The Modern Antiquarian. Ancient Sites, Stone Circles, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic Mysteries

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Lady Cross (Round Barrow(s)) — Miscellaneous

Drive-by 1.8.15

Directions:
On the A171 between Ugthorpe and Aislaby.


Despite being right next to the road (northern side) I couldn't see either of these two barrows due to a large covering of chest high gorse and fern.

E.H. state (Lady Cross barrow):
The barrow is an earthen mound 1.2m high and 14m in diameter. In the centre of the barrow is a hollow caused by previous excavations.

Dun Bogs barrow: The barrow is an earth and stone mound 1m high x 12m in diameter. In the centre of the mound is a hollow caused by excavations in the past.

Newton Mulgrave Round Barrow (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.8.15

As Fitzcoraldo says the barrow has a very flat top - like it has recently been ironed!
E.H. state:
This earth and stone barrow is 1.5m high x 17m in diameter. In the centre of the barrow is a slight hollow caused be excavations in the past.

On the opposite side of the road is another barrow. This one I could see no trace of.
E.H. state:
This earth and stone barrow is 0.7m high x 9m in diameter. Past excavations have left a hollow in the centre and the mound has been almost levelled on the west side. This barrow was originally one of eight spread across the north side of Newton Mulgrave Moor and lies in an area rich in prehistoric monuments.

High Park Farm (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.8.15

Directions:
A short distance south-west of Loose Howe.
On the opposite side of the A171.


There are two barrows showing on the O/S map here. The first one you come to I couldn't see any trace of. Which perhaps isn't surprising as E.H. state it is only 0.4m high at the time of their last inspection. Probably ploughed out by now?

The second barrow is much more prominent and easy to spot a little further down the minor road. It is in a field of sheep and has clearly be dug into at some point in the past. It is now a rough grassed mound. Although there is a barbed wire fence around the field access is easy thanks to a helpfully position wooden field gate. There are extensive moorland views to be had from the barrow. Whilst there we watched a bird of prey sat on a wooden fence post before it majestically flew off nto the yonder. E.H state this barrow is 1.6m high x 24m in diameter.

Loose Howe (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.8.15

Directions:
Opposite the camp site on the minor road off the A171 towards Ugthorpe.

Nothing to see.

E.H. state:
A round barrow of earth and stone standing up to 0.5m high and 10m in diameter.

Claphow Farm Lingdale (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.8.15

Directions:
To the north of the village of Lingdale mid point between the A 171 and the A174.


Took a wrong turn and happened to be passing.
The filed (next to the farmhouse) where the O/S map shows the 'tumulus' to be is wild and overgrown. I couldn't make anything out. E.H. have nothing to report.

Hilda's Well (Sacred Well) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.8.15

Directions:
On the A174. Church and holy well is signposted.

The well is easy enough to find at the back of the church. I wooden handrail assists the pilgrim down the grass slope. The restored well has a stone trough next to it which had a large collection of old rusting coins in it. Judging by the amount of coins in the bottom of the well this place gets a lot of visitors.
The water did look clear but I didn't risk it.
This is a very peaceful spot with only the sound of a wood pigeon for company. It is nice here.
Unfortunately the church was locked so I couldn't have a look inside.
Well (excuse the pun) worth a visit if you happen to be visiting the nearby lovely fishing village of Staithes.

Murk Mire Moor (Cairn(s)) — Miscellaneous

Drive-by 1.8.15

Directions:
A short distance north of the Three Howes cairns. On the western side of the road.


Couldn't see any trace of the cairns. This whole section of moorland is covered with heather. The O/S map shows 5 cairns here. E.H. have nothing to report - which isn't much help!

Three Howes (Round Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.8.15

Visible from the road on the right when heading south along this lonely road across the desolate heather-clad moorland. As Chris says access is easy from the obvious track - also an easy place to park.
If you like windswept moorland views, this is the place for you! Can't comment much about the barrows as they are overgrown with heather.

The Wheeldale Stones (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.8.15

Whilst driving south along the minor moorland road between Grosmont and Newton-on-Rawcliffe I counted 6 of these roadside stones. 3 of which had square holes cut into the upper part. The stones are tall and quite impressive. How old? Who knows?
They appear to be markers across this bleak moorland to assist travelers?

Willerby Wold House (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.8.15

Directions:
A short distance west of the B1249. Opposite Willerby Wold Farmhouse.


Couldn't see anything due to the field being in crop (wheat). Parking on the grass verge is easy enough.

