest for the inquisitive.... yeah, no sleep 'til Kilmartin.
20th August 2015ce

Garth Hill (Round Barrow(s)) — Images

<b>Garth Hill</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Garth Hill</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Garth Hill</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Garth Hill</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Garth Hill</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Garth Hill</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Garth Hill</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Garth Hill</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Garth Hill</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Garth Hill</b>Posted by thesweetcheat<b>Garth Hill</b>Posted by thesweetcheat thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
20th August 2015ce

The Hoarstones (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Walked to the Hoarstones from Mitchell's fold today. From Mitchell's Fold go up Stapley Hill from one cairn to the next and then down to the wood. The path skirts the wood to the right and then there is a sty to enter the wood at Black Marsh and cut across its bottom corner. Then you come out over a sleeper, ditch bridge into a field and you see another sleeper and sty on your left into the next field, marked permissive path. Then carry along across this field keeping wood close to left. And it's next field but look to bottom of field on your right, middle way along. You can see it on other side of field from wood as you're coming along. The ground looks raised and uncleared and you see the stones amongst it.
We then tried to carry on and hook up with Stapley trail back through wood but went wrong and retraced our steps and went back the way we came which is easiest. About 45 mins one way and well worth it. Very doable.
Posted by Wade
19th August 2015ce

Taff's Well (Sacred Well) — Images

<b>Taff's Well</b>Posted by thesweetcheat thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
19th August 2015ce

Devil's Jump (Natural Rock Feature) — Images

<b>Devil's Jump</b>Posted by Crazylegs14 Crazylegs14 Posted by Crazylegs14
18th August 2015ce

non rock art — Images

<b>non rock art</b>Posted by Howburn Digger<b>non rock art</b>Posted by Howburn Digger Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
18th August 2015ce

Showery Tor (Ring Cairn) — Images

<b>Showery Tor</b>Posted by Crazylegs14 Crazylegs14 Posted by Crazylegs14
18th August 2015ce

Helman Tor (Natural Rock Feature) — Images

<b>Helman Tor</b>Posted by Crazylegs14 Crazylegs14 Posted by Crazylegs14
18th August 2015ce

Sanday — Images

<b>Sanday</b>Posted by tomatoman Posted by tomatoman
18th August 2015ce

Taff's Well (Sacred Well) — Miscellaneous

There is a possibility referred to in the GGAT SMR that Roman masonry was exposed around the well during a flood in 1799.

This suggests that the well may have been in use during prehistoric times and reused by the Romans.

It is the only known thermal spring in Wales.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
17th August 2015ce

Taff's Well (Sacred Well) — Folklore

According to local legend, the ghost of a 'Grey Lady' once haunted the well. The lady, dressed in grey, is said to have beckoned a man collecting water from the well. As he approached she asked the man to 'hold me tight by both hands'. The man obliged but his grip loosened. As he let go a stabbing pain caught him in the side, the Grey Lady complained his grip wasn't tight enough and now she would remain a ghost for another hundred years. She vanished and has never been seen again ... or has she?
From the info board on site.

In Chris Barber's "Mysterious Wales" (1982 David & Charles) he says that the well was famous for healing rheumatism and similar ailments.
It was reported that one child, who went there as a cripple, was able to throw away his crutches after a fortnight's bathing and run about the green meadow on the riverside.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
17th August 2015ce
Edited 18th August 2015ce

Balnabraid (Kerbed Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Located a couple of miles south of Kildalloig Bay upon Kintyre's eastern flank and, incidentally, not far from New Orleans (hey check the map, it's true) the current denuded nature of this (apparently once very substantial) cairn belies a monument with a far, far more significant pedigree. In fact - seeing as its multi-faceted internal arrangements were found to feature no fewer than ELEVEN (count 'em) cists - I'd go as far as to say that, in my experience, I reckon this to be a truly unprecedented site. Sadly none of that ridiculously copious funerary detail can now be seen due to protective post excavation backfilling... one assumes upon the conclusion of the 1966 dig, the other excavations having taken place in 1910 and 1913. Sometimes it's enough to be aware what lies beneath, you know? No need to touch.

Not to mention what previously lay interned within those little stone-slabbed boxes. Yeah, the grave goods... artefacts which Bronze Age locals deemed suitably precious and noteworthy enough to accompany their loved ones (or at the very least, respected ones) into whatever afterlife loomed large in their collective consciousness at the time. According to Canmore these included "a beaker with jet disc-beads and a flint knife, three food-vessels and a cinerary urn." In addition, as if that fine assemblage of objects infused with inherently intimate human association wasn't enough, "a bronze razor, probably dating from 1400 to 1000 BC, was found on the site in 1966." Hmm. Suffice to say the prehistoric providence of this particular stone pile is not in any doubt. As is its ability to transcend millennia.

