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

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Carn Liath (Broch) — Fieldnotes

Visited 24.7.14

Sign posted off the A9.
The broch is to the south of the road. The car park is on the northern side.

Another day, another Historic Scotland site. And long may that continue!

The weather was fantastic again with the sun shining brightly and not a cloud in the sky.
I followed the path from the car park and carefully crossed the busy A9. Once across the road another path leads you to the broch.

A farmer was in the field harvesting his wheat. It was certainly the weather for it.
Access to the broch is via a kissy gate and an information board is provided.

The children were asleep in the car and I therefore had the place to myself. A rare joy!

This is a cracking broch to visit – particularly for mainland Scotland – and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. The broch is fairly well preserved with its guard chambers either side of the entrance. However, the highlight has to be walking up the short section of stairs which remain - a walk into prehistory!
Good coastal views are to be had from the top of the broch.

As I said, this is an excellent site to visit (better than I was expecting) and is a ‘must see’ when in the far north east of Scotland.
Just be careful crossing the road.

Kirklandhill Standing Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Miscellaneous

'Drive by' 30.7.14

Didn't stop as the field in which the standing stone resides was in crop.

The stone is tall and easy to spot from the adjacent A198.

Post-harvest visit required for a proper look.

East Aquhorthies (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 27.7.14

Sign posted from Inverurie.

This site is simply fantastic – one of the finest stone circles I have ever visited.

There is a designated parking area with an information board and a sign which states the circle is 400m away. Myself, Dafydd and Sophie walked up the tarmac path to the circle whilst Karen preferred to stay in the car and read.

The walk is very easy and I was delighted to find we had the circle to ourselves. The rain showers had stopped, the clouds began to break up and the sun was shining brightly – and hot.

I found the (relatively) modern stone wall surrounding the circle only added to the site and certainly wasn’t a distraction for me. The huge recumbent is a sight to behold. I wonder if the two large stones in front of the recumbent were put there to ensure it stays in place?

Dafydd and Sophie amused themselves by sword fighting (plastic swords!) whilst I enjoyed the otherwise peaceful location. There are decent views to be had to the east.

This was one of the highlights of the holiday for me and is now be amongst my favorite stone circles. I was knocked out by this place and we stayed as long as we dare knowing that Karen was waiting for us in the car. This is a place you could easily spend a long time savoring.

If you get the chance I would strongly recommend a visit. You won’t be disappointed.

If that wasn’t enough I also got to knock another H.S. site off the list!

New Craig (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 27.7.14

From Loanhead stone circle continue along the minor road north. When you see the circle remains on your right park on the verge. Access to the field is via a metal gate.

The field was full of cows but I walked past them without fuss. At the far end of the field I had to navigate an electric fence which didn’t prove to be too much of a problem.

The recumbent and its flankers have been built into a dry stone wall which has probably saved the circle from total destruction.

This stone circle is intervisible with the one at Loanhead. Both are on high ground.
Why two stone circles so close together? There again, why do we have so many churches so close together?

I am glad I took the trouble to visit New Craig and would recommend you do the same.

Buldoo (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 24.7.14

At Latheron on the A99 take the A9 north. The standing stones are on the rise immediately on your right. One of the stones can be seen from the road when heading towards Latheron.

Time was against us (as ever) and parking on the busy A9 is far from easy although we managed to pull over at a field gate. From here the standing stones can’t be seen so I walked up the field to the higher ground on my right.

As I reached the higher ground the first stone came into view – it is massive!
I assume it was used as some sort of marker for seafarers? It is certainly prominent!

Given the size of both stones I was surprised that I couldn’t see the second stone.
I didn’t have time to get ‘close up and personal’ with the stone I could see so perhaps the second stone is visible from the first? Or perhaps I was looking the wrong way?

Either way, this is a place I would like to re-visit when I have more time. The standing stone I saw is huge and well worth stopping off to see.

Loanhead of Daviot (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 27.7.14

Sign posted off the A96

The weather was showery but luckily the rain had stopped as we pulled up outside the Scout Hall. Access to the circle is through a kissing gate and along a short path.

Myself and Dafydd walked up to the circle whilst Karen and Sophie stayed in the car. As we approached we saw an Australian couple who were ‘doing’ Scotland. We said ‘hello’ and exchanged a few words (as you do) and the lady was telling her husband that she could only see two of (the reported) twelve cup marks.
‘Here’s one’ announced Dafydd. He was right, he had spotted another one.
The lady was most impressed. I informed her he has had practice!
Despite our best efforts we couldn’t spot any more. Perhaps the light wasn’t right?