Rawcliffe Howe (Round Barrow(s)) — Miscellaneous

Drive-by 1.8.15

Directions:
A short distance north east of the Cawthorne Camps barrows. O/S map required.


Despite being right next to the road I was unable to see the barrow due to the high bank. More to the point due to the way the road is cut into the hillside. Lack of time prevented a stop and search.
Parking may be tricky along these narrow, twisting lanes. Will have a proper look next time I am here.


E.H. state:
A round barrow situated on a prominent position overlooking the Vale of Pickering. The barrow is an earth and stone mound standing 1m high with an original diameter of 20m. The edge of the barrow has been truncated by the cutting of the adjacent road which is at least 3m below the top of the mound. The parish boundary passes through the marrow.

Rudston Monolith (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.8.15

Wow! This stone is incredible. As soon as you see the church you see the stone. It hits you between the eyes. It dominates and overpowers the church. It is huge, not just in height but in depth and width. It is even bigger in real life than it looks in pictures.

All of this is true but what is most impressive is the power this stone radiates. If ever a stone was a symbol of power, prestige or greatness - this is it.

There is little more to say than come and visit and see for yourself.

Although it was evening when I arrived at the church I was pleasantly surprised to find it still open. The church is nice inside and well worth a look. I was also able to pick up a couple of postcards of the monolith and an information leaflet.


***
This morning I received news that a lifelong friend of mine suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. This came as a great shock and is one of those moments when you consider your own mortality. I dedicate these notes to my friend Keith (known to us as 'The Trend'). Thank you for the memories. May you rest in peace.

Templewood (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 24.7.15

Next stop on my mini 'Grand Tour' was the famous Templewood complex. It was a lovely summer's evening and long shadows were begin cast over the stones. I was amazed that I was the only one here. I expected the (unusually) nice weather would have brought the tourists out? Clearly not,

Although Templewood has been tidied up a lot it is still a great place to visit. Access is as easy as it gets and the information boards are very informative. I always find that sites which have trees around them to have that 'special feeling'. Templewood is no exception, particularly when you are lucky enough to have the place to yourself.

Ballygowan (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Fieldnotes

Visited 24.7.15

Directions:
When you reach the cattle grid and the sign which says no motor vehicles beyond this point walk up the road. Quite shortly you will come to a rough track on your right heading up hill. Go up the track and stay on it until you reach the house. Immediately before the house come off the track and go right over very boggy, uneven ground. Head for the end of the trees on the skyline to your left. The railing around the rock art will soon come into view.

This was the one Historic Scotland site I failed to find on my previous visit and I was determined to put that right. Due to the very wet summer here in Scotland the ground underfoot was often bog-like. It was clear that few people had been here recently - including Historic Scotland. The grass within the fencing was long and overgrown - although not as bad as outside the fence! Despite being an H.S. site there are no sign posts or black and white posts to help guide you here - why not I wonder?

The rock art was a little disappointing to be honest. Perhaps it was the light? There are much better examples *and easier to find( else where in Kilmartin. Still, at least I got here. Mission accomplished!

Ri Cruin (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 24.7.15

The last time I came to Kilmartin it rained and rained and then rained some more. In fact it never stopped raining from the moment I arrived to the time I left. Kilmartin is a joy but is more of a joy in decent weather. A return visit was always on the agenda and here we are, 5 years later, back in Kilmartin glen.

We were booked into a B+B opposite the museum and as it was a lovely summer's evening I didn't want t waste the opportunity. Karen agreed to take the children to the B+B and let me have the rest of the day to myself to re-explore the many wonderful sites Kilmartin has to offer - result!

Karen dropped me off near Ri Cruin and drove off. I immediately headed up the path and was keen to see if this site was as good as I remembered it? And of course, it was! I had the place to myself and eagerly sought out the axe head carvings. The light wasn't great for this but I did spot them once I got my eye in.

With its relative seclusion away from the 'main' Kilmartin sites you are likely to also have the place to yourself. The axe heads, cists and surroundings still (alongside Dunned Fort) makes this my favorite Kilmartin site. Simply wonderful.

Mid Sannox (Standing Stones) — Miscellaneous

Only managed a drive-by to see this impressive stone whilst trying to find the B+B. Tempers were begining to fray in the car so I thought it best not to stop!

When near Sannox don't miss the nearby wonderful re-created Viking ship in the small harbour.

The Mare and Foal (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 31.7.15

5 years since I was last here. That went quick!