Furthermore, despite being located at little more than sea level, the placement of the monument within its landscape is excellent. Yeah, set overlooking the Balnabraid Water as it flows down Balnabraid Glen to merge with the southern approach to Kilbrannan Sound, the focus is, and no doubt was always intended to be, seaward.... a grandstand view of fresh water returning back whence it came to the saline, courtesy of the planet's natural weather cycles. With the enigmatic profile of Ailsa Craig looming upon the south-eastern horizon for good measure. It could be said that the monument's connection with the Balnabraid Water is definitive since it was erosion caused by the action of the latter that "revealed a cinerary urn in the exposed face of the cairn" in 1910. Well, there you are.

Whether the visitor approaches the site from the north or south a fine aerial view will be obtained from the coastal road as it descends to Corphin Bridge. Parking is available at roadside, a field gate allowing access to the cairn.

Although apparently a shadow of its former self... the funerary cairn at Balnabraid nevertheless casts a long shadow indeed.
17th August 2015ce
Edited 18th August 2015ce

Ness of Brodgar (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — News

New decorated stone found in Ness of Brodgar dig

‘One of the most remarkable decorated stones we’ve ever seen’

On this remarkable, sunny day we can do one of two things. We can ransack our box full of superlatives to describe what has happened, or just ask you to look at the photographs. Go for the pics, kindly supplied by Ola Thoenies (thank you Ola!)
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
17th August 2015ce

Tinto (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Tinto</b>Posted by Howburn Digger Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
17th August 2015ce

Mynydd Carnguwch (Round Barrow(s)) — Images

<b>Mynydd Carnguwch</b>Posted by Howburn Digger<b>Mynydd Carnguwch</b>Posted by Howburn Digger Howburn Digger Posted by Howburn Digger
17th August 2015ce

Gyrn Ddu (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

You could combine a trip up to these cairns with a visit to Pen-y-Gaer hill fort, but I didn't fancy the long walk back, so I went back to the car and drove closer and walked from there.
There, being the small dead end lane that runs west/east south of the mountain. I parked the car in an unused and overgrown gateway, so far so good, but then the footpath marked on my map has disappeared, it says the path goes past a farm house called Llethr-ddu, so I trust in the ordnance survey and go that way, despite a complete lack of footpath signs and stiles, I felt a bit trespassery here, but I tuned it out and concentrated more on the scenery. Mostly the scenery consists of The Rivals, ie; Tre'r Ceiri and Mynydd Carnguwch, the loveliest of all Welsh hills.
As I leave the farm house behind me I'm passing along some old walls with frankly massive boulders in them, dismantled dolmens I'm sure.... not.
Getting higher, the hill fort I went to earlier rises above the near horizon, provided by Moel Bronmiod, itself topped with, no, not a cairn but a large Dartmoorish rocky tor, I'd quite like to be up there, but you cant go everywhere at once, though I've heard of a man who knows someone who can.
As I get up towards the top the ground gets distinctively more rocky, progress can be quicker and easier but more dangerous, i'm about 9/10ths of the way up and my daughter sends me a text saying were going out for tea with Grandma, I've got three and a quarter hours to get home, well screw that I decide, an intense flurry of texts ensue, a bizarre thing to be doing in such a place as this, and problem sorted, they'll all wait for me to get home. I am the man.

One tenth further on and i'm confronted with two of the best yet badliest? treated hill top cairns I've ever had the pleasure to behold.
Some dense twat has built two walls over them, clearly and depressingly out of the cairns themselves.
The big cairn has a wall run right through it, either side of the wall is a canyon where the stones have been stolen.
The smaller cairn has two walls meet right on top of it, making photographing the whole cairn impossible. One side of a wall has a very small amount of cairn, it was this bit I saw first, I thought "hunh?" then looked over the wall and saw much more on the other side, but a wall runs through that as well. All very bad.
The culprit should be chastised, extremely chastised, take a moment, stop reading and think of something horrible we could, nay should do to him, it was bound to be a he, probably American.

But it's not all bad, despite the intrusions the cairns are still there, large and comforting, and the stone that has been robbed hasn't gone far.
I decide a walkabout is now due, so I skip lightly across towards the summit, I've also decided that getting to the rocky toppest of Gyrn Ddu's summits, can wait for another time, but just below it is a grassy knoll that would make a good place to get the big cairns with all of Snowdonia behind, plus another cairn is over this way, if it's not too far I'll go take a look.
It's probably about now that I should mention the view from up here, it's pretty good.
Nope, I cant do it, the view is impeccable, the eyes are glued to the Lleyn peninsula, The Rivals vie for attention among themselves, the over quarried one losing every time. Mynydd Carnguwch, is the sweetest most perfectly shaped hill in the known world, it fits in the vision like something soft and warm in the hand. Wow.
Time to go, I skirt around Gyrn Ddu's summit until the the other cairn comes into view, it is indeed too far, a quick zoom through the camera and I'm away, stumbling with shaking legs, not looking forward to the frantic drive home, but so glad I took the time to get over to this under achieving part of North Wales.

