A sweet little circle, with lovely rounded stones. As we were staying only a few minutes drive away, it was great to zip down on an evening and watch the sunset, with the place to ourselves. Loved this place!
Strange anomaly in one of the stones here. It has a sort of 'hole' in its surface, revealing a chunk of crystally quartzy stuff. It tempted me to wonder if the whole stone was a big chunk of quartz, with a layer of something else covering the crystal. Admittedly not very likely, but an entertaining thought to mull over whilst moping about the stones in the pouring rain.
Couldn't help but wish the HS enclosure fence was a bit larger, the poor stones seemed to be a bit hemmed in. But at least they're being looked after.
If it wasn't for the gate, wheelchair access would be a doddle, being as it is, right next to the road.
An improbably warm late October day meant we could sit at the centre of the circle for more than an hour, sleeves rolled up and just take it all in. The views are magnificent and even with the road so close by, only the odd intrusion of 21st century life challenged the sense of timelessness.
'tis lovely to sit and look across at the stone row in the field opposite - I'm sure all part of a bigger site at one time. They appear interlinked but the road dissects them and it's difficult to visualise. Also walked down the road to the cairn but little left to see (unless we were looking in the wrong place?) I had read that a single standing stone is also linked to the site, south of the circle, but we didn't find it. Never-the-less, this was enough to make us both very happy indeed.
This is a crackin' site. We approached from Wigton seeing the stone row first.
The setting of the circle is beautiful, we'd been looking at circles in the hills and this made a lovely constrast with it's setting on it's own platform in the fertile fields of the Machars.
The circle is in excellent nick and draws you into itself and the landscape.
As we travelled through the landscape we began to realise that a lot of these monuments are orientated NE-SW, this goes for the nearby row and the possible row in the cowfield.
Burl draws comparisons between the centre stone and it's flankers with the Recumbant circles of NE Scotland.
The first circle at the start of a strange weekend in 2000. I decided to take myself off after work on the Saturday, not knowing where I was going. I phoned my parents to let them know where in the world I was. I told my mother I had set up camp at Newton Stewart just up the road from the Stone Circle. There was a silence atthe other end of the line.... I asked what was wrong and my mother said it was weird, they had spent their honeymoon at Newton Stewart...... 33 years ago to the very day.
I had no knowledge of that, I didn't even know it was their wedding anniversary.
I spent a couple of hours here reflecting, and left calmed - and ready for a chinese :o)
It was a surprisingly calm and mild Sunday morning when we arrived - so mild, in fact, that we were eaten alive by swarms of bloodthirsty midges - in January!
Situated just off the road, (complete with a small car park - minimum walking effort required) Torhousekie is an impressive place. The only sounds are cattle, sheep and the occasional car, so it has a certain 'desolate ambience' to it. There are also 3 more stones on the other site of the road worth checking out. Well worth a visit - just be sure to pack some insect repellent!
Zealous Antiquaries, strange to tell, have not yet succeeded in manufacturing the Standing Stones of Torhows into pigsties and byres 'for their better preservation,' as they have done with most Galloway antiquities; and so they stand there yet, and enduring testimony to the authenticity of the ancient traditions of the district.
In my young days there used to be four stones standing on the high side of the road, and twenty three on the low side of it, and they were arranged in a circle.
The tradition about them was that in those ancient times the Picts, when hard pressed, formed themselves into a ring and defended themselves in that way from attacks on all sides, and as soon as they saw a weak place in the ranks of the enemy, they lengthened the ring into a triangle or wedge and forced a way through their opponents; and it is recorded that the Galloway men or Albanich as they called themselves, who were the descendants of the Picts, fought in a wedge-saped phalax at the battle of the Standard in eleven hundred and something.
Well, it happened that the Picts at Torrhows were like to be beaten at one time, and were obliged to form a circle, and there was a most desperate struggle till the king came up with assistance, and a great many of the chiefs or great men, who fought in the front rank, were killed by the Danes.
When the battle was over and they assembled to bury the dead, a great stone was set up wherever any of the chiefs fell fighting, to mark the spot, and it is said that there were originally sixty stones, one for every chief killed, and the place was therefore called Torrhows, which means something about a bur[y]ing-ground, though I never heard it said that any of the chiefs were buried at the stones.
It was said at one time that the Laird was going to hoke them all up to send to Edinburgh, to try if they would give him F.S.A. to put to his name, but I think it hasn't been done yet.
A not altogether serious account from Galloway Gossip by Robert Trotter (1877).
Like Cairnholy this is supposed to be the grave of the legendary King Galdus.
Symson, in his Description of Galloway, written in 1684, says--"
"In the high-way betwixt Wigton and Port-Patrick, about three miles westward of Wigton, is a plaine, called the 'Moor of Standing Stones of Torhouse,' in which there is a monument of three large whin-stones (called King Galdus's Tomb,) surrounded, at about twelve foot distance, with nineteen considerable great stones, (but none of them so great as the three first mentioned,) erected in a circumference.
In this moor, and not far form the tomb, are great heaps of small stones, (which the country people call Cairns) supposed by them to be the burial-place of the common soldiers. As also, at several placeds, distant from the monument, are here and there great single stones erected, which are also supposed to be the burial-place of his commanders and men of note." (Symson's MS Account of Galloway, Advocates' Library.)
The manuscript is quoted by Thomas Murray in his 'The Literary History of Galloway' published 1822, and now online at Google Books.
One of the cairns nearby had its cist slab removed in the 19th century, and it was taken away to be used as a cover for a water conduit. Several people claimed to have seen a light emerging from the cairn at night, and moving along the route the slab was taken. On reaching the slab it would rest on it for a while before (presumably) disappearing.
The last paragraph of information on Wikipedia mentions a hollowed out stone in the nearby stone dyke which travellers deposit a stone in whilst passing, I have just uploaded a picture of this stone, and strangely it had a couple of polished pebbles in it when i visited.
An entry from Ancient Stones, an online database that covers most of the standing stones, stone circles and other stones found in South East Scotland. Each entry includes details, directions, photograph, folklore, parking and field notes on each location.