My only 'old stone' site of the day - if you don't count Roman as old (far too modern!)

Access as before. The field grass is very long and there were no animals present. The sun was breaking through the clouds but the wind was quite cold. There are good views to be had. Hadrian's Wall to the north (with several walkers in presence) and sweeping valley views to the south.It is windswept and bleak here, but bleak in a good way (although I wouldn't want to spend a night out here - even n summer!)

As for the stones, they seem to be as I remember them. The taller stone about 1.7m high, the smaller stone about 1m high. Both stones seem to be on an oval bed of stones sticking out of the grass. Odd thing is they look very similar to the size and shape of the stones of the famous wall. Perhaps it is just my imagination?

It was nice to say 'hello' to these stones again.

Cairnholy (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.7.15

Am I really the first TMAer to visit this wonderful site for 10 years? Hardly seems possible?

Although Historic Scotland recommend parking on the A75 and walking up to the site (long walk) you can drive all the way up and park in the small car park. The road is in good order except for the last few metres before you reach the parking area - bit rough.

To put it (not very) quaintly - these are the 'dogs'!
What a fantastic place to visit. The two chambered cairns are superb. One has an impressive facade of tall standing stones, the other a large capstone still pretty much in situ. Both cairns offer excellent coastal views with mountains in the background. Keep an eye out for the large prostrate stone near the wooden fate to Cairnholy 2. Surely once part of the chambered cairn?

The sun was shining (something we had seen all too little of on this year's holiday) but the wind was cold. Dafydd was attempting to make a spear from a stick and sharp stone he had found whilst Sophie decided it was too cold and went back to the car. Although the site must have made some impression on her as later that afternoon on the beach she made a burial chamber instead of a sand castle - that's my girl!

This really is an excellent place to visit, one of the best I have been to. Second only to Machrie Moor on Arran this holiday - and that;s no disgrace. I have really enjoyed my holiday in this south west corner of Scotland. It is easy to overlook this area whilst heading direct for the delights of the highlands. The countryside is pleasant more than spectacular although it does have some good coastal views. What is does offer (in spades) is a fine selection of both historic and prehistoric sites to visit. Some superb - such as this one. The next time you plan a trip to Scotland try to factor in some time here. You won't fail to be impressed.

Cairnholy Cairn (Cairn(s)) — Miscellaneous

Visible from Cairnholy 2 - across the field to the north east. Large(ish) grass covered mound.

Canmore state:
The cairn sands on a terrace above the west bank of the Kirkdale burn, 140m ENE of Cairnholy Farm. It measures 145m in diameter and 1.7m in height. The centre has been dug into and its sides clipped by ploughing. 1994

Lessons (Cairn(s)) — Miscellaneous

Drive-by 30.7.15

Directions:
A short distance east of the Newton Stewart cairn, on the B7079. On the norther side of the road, other side of a stone wall.


There are two cairns here - High Lessons (no sign of it) and Low Lessons (visible as a rough grass covered mound in the middle of the field). There was no obvious place to park in close proximity.

Canmore state:
High Lesson - The cairn is almost completely destroyed, grass covered rubble base, 0.3m high. 1966
Low Lesson - A partially grass covered cairn, half of which has been removed fom its south side. It is 70ft in diameter and 6ft high. 1966

Newton Stewart Cairn (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.7.15

We were spending the night in a B+B in Newton Stewart - so here I am.

The cairn is an impressive size and very easy to see and access, It amazes me how these prehistoric sites have managed to survive so close to urban expansion. Hopefully future generations will have the same regard for them that we do?

The cairn is approximately 2m high x 20m across.
Well worth looking out for when visitin Newton Stewart.

Boreland (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 29.7.15

Directions:
On B733, a short distance north-west from the Torhousekie stone circle (or Torhouse as Historic Scotland calls it) Right next to the junction.


Only time for a quick look - on the other side of a dry stone wall. It appears as a low, grass covered, stony mound. The field had not been ploughed on my visit.

Canmore state:
The cairn measures 25m in diameter and 0.7m high. The surrounding land has been ploughed right up to the edge of the cairn. 1976

Torhousekie (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 19.7.15

Directions:
Easy. On the B733, west of Wigtown. Historic Scotland site. Signposted with small car park.


This is a superb stone circle. It may not be 'Premier League' i.e. Castlerigg but it is a very good 'Championship League' standard. The 3 central stones certainly gives it that something extra. Fortunately the circle is fenced to protect it from the cows which also occupy the field.