The large recumbent is split along its length. Dafydd was easily able to walk through the cleft.
I have a photo of him stood ‘mid recumbent’ ready to be printed off.

I didn't know about the adult and child cremation cemetery which I read about on the information board.

There are good views over the countryside and needless to say this is a ‘must see’ site if you happen to be in the area.
That’s another H.S. site knocked off the list for me.

As we were leaving I spotted another recumbent and flankers on a rise to the north.
Must go and check that out!

Keoldale (Round Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Visited 23.7.14

On the A838 a short distance north of Cnoc-Na-Cnavan cairn.

Not much to report – a grass covered mound.
A short distance from the road over a low fence

CANMORE state:
‘The remains of a cairn, 12.5m in diameter and 1.2m high, now turf-covered and considerably mutilated’.

Loch Ebriboll (Round Cairn) — Miscellaneous

‘Drive by’ 23.7.14

On the southern shore of Loch Ebriboll.
Visible from the road.

A low gorse/fern covered mound.
Time constraints prevented a closer look.

CANMORE state:
‘On low-lying ground at the S end of Loch Eriboll, there is a small cairn 9.5m in diameter by 0.7m in height; there are a few stones protruding through the turf and also lying loose on the surface’.

Broomend of Crichie (Henge) — Fieldnotes

Visited 27.7.14

At the southern end of Port Elphinstone – behind the BP petrol station

Today was the first day we had rain. Considering we were now into the second week of our holiday we could have few complaints.

The area in which the henge stands is overgrown and has the appearance of waste ground – although I am sure it isn’t! Access to the field is via a metal gate.

The henge is easy to spot with the bank being between 1m and 2m high from the bottom of the ditch.

The standing stones are between 1.5m and 1.8m high. The Pictish symbol stone has nice markings on it. At least the weather made them easy to see.

It is a pity more is not made of this site. A good hair cut and an information board would go a long way. It doesn’t look like many people come here which is a shame.

Well worth a visit if you happen to be in the area.

Kyle of Durness (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 23.7.14

Alongside the A838 (east side) overlooking the southern end of the Kyle of Durness.

It was a beautiful, hot, sunny day in this lovely and remote part of Scotland. A cool breeze off the coast was very welcome. The cairn is visible from the road and we pulled over in a parking area near the bridge. Due to the nice weather the ground was dry underfoot but in wet weather it would be very bogy.

The grey stones of the cairn are covered in ‘hairy’ moss – a sure sign of the clean air here. The thick capstone was part covered in stones and ferns were growing out of the cist. The cairn is surrounded by ferns and heather. Evidence of recent peat cutting could be seen.

It is a great spot for a cairn. Mountains to the west and overlooking an unspoilt sandy bay. This is a good place to visit and well worth the walk up from the road. On the way back to the car I spotted Dafydd making his way up the hill. He had woken up and wanted to see the cairn for himself – good lad! As I approached the car Sophie was walking along the road to meet me. Despite it being an A road there wasn’t a car in sight – one of the reasons I love this area so much.

CANMORE state:
At the bottom of the cleared area at the center of the cairn is a cist, 1.2m by 0.6m by 0.5m deep internally with a displaced capstone about 1.2m in diameter and 20cms thick. Two small intrusions have been made on the SE side of the cairn, one of these are base level.
T C Welsh 1972.

A bare stone cairn 16.0m in diameter and 2.0m high, with a central cist as described by Welsh. There are no indications of a retaining circle. The trench round the N half has a well-defined scarp defining the far side and the ends; the near side is partially obscured by tumble off the cairn.
Revised at 1:10,000.
Visited by OS (J M) 16 November 1978.

Cnoc-Na-Cnavan (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 23.7.14

A short distance north of Sarsgrum Cairn on the A838. Near the car park and sign for the Cape Wrath ferry.

Not much to report – a grass covered mound.

CANMORE state:
‘A cairn evident as a turf-covered mound, approx. 17m in diameter and 1.5m in height, quarried from the N and E. There is no trace of the second cairn noted by Horsburgh, but immediately N of the cairn are traces of a circular enclosure some 19m in diameter, mutilated by car parking, and in too poor a condition to classify’

Sarsgrum (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

On the A838 – right next to a derelict farmhouse overlooking the Kyle of Durness.