I was right to be not looking forward to the drive home the A55 has of late been over ridden with cars going no where important, and three road accidents had to be gotten through, who is passing these idiots, any idiot can pass his test, but not anyone can remain incident free for 25 years and still be doing five times as many miles per year. Grumpy!
postman Posted by postman
17th August 2015ce

Pen-Y-Gaer (Llanaelhaearn) (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

I parked the car on the drive up to Tyddyn-mawr farm, not as bad as it sounds, there was a load of big black silage bags to hide behind, there was no one around, and the driveway doubles as a bridleway, or so my map says, there are no signs saying so. Besides the fort is only half a mile from here, and I've got to walk through the farm to get there, if I see anyone I shall have a word, but I didn't, so no problem.
In fact I never saw anyone on the hills all day long, but then this is quite out of the way for Snowdonia, if it's in the national park at all.
After passing through and over several gates i'm out on the hills, I cant see the fort now because of big rocky outcrops to the forts south, so I make for these. From here I had a good look about, far to the south is Tremadog Bay, further west is the Lleyn peninsula, and just below me a fox rushes through the bracken chasing down some lunch. Not bad.
From the rocks it is a short but steep walk up to the fort. Two Buzzards circle above me, screeching at each other, or me.
It was hard going, but eventually I'm at the top, I can see my car far below, despite it's lack of redness, it looks more than half a mile.
Firstly I go directly to the top, and sit, but i'm plagued by large furry bee like flies, theyre so slow I can knock them out of the sky with my hand, god there's loads, they're like flies round, no wait that wont work.
I abandon the summit and take my tour of the defences, at the north end the stony ex wall has got covered in grass, but as I move along the grass is gone and a wide spread of iron age walling, that does not stand at all, moving on.
Far below me I can see the hut circle marked on the map but uncharacteristically I checked Coflein before I left and found it to be Roman, so I didn't go down, which was good because I couldn't be arsed.
Next is the fairly obvious entrance, facing west to the next hill along Moel Bronmiod.
Modern walling stands on top of the ancient fallen spread of wall at the southern end of the fort. Also at the far south end of the fort are a few hut circles, or rather circular platforms cut into the hills slope, some have big stones where the entrances are. I only saw three or four, Coflein says there's a dozen or so.
There are no fortifications on the east side, it is far too steep to storm the fort from here, from below it looks like any tall rocky hill, the big impressive wall faces only west, Tre'r Ceiri, the city of giants is that way.
Moel Y Gest hill fort is visible south east over near Cricceth.
Carn Bentyrch, Carn Fadryn, Carn Boduan are a few other forts seen from here.
Absolutely cracking site with epic views all round.
postman Posted by postman
17th August 2015ce

Gyrn Ddu (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Gyrn Ddu</b>Posted by postman<b>Gyrn Ddu</b>Posted by postman<b>Gyrn Ddu</b>Posted by postman<b>Gyrn Ddu</b>Posted by postman<b>Gyrn Ddu</b>Posted by postman<b>Gyrn Ddu</b>Posted by postman<b>Gyrn Ddu</b>Posted by postman<b>Gyrn Ddu</b>Posted by postman<b>Gyrn Ddu</b>Posted by postman<b>Gyrn Ddu</b>Posted by postman<b>Gyrn Ddu</b>Posted by postman<b>Gyrn Ddu</b>Posted by postman postman Posted by postman
17th August 2015ce

Pen-Y-Gaer (Llanaelhaearn) (Hillfort) — Images

<b>Pen-Y-Gaer (Llanaelhaearn)</b>Posted by postman<b>Pen-Y-Gaer (Llanaelhaearn)</b>Posted by postman<b>Pen-Y-Gaer (Llanaelhaearn)</b>Posted by postman<b>Pen-Y-Gaer (Llanaelhaearn)</b>Posted by postman<b>Pen-Y-Gaer (Llanaelhaearn)</b>Posted by postman<b>Pen-Y-Gaer (Llanaelhaearn)</b>Posted by postman<b>Pen-Y-Gaer (Llanaelhaearn)</b>Posted by postman postman Posted by postman
17th August 2015ce
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