Dafydd and Sophie played in and around the stones (as they often seem to do at stone circles) whilst I sat and tried to take it all in.

I noticed, what looked like, a low ring of stones sticking out of the grass forming a circle between the inner stones and the outer stones? Also, on the other side of the wall is another large boulder-type stone. Is this connected to the circle?

As I (and others) have already said this is an excellent place to visit and well worth travelling a long way to see. Do so if you can - it won't disappoint.

Torhousekie Stone Row (Stone Row / Alignment) — Fieldnotes

Visited 29.7.15

This fine stone row is easily seen from the circle on the other side of the road, upon a low ridge.
It is the other side of a dry stone wall.

Well worth checking out when visiting the nearby excellent stone circle.

Rispain Camp (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Fieldnotes

Visited 29.7.15

Directions:
One mile west of Whithorn on the A746.
Historic Scotland site - signposted.


Drive up the farm drive and there is (surprisingly) a visitors car park. A short walk along the obvious path up through the back of the farm and you are there. An information board is provided which states this site has been dated to between 100BC and 100AD.
The site is in such good condition it was once thought it could have been Roman or even Medieval.


The site is in excellent condition and the entrance is very easy to see. The ditch surrounding this rectangular site is still about 2m deep - and well defined it is too. The site occupies a prominent position within the surrounding fairly flat countryside.

This is a nice site and well worth visiting. One of very many cracking sites to visit in this often overlooked part of Scotland. Most people (myself included) drive straight through to get to the beautiful highlands. Dumfries and Galloway may not have the mountains but it is nevertheless a pretty area with some fine coastal views. As for prehistoric and historic sites, it can certainly hold its own with most other areas of the country.
Try to make time to stop off on your way further north.

Drumtroddan Standing Stones — Fieldnotes

Visited 29.7.15

Not much to add to what Postie has already said.
Why don't they re-erect the two fallen stones?
They know where they stood and which way up to put them!

The remaining (lonely) standing stone is a fine specimen and can be seen from the nearby rock art panels. However, don't make the mistake of trying to get to the stones directly from the rock art as this involves crossing 3 fields, a gate and two dry stone walls. Approach from the track to the south of the stones. Another Historic Scotland site.

Drumtroddan Carved Rocks (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Fieldnotes

Visited 29.7.15

Directions:
Signposted off the B7021. Park at the farm - 50p!


Myself and Sophie walked through the muddy farm yard whilst the others stayed in the car. Sophie had wellies on so she was ok! Two signs direct you to the rock art so finding it wasn't a problem. The problem is the mud. The field you have to walk through is inhabited by a herd of cows who have turned the bottom end of the field into a bog - which you have to walk through to get to the site.

However, once through, the walk to the two fenced off areas was not too bad - as long as you managed to avoid the cow pats! The fenced off area to the left is the smaller of the two and (for a welcome change) the bright sunshine made the cup and circles difficult to make out. This was the same problem we had in the larger section of rock on the right. I could make the markings out but not very well. Unfortunately I didn't have any water with me to wet them. These are not the most impressive rock art I have seen (certainly when compared with Kilmartin) but let's be honest, any rock art which has survived this long has to be appreciated.

The Historic Scotland sign is very badly worn and weathered. Can we have a new one please?

On the way back to the car one particularly nosey cow came right up to us and started to chew my shorts and t-shirt. I didn't want to scare Sophie but I had to push it away a couple of times before it left us alone. Cows are not the brightest creatures but they are big so you do have to take care. The way back was equally muddy.

Worth visiting but make sure you bring your wellies.

The Wren's Egg & Nest (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 29.7.15

Just to keep Postie happy I came to visit the next and egg(s). Oh OK I admit it - I was coming anyway!

There is plenty of room to park at the start of the drive to Blairbuy Farm. The approach road is in good condition so don't worry about the suspension etc.

The others stayed in the car whilst I walked through the open metal field gate, around the edge of the empty field and across to the obvious stones and 'nest'. The large boulder is approximately 2m across and the smaller boulders less than 1m across. Both of the smaller stones were surrounded by nettles.

I was surprised to find an Historic Scotland sign next to the trees. Although this site shows on the AA map it isn't on the 'official' Historic Scotland places to visit list. Perhaps it once used to?

Anyway, as Postie says, this is a good place to visit and well worth the minimal effort required to reach it. Assuming you happen to be in this part of the world of course!

