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Fieldnotes by thelonious

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Clava Cairns

18/04/2016 - We spent the day before round the Loch Ruthven area, east of Loch Ness, looking for cairns. Good fun trying to find them but there wasn't much to see with some of them. With that in mind, we thought a revisit to Clava was in order on the way back to Aberdeen. Easy to find and lots to see, that will do me.

This really is a top drawer site. Last time here the cairns were the main focus for me. Today I spent most of my time walking round the stones that form circles round the cairns. They really are good. Lots of individual character to them.

There was a lovely tawny owl sitting high in the trees above the stones, like a silent guardian last time but sadly we didn't see it today.

Very peaceful visit with the place to ourselves for most of the time.

Clava Cairns - one of this island's wonders.

Stac Dearg (Kerbed Cairn)

17/04/2016 - Well this is a bit of an odd one. First finding it proved pretty tricky. Grid ref from Canmore has this cairn about 70m west, in the middle of a lot of trees, so we spent a good bit of time ducking under branches trying to find it in the wrong place. We gave up and walked out of the wood into a clearing and there it was. So if you go looking for it, best to walk along the road until you see a ride and head straight up. Bit easier than our way!

As cairns go it's not that exciting. Very overgrown and I couldn't see any kerb stones. To be honest it took me a while to convince myself I was actually looking at a cairn at all.

Of more interest is what Canmore (link below) has to say about it and the two stones 27m and 35m SW of the cairn. Hints of astronomical significance maybe.

Eastertown (Kerbed Cairn)

17/04/2016 – It had been a good day so far. A couple of hills, a couple of cairns, sunny weather for the most part and a nice area for a walk. The day was getting on but we decided to visit one more hill as it was too fine to stop just yet, even though I was starting to feel a bit sleepy. Looked OK on the map, quick bob up the hill and then three cairns on the way back down. Good parking at side of Loch Duntelchaig (NH 6450 3237) where the track heads NE through the forest. We left the track near its highest point, just as it turns W and followed the fence line N and then beside the deer fence E to the trigpoint (good views).

Retracing our steps downhill we had a look for the cairn at NH 6478 3320 (Canmore - Cairn Gollan). This one beat us at hide and seek in the trees and undergrowth so we gave up and moved W on the track, through hut circles and then SW alongside a fence. The path is W of the fence but stick on the E side as that’s the side Eastertown cairn is on.

Eastertown cairn is roughly at NH 6438 3295, in a small clearing just inside the trees along the fence (You can see the clearing on Google Earth). Look for the light of the clearing through the trees as you walk down the fence line. The cairn is a decent size but very overgrown. It has a small modern cairn on top, but I couldn't make out any of the kerb stones.

We carried on along the track and then through the trees south back to the road, stopping to have a look for Stac Dearg kerb cairn. Not the best cairns round here but the walk along the track, through the trees is good.

Creag Innis an Daimh Dhuibh (Cairn(s))

17/04/2016 – We parked at Loch Ceo Glais and walked south along quiet roads to the start of the forest track just after Eudinuagain. Makes for a fine walk and parking isn’t that great nearer the hill. Follow the forest track round the hill W then S then take the ride SW and another ride E. Easy going and the cairn is not that hard to find in open woodland. I really liked this one. Nice size with plenty of stones. Canmore makes no mention of an exposed chamber but the middle looks like a collapsed chamber to me. Some pretty big stones in the cairn as well. Great vibe to this site and the top of the hill is worth a visit for the view as well.

Loch Ceo Glais (Kerbed Cairn)

17/04/2016 - Easy parking in the layby just after the end of Loch Geo Glais. The cairn is a steepish but short walk straight up. OS map 1:25000 has the cairn higher up the hill but it's right next to the pylon directly above the layby.

The heather has been burnt in the area so the stones are nice and visible at the moment. It's a small cairn but the kerb is good. I like that it was two-toned. One half of the kerbs are white stones, the other red. I didn't think I'd seen this before until I revisited Balnuaran of Clava the day after and saw that the stones round the NE passage grave were two-toned as well. The location of this kerb cairn is good with great views for such a small gain in height.

We carried on up the hill as there is a cairn marked in italics on the OS map on the 442m top. It's not on Canmore but I thought we'd have a look on the way to Beinn a'Bhathaich. It was small, pretty ruined and didn't look that ancient so I've not added the site.