Funny how Rhiannon posted folklore about this site only yesterday and now here I am posting field notes about the place!

This is a super site and I am really surprised that no one has commented on it before now giving it is right next to the main (only) road. As anyone who has visited this part of the world will know you can park pretty much where you like.

The cairn is right next to the derelict cottage and is enclosed by a stone wall. The pile of stones is quite large but best of all is the huge cap stone lying on top of it and its exposed cist!. There are also superb coastal views from the top of the cairn.

I love this part of the world. Where else can you park on an A road which has passing places and where you have to stop your car as there is a lamb suckling milk from their mother in the middle of the road! If you like isolation – this is the place to come. Fab!

I heartily recommend a visit to all who come to the far north – you have to drive past the thing anyway!

CANMORE states:
‘The remains of a large cairn about 50ft in diameter. Most of it has been removed, exposing a cist lying N-S and consisting of a covered slab, 4ft 10ins long by 3ft 4ins broad and 8ins thick, supported on three upright slabs, a fourth at the S end having fallen’. 1909

‘An overgrown cairn as described by RCAHMS and measuring 16m in diameter and 2m high’ 1960

‘This cairn, with cist exposed, as described by previous authorities’ 1978

River Dionard (Broch) — Miscellaneous

Drive by 23.7.14

The ruined broch mound can be seen from the A838 on the western side of the River Dionard.

CANMORE states:
Probable brochin Durness, Suther-land, sited on a spur above the west bank of the River Dionard. It consists of a large mound of earth and stones about 34min diameter on top of which are fragmentary remains of walling which suggest a round building about 18.6-19.0min diameter.

Source: 1. NMRS site no. NC36SE 6.
E W MacKie 2007

East Murkle (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

A short distance west of Castletown, north of the A836. Immediately north of East Murkle Farm.

The cairn is easily seen as a grass covered mound in an othervise flat grass field.

CANMORE states:
A low circular mound measuring about 32.0m in diameter and 1.5m high is under plough, revealing a basic content of earth and shale with some small stone slabs and limpet shells intermingled. In the SW periphery, two rectangular stone slabs of different character lie on the surface.
Visited by OS (N K B) 16 February 1965.

This cairn is a described by the previous field investigator, except that the two stone slabs are no longer evident.
Visited by OS (J B) 2 November 1981.

Cnoc Urray (Broch) — Fieldnotes

North of the A836 – near the Dounreay nuclear power station.

The ruined broch is clearly visible from the A836 as a very large grass covered mound in a flat field. The mound is directly under overhead power cables.

Due to time constraints and the close proximity of the power station (not sure what the security situation is like?) I chose to observe from the road. To be honest I don’t think there would be much to gain by a closer look anyway.

CANMORE states:
Notes NC96 5 KNOCK URRAY NC/98438 6630
Possible broch in Reay, Caithness, consisting of a grassy mound some 26.54m (87ft) in diameter and 3.05m (10ft) high and with a flat top 16.47m (54ft) in diameter on which may be a ruined broch. However no wallfaces are visible.

Sources: 1. NMRS site no. NC96NE 16: 2. RCAHMS 1911a, 94, no. 349.
E W MacKie 2007

Achkinloch (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Visited 24.7.14

Access to Achkinloch is via a short walk from the Great U and through a kissing gate.

Even though the weather had been hot and dry for days the ground was spongy. I imagine that in wet weather it would be very bogy underfoot.

If for no other reason it is worth visiting the chambered cairn as it is a good place to view the Great U.

The standing stone at the cairn is about 1m high.

Loch Rangag (Broch) — Miscellaneous

View from afar 24.7.14

Due to time constraints I was unable to have a proper look but the remains of the broch are easy enough to see from the main road A9.

If you do plan a visit there is a parking area on the A9 and access to the broch is via open moorland and over a fence.

The Great U of Stemster (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 24.7.14

Sign posted. Approximately 1 mile off the A9. Parking space next to stones.

Visiting the Great U involved a fairly long detour off our planned route but this was a site I was very keen to visit. I wasn’t disappointed.

The stones are surrounded by miles of bleak moorland with hills in the distance.
There are three information boards.
This is an excellent site and has a feeling of remoteness about it.

The stones are quite large and the grass around them not too overgrown.
It is odd how the stones are ‘side on’ instead of the normal ‘front facing’ – there must have been a reason why they set the stones up this way?

If you happen to be heading up the east coast of Scotland try to make time to visit the Great U. It is a most interesting place.