Bladnoch (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Failed visit 29.7.15

Sections of the wall opposite the houses are now very overgrown. Other sections are clear of vegetation. I assume the standing stone is somewhere under one of the overgrown sections as I was unable to spot it?
A spot of gardening required here I would say!

Barsalloch Point (Cliff Fort) — Fieldnotes

Visited 29.7.15

Directions:
On the A747, 1 mile west of Monreith. Is signposted and has a small car park. 89 steep steps take you from the car park to the top of the cliff.


There are two info boards, one in the car park and one at the fort itself. Myself, Dafydd and Sophie walked up the steps and were soon at the top. As you would expect there are fine coastal views to be had. The site is D shaped and the surrounding ditch is still 2m deep in places.

Well worth stopping off for when passing.
Historic Scotland site.

Whithorn (Bullaun Stone) — Fieldnotes

Visited 29.7.15

In the associated museum next to Whithorn Priory (Historic Scotland) is a selection of early Christian crosses. Also on display is a fine Bullaun stone. It has one well defined hollow and is near the entrance. The only information the lady at the museum could give me was that it was found locally.

Lyonston (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Miscellaneous

Drive by - 28.7.15

Directions:
A short distance north east of Maybole, along a minor road.


For a change (not) it was raining. It has rained so much this holiday I am now on my second pair of boots. I have had enough of rain for a while. I have had enough of being wet, walking in the rain etc.
A drive by it is then!


The boulder-type stone is easily seen from the A77.
It is on the high point in the field.

Canmore state:
A rounded granite boulder about 1.4m in height. According to historian Mr J Gray its local name is Lyonston - from which the naerby farm took its name.

The Witching Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Miscellaneous

Drive by - 28.7.15

The stone is easy to see alongside the A77 but parking anywhere near is impossible. The stone stands in the middle of a recently ploughed field. It is approximately 1m high x 0.5m wide at the base. It has a pointy top.
The stone must be a considerable pain for the person who has to plough the field :)

Garleffin (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 28.7.15

Directions:
South of the A77 along a minor road at Garleffin - a short distance south of the village of Ballantrae.


The stones are easy to spot in the garden of the end bungalow. One stone is in the front lawn, the larger stone is along the side of the house. The stones are approximately 1.5m high and 0.5m wide. The tops of the grey stones are covered in moss. The stones are very easy to see from the road outside the house.

Whirlpool (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Failed visit 28.7.15

Directions:
West of Sandhead along a minor road off the B7042.
O/S map required. Near Whirlpool Farm.


In short, I failed to find this fallen stone. The field edges are overgrown and I was unsure which field edge to look in? The fields are separated by dry stone walls.


Canmore state:
An irregular shaped slab measuring 0.7m x 0.4m x 1.3m long. There are no cup marks on the stone. The stone now lies fallen, near the edge of a field.

South Cairnwell (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Miscellaneous

Just to add that the stone is not visible when driving west along the minor road to the south.
I couldn't see it anyway.

Kirkmadrine (Bullaun Stone) — Fieldnotes

Visited 28.7.15

Directions:
In the Rhinns of Galloway, 2 miles south west of Sandhead, on the A716.


There is room to park outside the gate which gives access to the pretty path through the trees to the church. This is an Historic Scotland site which holds a fine selection of early christian grave stones. The church is not open but one end of it has been changed into a huge glass display case! These are where the stones are displayed. It is actually very well done.

Among the stones on display is a bullan stone with three cups - which was a nice surprise. Well worth a visit if you happen to be in the area.

Kilpatrick Dun (or Cashel) (Stone Fort / Dun) — Fieldnotes

Visited 27.7.15

Directions:
1m south of Blackwater on the A841 - NOT signposted despite being an Historic Scotland site.

Another nightmare site to visit!

We drove past the parking area twice before finding the place. It is right next to the main road but is surrounded by a low stone wall which hides it. It looks for all the world like the front of someone's garden. I then noticed that the metal post which no doubt held the H.S. sign had been cut through. At least there were black and white posts to guide the way.

You walk through the garden of a new-build looking house and up onto the hillside. As a certain song asks 'Why does it always rain on me?' so the rain continued its onslaught.

This was even worse to visit than the nearby H.S. of Tor A'chaisteal Fort. The hillside was little more than a bog, water flowed freely down the slope. Everywhere was ankle deep in mud. If only I had my wellies!

Without the aid of the black and white posts I would never have found the place.

