I didn't expect mighty megaliths or a Caithnessian Carnac, but I was mildly disappointed at first view that each stone was so very teeny.
But what they lack in size, they make up for in numbers. Mighty numbers! Rows and rows poke up through the heather, some a bit wiggly and knocked off course now, but many still running in straight lines down the hillside pointing in the direction of the coast.
It took me a while to like it here, but in the same way as one mackeral isn't very impressive but a great shoal of fish all dancing together become beautiful, so did this place.
I had high hopes I'd be able to 'do a Dorian' (see page 424 of the big papery TMA) among the little stones here, but I was disappointed. The weather was too cold even to take ones gloves off, let alone reveal one's cherry muffins.
Apart from the stones in the rows knoan as The Hill O Many Stanes there are several otherfan shaped rows up the hill from the Cairn of Get monument. they were uncovered after a heather fire just a few years ago. They do not appear on any maps or are in any books. The Caithness filed club members measured them out and have diagrams of their layout.
Hill o' Many Stanes, Caithness
Jeez- yer not joking- there's loads of 'em! This place (and the weather today) is just fab! We've made a detour here (and to the Grey Cairns) on our way down to Killin from Orkney where we had to get up at 6:30 am to catch the ferry! "Scotland Before History" (Stuart Piggot) says there's over 200 stones here in a fan shaped pattern of rows from approx N to S. I brought my dowsing rods up here too and did a spot- there's shit happening all over the place. The stones are real small too- the tallest can only be a couple of foot or so and some are flat with the earth. Great place.
Driving round the north east coast of Scotland feels like nearing the end of the world. Devoid of the gigantic scenery that makes its opposite highland coast so popular, it has a less obvious appeal - its charms much subtler.
However, I was eager to reach the target but have to admit to being a tad disappointed. Lured by visions of 200 stones standing proud on a hilltop I pounded up the path to reach the spot.
Instead of great monoliths (I'll do my homework next time) I was confronted with what resembled a low-rise rockery of higgledy-piggledy stones no more than a foot high at best sloping down towards the coast.
What is intriguing is that its purpose remains unearthed. Once thought to be a collection three times the size, the most likely guesses put the site down as a tool for the agricultural calender.
It's a lonely spot and not one in which I lingered (more to do with the arrival of a couple who looked close to divorce than anything else) but its very clear in my mind's eye as I write and well worth a visit and a ponder whatever the weather.
The only theory which has been published on the purpose of these stone alignments is that of Professor Thom (Thom 1971). Of necessity, the explanation is couched in mathematical terms although this does not mean that the builders of the rows had the same mathematical knowledge that we have today. It is quite possible for the rows to have been set up solely by observation and experiment without any knowledge of the underlying mathematics........more
Of the known settings of stone rows in the north of Scotland plans of accurate surveys have been published of only about a third of them. Most of these are the results of the work done by Professor Thom. It intended in this article, and the following one, to give a description of the sites with available plans including those of Thom together with the results of recent surveys carried out by the authors which have not been published recently.
From an analysis of the diameters of circular stone settings, obtained by accurate survey........more
At a number of sites throughout Caithness and Sutherland are to be found multiple rows of small standing stones. The stone usually protrude not more than 1m above the surface, and in some cases they are either barely visible or have become submerged by the growth of peat or other vegetation. They are arranged in rows, often fan-shaped in the form of a truncated cone, or, less commonly, the rows may be parallel. Such settings of stones are often inconspicuous, sometimes hidden by heather, and may be easily overlooked.................more