Dunino Den (Sacred Well) — Fieldnotes

Visited 29.7.14

Near the church in the village of Dunino on the B9131

This is without doubt the best ‘Sacred Well’ type site I have ever visited and was one of the highlights of my fortnight in Scotland. It is a superb place to visit.

We parked next to the church and I walked alone down the path running alongside the church towards the trees. It is a lovely little walk through the trees and you then come out to the promontory where the well is. The hole in the rock is circular (the water didn’t look that clean) and next to it is the foot carving – very similar to the one at Dunadd Fort. Yes, I did try my foot for size and yes it did fit!

From here I walked down the steep, slipper stone steps, cut through the cliff face which leads to the gorge floor and stream. This really is a very quaint set of steps although you do have to take care. As you reach the bottom you walk past the Celtic Knot carved into the rock (on your left). Whoever carved this did a very good job.

When I reached the gorge floor the first thing I noticed was the upside down tree trunk bug into the ground - a mini Seahenge no less! This is clearly still an important place to a lot of people. There were lots of ‘offerings’ all around. Teddies, toys, coins, ribbons, candles and even an old black and white photo of a couple sandwiched between two sheets of tin for protection. Someone’s deceased parents perhaps? Clooties festooned the lower branches of several trees. There was also a small hearth near the upside down tree trunk.

This place simply oozed with atmosphere. The sky was blue and the sun shone brightly down through the trees into the gorge, dappled by the leaves. Everywhere was shady and damp. Deep dark moss hung from rock and tree alike.

I really can’t put into words the sense of tranquillity felt here with only the sound of bird song and the trickle of water for company. Coming here gives an understanding of how the ‘sacred groves’ of old would be so important to the ancients. One thing is for sure, if there were such things as fairies, this is where you would find them.

I can’t recommend this place highly enough, especially on a day like today.
I left with a sense of contentment and a smile on my face.
This is why we travel all over the country to seek out these special places.

Carn Glas (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 21.7.14

Last time I was here I didn’t have time to park up and walk over to the cairn and had to settle for a view from the road. I was determined to put that right this time.

Karen pulled into the narrow lane opposite (Old Ferry Road) and I quickly crossed the road and headed across the field towards the trees and the cairn. I had to climb over a rusty and rickety barbed wire fence but it wasn’t too difficult.

Luckily the weather had been good and the grass underfoot dry and crispy but in wet weather it would be very bogy.

This really is a great spot for a cairn with expansive sea and mountain views. What was disappointing was the amount of rubbish left on and around the cairn. Not the normal type of rubbish you see – plastic bottles, wrappers etc. but old bits metal, farm machinery etc. There was even the remains of a fire and charred wood in a hollowed out section at the top of the cairn. No doubt a good spot for a BBQ?

I am really glad I got to have a proper visit. Much better than seeing from afar!

Acharn (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 21.7.14

Funnily enough I have driven past this stone several times over the years and although I have noticed it I didn’t realise its prehistoric origin.

It is fairly easy to pull over on the grass verge for a quick look at the stone although the A827 can be busy. The stone is on the left hand side of the road if travelling north into Killin.

The stone is about 1m tall and has a pointy top. It is leaning backwards away from the road.

Worth looking out for when heading to/from Killin.

Middle Lix 1 (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Fieldnotes

Failed visit 21.7.14

The trees have been cut down and the area is now a 'forest' of dry tree stumps and broken branches.
(Although to be fair sapplings have been planted)

The stile mentioned in earlier fieldnotes is also no longer there - not that I could see anyway.

I walked up and down but was unable to see the cup marked stone. It is surprising how much a dead tree trunk can look like a stone from a distance!

Hopefully you will have better luck when you visit.

Kinnell of Killin (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 21.7.14

Karen was keen to spend a bit of time in the gift shop – I wasn’t – so I took the children for a walk to this cracking stone circle. Any excuse!

The walk along the road was longer than I remembered and it didn’t take long for Sophie to start to complain. At least it wasn’t pouring down like the last time I visited.

Soon enough we reached the metal gate which gives access to the field where the circle resides (be careful of the electric fence next to the gate).

The crop in the field around the stone had been harvested although the grass in and around the circle was long. In addition to the six standing stones there are several large stones lying prostrate in the middle of the circle. Field clearance perhaps or fallen standing stones?

Oddly enough, although Fingal’s Stone is mention (and has a photo) in the Killin village paths guide I picked up from the library there is no mention of the stone circle. Perhaps because it is on private land? – although there is no problem with access.