Historic Scotland state this site is an 'enigma'. A circular stone structure surrounded by a wall of turf and stone. The site is imperfectly understood. A short cist was discovered containing an urn with fragments of burnt human bone. It is also claimed that the site could be a cashel. Current thinking says the site is an Iron Age Dun with an enclosure bank which formed part of a post-medieval farm. Perhaps it is a multi-period site?

There are several large stones, both erect and prostrate. One of them is very long, looking like a long stone bench. It would have been a decent sized standing stone if ever erect? The site (whatever it is) is in a very prominent position and would afford good views - in better weather!

On this occasion I am not overly surprised that these are the first TMA field notes - despite being an Historic Scotland site. If planning a visit pick a dry day AND bring your wellies.

I will be sending H.S. an e-mail regarding access issues with both this site and Torr A'chaisteal.

Torr a Chaistell (Stone Fort / Dun) — Fieldnotes

Visited 27.7.15

Directions:
The site is signposted on the A841, four miles north of Blackwaterfoot. Parking is tricky but there is just about room to squeeze onto the verge near the house.

The others stayed in the car out of the persistent rain whilst I walked through the garden of the house and through a wooden gate. This led into a field of wheat. I walked down the side of the field and came to a barbed wire fence and rusty gate.

Into the next field of curious cows who immediately came charging over to me. This could be disconcerting for a lot of people but I had been in this position many times before and knew that they would stop just before me (at least I hoped they would!) This they did and with much mooing they followed me to the end of the field. From this point the ground became little more than bog (where have you heard that before?!) I sank ankle deep in cow pat splattered slime and mud. I wish I had brought my wellies on holiday this year!

Despite being an Historic Scotland site there were none of the usual black and white posts to guide you. Just keep heading down hill towards the sea and you will see it.

There is an Historic Scotland information board which seemed out of character given how un-visitor friendly it was to get here. Although only a 15 minute walk, H.S. could make this far easier for visitors. Your average day-tripper would have no chance of getting here. I am surprised these are the first TMA field notes though.

The fort consists of a large, flat topped grass mound. It looked very much like a Norman motte. The site dominated the surrounding countryside and would have been very visible to anyone passing by sea.

That's another H.S. site ticked off the list. Now, for that yucky walk/squelch back to the car.

Lamlash Stone Circle — Fieldnotes

Visited 27.7.15

What a nightmare this turned out to be!

For the second consecutive day the rain came down, down, down. I was still a bit damp from yesterday's exploring. First effort to find this circle failed but I was determined to give it one more go before it was time to leave this lovely (from the birts I could see through the rain and mist) island.

Look out for the sign on the opposite side of the road for Cnod Na Dial forestry. You can easily park opposite this sign in a large graveled area. From this parking area a track goes off into the trees and a wooden sign offers you a couple of different route options. Ignore all of these - they don't go to the circle.

This is what you need to do: Either-
Walk back to the road, turn right and walk about 50m and crash your way through the chest high ferns and undergrowth and hope you can see the tops of the stones -or-
From the parking area crash your way through the head high ferns and undergrowth aiming for an angle between the parking space and the road and hope you can see the tops of the stones.

How can a stone circle so close to the road be so difficult to find? It is not visible from either the road or the parking are even though it is only a matter of yards away.

On the way to the circle I went via the parking are - big mistake. The ferns were mega high (I noticed several large prostrate stones covered in moss. For a moment I thought the circle had been destroyed!) and the way was hard going. As the ground dropped down I walked into a bog and sank shin deep in blackish water. This whole area was pretty much under water. Too late now. I carried on. Just as I was on the verge of giving up I spotted the top of a large boulder-type stone - success!

The circle is on a low ridge so at least it was out of the water - other than the torrential rain falling. The circle is totally grown over and clearly has not been visited or looked after in a very long time. I counted 6 stones of various sizes, all boulder-type stones. The mist and rain certainly increased the atmosphere but tide and ferry time tables wait for no man (or woman for that matter).

There was no way I was going back the way I came so I headed straight for the road (which you can't see due to the undergrowth and trees). I battled my way through and although very wet underfoot was nowhere near as bad as the way I had come. By the time I got back to the car I did a little dance and splashed about in the puddles and rain (much to the amusement of the children and the disbelief of Karen) I couldn't be any wetter.

Whilst waiting for the ferry I had the good fortune to watch two otters on the beach. One in the water and the other running around the rocks. The ignored me. Apparently there are loads of otters on Arran (as well as red squirrels - which I didn't see) and they are a common sight all around the island.

