|Blog guidelines specify that among other uses a weblog can be used to show what can be done in a day trip or holiday. I would say that what can be done is entirely up to the traveller, how hard-core are you?
On thursday 15th november we dropped the kids off at school and started the long drive to the Scottish border. Mother in law would pick them up have a sleep over and we would see them the following night. So what can one do in about 36 hours.
The cast of characters are myself my wife Hayley and our 10 yr old Jack Russell Arnie. We got to Dumfries and went strait to The Twelve Apostles stone circle. Parking at the corner of the field we had our sandwiches whilst watching sheep dancing on one of the stones, and was gratified to see the grass was much shorter than the last time we came. We walked down the road and climbed over the stile, and there it is, a big ring of the Cumbrian type with large though toppled stones and a large number of them have gone, but still impressive nonetheless, all the sheep had deserted the stones for the safe haven of the field next door, a buzzard wheeled over us, I know there ten a penny but still, I think theyre cool.
We got back in the car and travelled the short distance to another smaller less impressive Easthill stone circle, after wet feet, knackered out and pretty annoyed we gave up looking, we could not find it at all
But more easy to find was the Cairnholy duo, it took a bit less than an hour to get there and I was worried we didn't have enough time before sunset, but we made it just in time, the sky was a tadd cloudy so the moment of solar interrment was lost upon us but the sky was awash with reds, oranges and pinky-yellowy colours it was very nice. The stones here are fandabydosey although the chambers are quite small the megalithic forecourt is a doosy, tall and pointy. I left Hayley at the stones with Arnie and I went up to the smaller Cairnholy 2, though the farm is very close access isnt a problem and if you turn toward the sea you can forget everything, A couple of points to point out are the two chambers are not intervisible and of very different type. It was beginning to darken so I ran back to the car (which you can leave right next to the chamber) and I drove quickly round a few corners to Glenquicken stone circle.
There are 4 or 5 circles round here but for now i'll see only this one, I left Hayley and Arnie in the car and ran over the field. The tall central stone is all you can see untill your right on top of it. Some have likened this place to my local Bullstones but there is practically no resemblance at all the cenral stone here is a different shape and hieght, the circle is almost gone if it was ever there at all at the bullstones
Glenquicken is a very special place and the bullstones is just ok.
It was getting dark but my new improved camera and a couple of filters were doing just what I wanted of them. It was too late on to find the nearby cist so I just sat and took in the evening light and caressed the big cetral stone, a bit daft maybe but you havent been some where till you've touched it, a touch turned into
a light rub and that turned into a caress which ended as a full blown hug and then it really was time to go. I sauntered over the field safe in the knowledge that we had plenty of time and no real hurry to get there. We then drove across country back to the M74 and eventually got through the Hell hole (sorry)sometimes known as Glasgow and stopped for Dinner at a carvery near Dumbarton. Then onto our final destination the Kintyre peninsular, it was a bit dissapointing not seeing any countryside on the way but Iv'e been this way a few times so have seen it before and anyway needs must.
We parked in the carpark at the north end of Machrihanish beach and got our heads down, despite the time of year it was warm in the car, the only sleep disruptions were the end of every dream and the dog chewing his pigs ear at about midnight.
In the morning I first found Craigs standing stone with its big horse and abandoned houses and two hudred yards away glencraigs standing stone the two are'nt visible from each other and different from each other too, good views out to sea and behind up to the hills.
Next was Balegreggan, we parked on a residential side street and I left the others in the car. Jumpingthe gate I made my way up hill to the fence upon reaching it I read a sign saying 'beware electric fence' as if not beleiving it I touched it, stupid beyond belief. Carefully I climbed over and was only 60m away from the stone, possibly the biggest stone on the peninsular and with a very pronounced lean I could hear a quad bike in the distance so didn't linger long.
Ten minutes later we were walking in Campbletown high street looking for breakfast, from there you can look up at the hills and see a standing stone, I bet not many towns can say that. After a bacon buttie and coffee we headed even further south looking for Glenmucknach standing stone.
I followed a land rover to a house down a rough farm track and got out to ask the old chap about the stone, he was great not only did he explain how to get there and let us park in his ample yard, but he also showed us a photo of himself at the stone with his mate who looked oddly familiar to hayley and me.
We left his house and turned left through a gate negotiating the gorse and brambles we entered the forest (which isn't on the map) the path led through the trees to the open ground and we climbed the north-south fence, the old chap mentioned something about climbing it or maybe don't we wandered about for a while untill we remembered his words "its in a clearing amongst the trees" and looking at the map we knew we'd gone too far so turned back and reclimbed the fence and headed for the only clearing we could see turning the corner into the clearing hayley and me both clenched our fists and shouted "YES"
The clearing is large enough for a stone circle let alone a single stone,which is nice to see. The stone is twice my height, quartzy mossy and licheny we both felt elated to find it despite the trees, on the way back we were laughing and singing to the proclaimers tune " I would drive 500 miles, just to see a stone in a plantation" We thanked the old chap for his kindness and went back north as time was beginning to catch up with us, back through Campbeltown and a little way north was Glenlessa lodge and its stone in a wall, what a place to live .
Next rather ambitiosly we headed for Paul McCartneys stone at High Park but it was padlocked and no way through so a bit further north was Skeroblin stone situated in what must be the muddiest field in Scotland it was mostly water and sometimes bubbled when I stepped on a clump of earth and grass those of you who know what I mean, will know what I mean. Not a tall stone but you take what you can when those bloody scousers block your way.
It was now getting late and we had a long way to go so there was just one place to go on the way.
Ballochroy is a splendid stone row with a large cist thrown in too. Looking out to sea we can see the islands of Gigha and on a clear day Jura where the summer solstice sun sets.
Sheep are funny things they usually run away alerting the farmer to your prescence but these were different they were huge beefy and completly unafraid they came towards us untill I flashed them (with my camera) as we walked around they just ignored us. and that was our mad trip to Kintyre, like I said at the beginning anything is possible, it all depends on how hard-core you are. We arrived home at 10.15, my son said to me before going sleep remember we're going out tomorrow, so at 6.30am we were on our way to N.Wales
Posted by postman
18th November 2007ce
Edited 19th May 2010ce
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