This is a great (and easy) stone circle to visit set in a great location. As I have said before, Killin and its waterfalls is a great place to come and whilst there you just HAVE to visit the wonderful stone circle.

Fingal's Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 21.7.14

Once you have parked in the free car park, walk north along Main Street in Killin. On the left hand side you will see the library. Next to the library is the entrance to Breadalbane Park. From here a sign posted tarmac path leads you directly to the stone – complete with lamp posts for when it gets dark! They have even provided benches for you next to the stone to rest your weary bones!
What more could you ask for?

The stone has been clearly cemented into place and does look a little worse for wear – but at least it is still with us! It is about 1.3m high and the top is covered in green, white and yellow lichen. It also has some moss growing on the top.

There are fantastic views to the North West.

This is am easy site to visit and worth seeking out if visiting Killin.
Clearly access is a lot easier now than when Hamish visited over a decade ago.

Innes Bhuidhe (Promontory Fort) — Fieldnotes

Visited 21.7.14

Killin / The Falls of Dochart has to be one of my favourite places in Scotland.
If you are lucky enough to visit in nice weather it is fantastic to just sit on the large boulders watching the river flow around the rocks and island and down under the old stone bridge. I have visited many times but until now have never got around to obtaining the key from the Old Mill in order to visit the Clan Macnab burial ground – which just happens to be in the centre of the promontory fort.

After signing for the key to the access gate (which is on the bridge) a short walk along a ‘path’ takes you into the trees which cover the island. The ditch/rampart crossing the island is fairly easy to spot being about 1m high but largely overgrown. In all honesty there isn’t that much in the prehistoric way to see.

I continued on to the walled burial ground and entered through the metal gate.
The information board states that there are 15 graves here, 9 of them chiefs of the clan. There is one very old looking grave slab laying flat on the ground with a worn figure carved onto it.

This is a very peaceful place. Surrounded by trees with only the sound of birds and the rushing of water either side of the island from the higher falls. I am so glad I finally took the trouble to visit. If you happen to visit Killin (which is worth visiting in its own right) make sure you visit the Clan Macnab burial ground as well.

Cowiemuir (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Failed visited 26.7.14

Didn’t see it - couldn’t get anywhere near it.

The area is completely covered by head height gorse and vegetation.

Winter visit required for this one.

Memsie Burial Cairn (Round Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Visited 26.7.14

From Fraserburgh take the A981 south.
The cairn is on the B9032 (sign posted)

Another Historic Scotland site ticked off the list.
This cairn is a whopper – you can’t miss it!
Access is via a kissing gate and an information board is provided.

Memsie is a big old pile of stones and I am sure it gives the inhabitants of the nearby house something to talk about when looking out of their living room window! I didn't climb to the top as it felt uncomfoartable with the house so near.

What is perhaps best about a visit to Memsie is that it gives a good idea of how many of the now ruined cairns we visit must have looked when in their prime.

Brandsbutt (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 27.7.14

In the town of Inverurie. In the suburbs to the north west.
The Brandsbutt symbol stone is sign posted as it is a H.S. site.

There is an information board and the setting of the circle has been marked out on the grass. The site is well and truly knackered but, at least I guess, some of the stones remain.

The Pictish stone is also knackered but again, at least it is still with us.
Luckily the light was good and I was easily able to make out the carvings.

Worth a look if you happen to be visiting the pretty town of Inverurie.

Windhill (Standing Stones) — Miscellaneous

‘Drive by’ 22.7.14

Approximately 1 mile north of Beauly, either side of the A862.

After visiting the ruined Beauly Priory (H.S. site) it was getting late and we needed to get to the hotel for the evening. I didn’t get chance for a proper visit but the stone to the west of the A862 can be seen from the road, over a stone wall. It is not too far into the field.

I couldn’t see the stone to the east of the A862.

Garrywhin Cists — Fieldnotes

Managed to spot two of the cists.

One was near the path and well hidden in the heather to the south of the chambered cairn.

The other cist I saw is very easy to spot. It is right next to the path as you approach the cairn, just before the 2nd small wooden walkway.
And very nice it is too!
Three of the side stones remain in place and the cist is about 0.5m deep.

Well worth keeping an eye out for when visiting the cairn.

Garrywhin (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Sign posted off the A9 – just south of Ulbster.
Small car park a short distance from the start of the ‘path’.