Arran is a lovely place to visit and my stay was all too short. Most of the sites I visited were short distances from the road but most had a sense of wilderness about them. Pretty much left to look after themselves. Normally this wouldn't be such a bad thing but given the appalling weather it made most visits very wet and muddy.

I will definitely visit Arran again. There is so much to see, I barely scratched the surface. Hopefully the next time I come I may see the sun - and a red squirrel (apparently they don't like the rain either!)

Stronach (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 27.7.15

There is a parking space pretty much next to the stone (same side of road). The stone is large, approximately 3m (2.5 wheelie bins!) Two of which (black and green) were being guarded by this impressive stone. I wonder what the ancients would have thought? At least it is still with us, and will be long after the last wheelie bin has been collected.

Machrie Moor — Fieldnotes

Visited 26.7.15

Am I really the first TMAer to visit Machrie Moor stone circles in a decade? It doesn't seem possible.

Where to start? - at the begining I suppose?

The weather was awful, alternating between light showers and heavy rain, with just the occasional dry patch designed to lure you into a false sense of security! The others stayed in the sign posted car park as I headed up the track to the many delights of Machrie Moor. 'I won't be long' - famous last words!

it takes about half an hour to walk from the car park to the stone circles - depending on how long to stop to look at the other sites along the way.

The first circle you come to is the double circle made up of large boulder-type stones. This is a real 'wow' moment when you first see it. Most of the stones remain and it is very impressive. It looked to me the circle was erected on a low stony mound?

The second circle you see is smaller and made up of four large boulder-type stones which are surrounded by ferns. Bit of gardening required here I think. This is a nice circle in its own right but totally dwarfed by its near neighbors.

The third circle is a mind-blower. It consists of 3 HUGE standing stones, approximately 4m high, and two very strange large flat round stones, like large flat mill stones. What are they about? I have never seen stones like this before at any prehistoric site I have ever visited - and I have been to a few. Are they prehistoric? If so, they must be unique? Very strange indeed. The 3 standing stones are incredible. It reminded me of being back on Orkney - they are that good. When complete this circle must have been awe inspiring.

The fourth circle consists of 12 stones. Alternating between large round boulder-type stones and smaller thin stones. A bit like the Laurel and Hardy of the prehistoric world. This was obviously deliberate and I can't remember visiting any other circle with this arrangement?

The fifth circle consists of 10 small stones. Half of the circle was standing in water - bog-type conditions. This was the only circle it was difficult to walk around due to the 'swamp' - although I gave it a go!

Lastly, circle number six. This circle consists of a couple of very tall standing stones and one monster-sized stone. It is exceptional in its height and beauty. Like most of the stones here it has grooves worn into it by countless rains and is covered with hairy lichen. Near it is several very large fallen prostrate stones. I can't even imagine how good this stone circle must have looked when first erected.

Despite the awful weather, this site blew me away. The setting of the distant hills, the number and quality of the sites here is incredible. This is in the A list of prehistoric sites. I would put it up there with Avebury, Kilmartin, Orkney and Callanish. It is that good. These notes are no doubt doing it a disservice.

Due to the weather and the fact I was conscious of the others waiting patiently n the car I was only able to give Machrie Moor the briefest of visits. It deserves so much more. A full day here would not be unreasonable. When I got back to the car it was pointed out I had been gone two hours! Machrie Moor is that type of place. Save your pennies, sell the family heir looms, do what it takes but catch the ferry to the lovely island of Arran and visit this special place. It really is something special.

Moss Farm (Chambered Tomb) — Fieldnotes

Visited 26.7.15

Since Hob's visit the bracken has been removed from around the remains of this cairn and it is easy to see on the right of the path leading to the stone circles. It is only a short detour. Access is via a wooden stile.

The standing stone is large, weathered (grooved) and covered in hairy lichen. There are also several other large stones remaining from this once (no doubt) impressive tomb.

Of the people 'oot and aboot' today I was the only one to come ans say 'hello' to this fine standing stone - which is a shame. It is well worth the very short walk to get to it. Another nice stone in this fantastic place.

Moss Farm Road (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 26.7.15

This is the first site you come to when walking up the path from the car park towards the famous stone circles. It is an Historic Scotland site and as such has metal railings around it and an information board. It is a 15 minute walk from the car park - about the half way point to the stone circles.