We have taken our summer holiday in Scotland for the past several years but we always seem to end up somewhere on the (beautiful) western side of the country. We are looking to move to Scotland in the next few years and therefore wanted to explore parts we haven’t previously visited. This year we decided to ‘do’ the entire east coast to see what it was like and if there was anywhere we fancied living. This also (of course) gave me the chance to visit lots of ‘old stone’ sites and knock many Historic Scotland sites off the list. This is a great example where I was able to do both.

Sophie was asleep and Karen stayed with her whilst Dafydd and myself donned our boots and headed across the moor following the black and white poles. Dafydd took the lead and happily pointed out each new pole as it came into sight. The ‘path’ is easy enough to follow via kissing gate, stile and (in part) a wooden boardwalk, although the walk is nearly a mile.

The sun was beating down on us. It was hot and not a cloud in the sky (typical Scotland weather then!) A gentle breeze helped to keep us cool.

Soon enough we reached the site and needless to say had the place to ourselves. There are 3 large stones helping to support the dry stone walling, a small section of corbelled roof and 2 sets of upright stones which narrows the passageway. The place has a nice ‘remote’ feel about it, reminded me a bit of Orkney or Shetland. In the distance mist was rolling in from the sea. A great sight on this blue and sunny day.

Needless to say before long it was time to head back to the car.

This is a good place to visit and is a pleasant walk which is not too strenuous. However, in wet weather it would be very bogy and muddy in places so make sure you wear appropriate footwear. Flip flops would have been ok today!

Achilty (Henge) — Fieldnotes

Visited 22.7.14

Next to a minor road, north-west of Contin on the A835

Spotted this on my O/S map.

This was my last but certainly not best site of the day.

You can just about make out the circular ditch of the henge amid the tall spiky grass which indicates how wet and bogy the ground is here. Not much else to say really.
On the plus side it is right next to the road so access is easy.

If you are in the area and only have time to visit one henge go and see the one at Cononbridge instead.

CANMORE states:
Contin (Henge): A monument of which there is certain room for doubt. At first sight it seems to be a Class I henge, 75' diameter, but the bank appears to run without interruption across the entrance causeway in the ditch. Only excavation could determine if it was a henge. Even so, it is extremely likely that it belongs to some obscure phase of the transitional period early in the 2nd or even late in the 3rd millenium BC.
R W Feachem 1963

Probable henge, as described above. Slightly mutilated in the W quadrant.
Resurveyed at 1:2500.
Visited by OS (R D) 20 January 1965

Classified as a henge, as opposed to a possible henge.
H A W Burl 1969

South Ythsie (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 27.7.14

About 1 mile east of the village of Tarves.

We parked on the minor road to the west of the site and myself and Dafydd made for the circle whilst Karen stayed in the car with Sophie. A small wooden sign points the way. It only takes 5 minutes to walk along the path to the stones.
There is an information board set up by the Tarves Heritage Project 1995.

The six stones are erected on an obvious raised platform. The circle was surrounded by fields of wheat although the stones themselves were surrounded by long scraggy grass. The circle is only small but occupies a peaceful spot. It is certainly worth the minimum effort it takes to visit the stone circle.

It was a lovely hot sunny Sunday afternoon with blue sky and white fluffy clouds.
On the way back to the car we picked raspberries.

There are worse ways to spend an afternoon.

Cononbridge (Henge) — Fieldnotes

Visited 22.7.14

In the centre of Conon Bridge on the A862 – opposite the bus stop.

I was looking forward to visiting this site and I wasn’t disappointed.
It is a little cracker!

The site is well maintained, litter free and the grass cut short.
Although small you would be hard pushed to find a better preserved henge.
The surrounding ditch and entrance is very easy to see.

How on earth has it survived so well in the middle of a village surrounded by houses?
I was also surprised by the lack of information board.
The village/town should be proud to have this site in their care.

Make sure you allow time to visit this henge when in the area.

Tain Museum (Cup Marked Stone) — Fieldnotes

Failed visit 24.7.14

Outside the museum in the pretty town of Tain is a cup marked stone. Unfortunately the museum is in the church yard which is locked at night. We arrived at about 7.00pm but by then the gates were already padlocked. I was very disappointed.

Apparently it is also known as the Ardjachie Stone and is a boulder of red sandstone. It is 1.7m x 0.65m x 0.35m and has about 30 irregular cup marks dating from the Bronze Age.

It also has Pictish symbols on it.

One to visit when next in the area.