There are several large kerb stones still in place and the large, low, grass covered stony mound is clear to see. The cairn is in a lovely setting with mountains in the distance. If this cairn was anywhere else it would get a lot more attention than it does here. The draw of the stone circles move people on far too quickly.

This is a very nice site.

Moss Farm North (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 26.7.15

The stone is easily seen (on your right) when walking back from the circles towards the car park. There is no path to the stone and you have to jump over a low fence to get to it.

Although ignored by the other visitors today this is a fine stone with excellent sea views. Like most of the stones on Machrie Moor it is grooved by thousands of years of rain. The stone is approximately 1.5m high.

Hob will be pleased tp know that the wooden fence surrounding the memorial has already fallen to bits!

This stone is well worth checking out when visiting the more famous stone circles. It is only a short walk from the main track.

Moss Farm II (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Visited 26.7.15

The path to the stone circles takes you past the remains of this chambered cairn. It is to the immediate right of the path. It is impossible to miss - although everyone else out today walked past it without giving it a second glance!

Although there are only two stones remaining they are large. The end stone is approximately 1m square whilst the side stone is about 1m x 2m long. They sit on a long low mound of grassed over stones, approximately 3m wide x 10m long.

There's not much left, but what there is is nice.

Brackley (Chambered Tomb) — Fieldnotes

Visited 26.7.15

Directions:
Driving north on the B842 take the turning on the right signposted cemetery. The road is rough, particularly considering where it leads. Park at the turning to the left where the road leads down to the cemetery and the farm. You can see the chambered tomb from here. It is right next to the graveyard - very apt!


Myself and Dafydd walked down the road and through a rusty gate. Karen stayed in the car with Sophie - who was asleep. Access to the field where the remains of the chamber is via a second metal gate. The field is overgrown but the site is a good one. The standing stone is approximately 2m high. A large prostrate stone lies next to it, along with several other large stones. The burial chamber is on an obvious raised stony mound about 10m across. The views along the valley are good. The only thing spoiling it are the pylons, but needs must I guess.

Whilst we were here we also had a look around the more modern cemetery. Tow graves caught my eye. The first was of Walter McIntosh who unfortunately drowned at sea in 1911 - a fisherman no doubt? Next to it was a grave to Janet Currie who died in 1916 - whilst at the Post Office we are informed!

This is a good place to come if you happen to be in the area.

Cladh an Diseirt (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 23.7.15

Follow Hamish's directions.
Access to the site is via a couple of field gates.

As Hamish says, this site is all about the location. The views across the channel to Mull are fantastic. The clear turquoise water, white sand, rose colored rocks and lush green grass is something to behold. Added to this a blue sky and white fluffy clouds - a change from the torrential rain on my last visit!

Cladham Diseirt is overgrown and unloved.

Iona is a special place, somewhere everyone should visit at least once.

Clach Brath (Bullaun Stone) — Fieldnotes

Visited 23.7.15

Just to report the Bullaun Stones are now back next to the well. As they appear in the photos.

So all is well at the well :)

Dunadd (Sacred Hill) — Fieldnotes

Visited 24.7.15

The last time I visited Dafydd was only 1 and Sophie not even a twinkle. Dunadd is a place I had wanted to bring them ever since.

Karen sat in the car while we headed up the short but steep uneven 'path' to the summit. We stopped half way up look at the well. We also read all the information boards. I think these are new since my last visit? In saying that it was pouring down then so perhaps I didn't take so much notice! No such problem today with blue skies and warm sunshine for a change on this otherwise wet Scottish holiday.

What I certainly didn't notice last time was the boar etched into the stone next to the famous footprint or the Ogham script. Dafydd and Sophie took turns trying their feet for size before we headed back down.

This is a great place to visit with extensive views. Should be on everyone's 'must see' list when visiting the beautiful Kilmartin valley.
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I have visited both historic and prehistoric sites for a number of years but since 'discovering' this website my visits have spiralled out of control!
I am now out 'exploring' as often as possible and have been to many wonderful places I didn't even know existed before using this website.
Having visited all the CADW sites I am now trying to visit all the E.H. sites and as many H.S. sites as possible.
In trying to achieve these goals I get to travel all around the country and with it the chance to visit as many sites as possible mentioned on this fine website. I hope some of you find my contributions a little helpful?
I have certainly found the contributions made by others to be both very informative and often quite amusing!
I must also mention the lovely Karen whom without her help, encouragement and understanding I would not be able to visit half of the places I do.
I am forever grateful.

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