Bruan (Broch) — Miscellaneous

'Drive by’ 24.7.14

Easily seen from the main road when on the way to the nearby Hill O’Many Stanes.

It is visible as a large, two-tiered, grass covered mound, surrounded by a stone wall.

Hill O'Many Stanes (Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue) — Fieldnotes

Visited 24.7.14

We followed the signs from the A9 and soon arrived at the small car park where there were already several cars parked up. In fact we had to park on the verge as there were no parking spaces left.

I have to say I found the site to be a little disappointing. I was surprised by how small both the stones and the area they covered were.
I don’t think the fact the grass around the stones was long helped matters.

It was hard to make sense of the stones and I suspect an aerial view would be most beneficial. Everyone who was visiting could be heard expressing their opinions on what it could all mean. Dafydd asked me what they were for?
I simply replied I don’t know!

There are good views to be had and when I visited sea mist was rolling in from the coast. It was like being in an aeroplane above the clouds – fab!

Although, as I said, I found the site a little disappointing it is certainly still worth visiting when in the north of Scotland.

Another Historic Scotland site off the list!

East Blairbowie (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 28.7.14

Although sited right next to the road the stone was well hidden by long grass.

It is approximately 1m high and the top is covered in green lichen

Portfield Hillfort — Fieldnotes

Failed visit 20.7.14

After visiting the nearby Whalley Abbey Gatehouse (E.H. site) I attempted to visit this hillfort. I tried to access via the minor road to the north and the east, which is off the very busy A671.

There is no public access to the hillfort and the northern approach is blocked by someone’s house/garden. The eastern approach is blocked by a 10ft high hedge – with no gaps or gates!

If you are planning a visit I suspect the best option would be to ask permission from the people living in the house.

Dyke (Stone Row / Alignment) — Fieldnotes

Visited 20.7.14

As stated by new abbey the best place to park is at the side road a little south of the stone row. (Dyke Farm Nature Reserve)
There is nowhere safer, nearer, to park on the very busy A701.

It had been a long, hot, sunny day and this was my last site of the day.
Although the grass verge had been cut short the grass immediately around the stones had been left to nature. This meant the stones were largely hidden by long grass and nettles. Easy to miss if you didn’t know they were there.

The tallest stone (most southern) is about 1m high x 0.5m wide. Four paces away is the middle stone 0.5m high x 0.5m wide. A further 2 paces away is the northern stone which is the smallest, about 0.4m high x 0.5m wide.

Worth keeping an eye out for although I suspect 99.9% of the people passing have no idea they are here – or what they are for that matter!

Poldean (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 20.7.14

A smallish stone, a bit gnarled and about 1m high.
It stands in a field the other side of a barbed wire fence although it is easily seen from the side of the road.

Worth a quick look when passing.

Skip Knowe, Gateside (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 20.7.14

The standing stone is right next to a minor road which runs parallel to the A74.

It occupies a nice spot, under the bows of a tree, opposite a house.
The stone is the other side of a barbed wire fence. It is approximately 1.5m high x 1m wide.
It is smooth and the top of the stone is covered in moss.

Well worth a look if you are in the area.

The Clootie Well (Sacred Well) — Fieldnotes

Sign posted off the A832, west of Munlochy.

I had forgotten about this site but seeing the sign meant a stop-off just had to be made. There is a small free car park and the well is only a short walk away – just follow the bits of clothing hanging from the trees!

I have been to many places where clooties have been left and I usually find them quite respectful. However, to me, this was just a mess. There were masses of items bedecking what seemed like the entire wood. Old socks, jumpers, t-shirts, football shirts, trousers, sweat shirts – even a high visibility jacket! It looked like the aftermath of a hurricane hitting a laundry!
There were a few ‘tasteful offerings’ but in the main it looked like a load of old tat.

The well itself was quite nice but overall the site left a lot to be desired. I think someone needs to go through the site and clear out the tat and restore some of its dignity.
If anything I suspect it is even worse now than when Martin visited 10 years ago.

All in all it was a very disappointing visit.

Tealing (Souterrain) — Fieldnotes

Visited 28.7.14

Sign posted off the A90 at the village of Tealing.

Ha! – two Historic Scotland sites for the price of one (not that you have to pay to visit).
The sign states that visiting is allowed until 6.00pm. As it was only 6.15pm I wasn’t going to let that put me off.

My first port of call was the Dovecot which is said to have Bronze Age carvings on some of its stones. (No doubt nicked from the souterrain/earth house?)

The door to the dovecot was locked so I had a look at the stones from the outside. Unfortunately I couldn’t spot any of the carvings.
Perhaps they are on the inside?

From here I took the short walk to the earth house. There is an information board.
The site is in good condition and the cup and ring carving at the entrance is a fine example. Once down inside the earth house it feels a lot bigger that when looking down on it from the outside.

I liked it here and it is well worth a visit if you happen to be in the area.

Templewood (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 28.7.14

After navigating the hedge and barbed wire fence I’m afraid I couldn’t see anything. The cairn was totally overgrown.

No point in visiting in the summer months unless this site has a good hair cut first.

Finavon Hillfort — Fieldnotes

Visited 28.7.14

A short distance north-west of the Aberlemno stones along a narrow and steep minor road. The site is signposted off the main road but not along the minor road .

We parked at a field gate and myself and Dafydd set out for the hillfort whilst Karen stayed in the car with the sleeping (thankfully!) Sophie. We crossed the road and climbed through the ‘trap door’ of the deer fence – a first for me.

It was a tricky climb up the very steep and slippery side of the hill but we eventually made it. The weather was beautiful and I was thankful for the cooling breeze. From the top we could see for miles.

The hillfort was quite overgrown with long grass, bushes and several trees. Despite being close to a road (albeit a very minor one) this site has a feel of ‘remoteness’ about it. We walked around the perimeter of the hillfort before making our way back to the car and our waiting companions. It was even more slippery on the way down!

It does require a degree of effort to visit Finavon Hillfort but it is well worth it.

Aberlemno 2 (Cup Marked Stone) — Fieldnotes

Visited 28.7.14

I loved it here.
The Aberlemno standing stones are fantastic. I have done a bit of reading recently about the Picts and the carved stones they have left us. I was therefore looking forward to seeing these stones – I wasn’t disappointed.
You can park outside the village hall?
Luckily the light was just right to see the stones and the carvings at their best.

In addition to the three stones alongside the B9134 (take care) make sure you don’t miss the one at the nearby church yard. It is simply magnificent.

This group of stones is worth travelling a very long way to see.

One of the highlights of my holiday.

Cullerie (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 28.7.14

Sign posted off the B9119 / B9125.

Another Historic Scotland site knocked off the list!

From the parking area a path via an avenue of trees leads you to the stone circle. It was nice to see that a ramp is in place to allow disabled visitors access.

The great weather continued with blue sky and white fluffy clouds.

Eight stones (boulder type) and eight cairns, all within a previously burnt area of land - so reports the information board. All very interesting……….

Yes the site has been ‘tidied up’ a lot, but I liked it here and consider it well worth a visit.
For those with any mobility issues this is an ideal site to visit.

Nine Stanes (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 28.7.14

The last time I visited this fine site it was pouring with rain. I liked it so much I was determined to re-visit when next in the area - hopefully on a nice day. Well, today was the today and luckily, the weather was great – hot with a clear blue sky.

We parked at the gate and were confronted by a sign stating that due to forestry work being carried out access to the circle was temporarily prohibited. Sod that! Myself, Dafydd and Sophie walked along the track towards the circle whilst Karen stayed in the car in case anyone turned up.

It was good to see the sign requesting visitors to respect the stone circle and not to damage them by lighting fires.

This is a lovely stone circle in a very pretty woodland setting. I always find wooded settings most pleasing. There is something about the trees, birdsong etc.

Clearly we weren’t the only recent visitors judging by the ‘offerings’ left on the recumbent stone – peaches, flowers and even a home made ‘prehistoric’ arrow, complete with knapped stone arrow head. Someone put a lot of effort into that.

This really is a great stone circle to visit.
If you get the chance make sure you don’t miss out.

Cairn O' Mount (Round Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Visited 28.7.14

Alongside the B974.
Although feels like the middle of nowhere.

I didn’t know about this cairn and you can imagine my surprise as we drove past this huge pile of stones. There is a large parking area near the cairn which is used as a ‘view point’. There were lots of people enjoying the view but no one seemingly taking any notice of the cairn – their loss.

The cairn is easily as large as the Memsie Cairn (H.S. site) and someone has built a modern mini-cairn on top of it. It wouldn’t take much to get rid of this unwelcome parasite.

Needless to say there are fantastic views in all directions.

This was a great surprise and well worth stopping off for if you are driving along this fairly remote road.
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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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