Wolstonbury (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

20/03/2016 - We were going to come off the hills just past Ditchling Beacon on our walk from Lewes but the pull of Wolstonbury Hill proved too strong. It had been an overcast day but the sun finally came out as we started the climb to the top. Good earthwork surrounding the large summit area. I liked this one. Nice place to while away a few hours. We headed down the steep north side and made our way to Burgess Hill. A fine site to finish our trip down south with.

Ditchling Beacon (Hillfort)

20/03/2016 - The highest top on our walk from Lewes. Not too much to see round the trigpoint. We had a sit and took in the view north, which is very good. Lots of people there having Sunday strolls. Makes you wonder how long these paths have been walked.

Mount Caburn (Hillfort)

18/03/2016 - Walking over from Alfriston to Lewes we had only one chance for a coffee shop and that was when we passed through Glynde. Our luck was in as the Little Cottage Tea Rooms is located just across the road from the footpath up to Mount Caburn. Refuelled on coffee and carrot cake, we made the short but steepish climb up to the hillfort. I'd seen the hillfort from the train the day before and it had looked a good one. Crossing over the defences, we made our way over to the bench on the south side for a sit. This really is a nice hillfort and well worth a visit. The location and view is very good. We headed north to Cliffe Hill and then down into Lewes. There looks to be quite a few good walks round here that take in the hillfort. Top area.

Firle Beacon (Round Barrow(s))

18/03/2016 - Nice round barrow on summit of Firle Beacon (the long barrow is 220m west of the summit). The view is the main reason to visit here, it's very good. Bit overcast today but the paragliders were enjoying the weather, the sky was full of them.

Windover Bowl Barrow (Round Barrow(s))

17/03/2016 - In a landscape full of tumuli, this bowl barrow stands out. Crossing Wilmington Hill from Jevington to Alfriston is a lovely walk. Just west of the top, this barrow is visible from a good distance away. Nice ditch and even though it's been dug into in the past I loved the shape of the barrow. Great view as well. Completely forgot about the long man whilst there as I was in a bit of a daydream. Be good to go back someday as I would of liked to have seen it. Another fine day out walking and looking at old stuff.

Wilmington Hill Barrow Cemetery (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery)

17/03/2016 - Every hill seems to have a tumuli on it round here. This one on Wilmington Hill, ain't much different looking to the rest but the location is fine and the walk to it is good. A place to stop and just sit by. No need to rush the view.

Bourne Hill (Round Barrow(s))

17/03/2016 - I liked this one. We had a fine walk over from East Dean Hill trigpoint to the south, passing a fair few tumuli along the way. Good view all around from the top and a nice blue sky. We sat for awhile before heading off west to Wilmington Hill.

Moel y Gaer (Hillfort)

25/12/2015 - Managed a quick bob up Moel y Gaer to see this hillfort on a wet Christmas day. Luckily the rain had stopped for the short time we were there. It's a nice fort and the location and view is very good. Worth a look and not too much climb.

Links Of Dunnet (Broch)

26/09/2015 - Good access from Dunnet Forest car park. Only a short walk across a field to this one. Down as a mound on the maps but excavation has found it to be a broch. Not much to see, just a small grassy mound with the odd stone. Just north of the broch is a hut circle I really liked. A few remaining stones make up a nice little cell within the hut circle, maybe a place to sleep.

Links of Greenland (Cairn(s))

26/09/2015 - Two cairns marked on the OS map just next to the main road and to be honest, not the most exciting. Both small grassy lumps in an area of larger grassy lumps and bumps. Be good to know if they are definite cairns.

Easter Head (Cairn(s))

27/09/2015 – Felt a bit fed up midweek, so as we had the next Monday off, we decided to revisit Dunnet Head for the weekend. I’d been before but after seeing thesweetcheat’s photo on here a few years back I couldn't remember if I’d actually been to the top. Still it’s a fine place and well worth another trip, so off we went.

We took the train up. It’s a nice journey and my neck was aching a little by the time we reached Thurso from looking out for all the old stuff we could see from the window. I gave a little nod to Citizen Cairn'd as we went through Strath of Kildonan. Even saw a few of its cairns as we went by.

Started the walk from Dunnet the next day. A lovely circuit up the road to the Lighthouse then looped back west along the clifftops to Dunnet. About 12 miles and a really fine walk.

The cairn, at the high point of Dunnet Head, has been built over by a viewing area, so it’s not in great shape but the location is amazing. We were lucky with the weather and the view over to Orkney was great. Hoy looking so near. My GPS told me as I sat by the cairn that Ring of Brodgar was only 38km away in a straight line, not that you can see it from here but it felt close.

A fine visit and well worth going to if you are in the area.

We took the train home the following day. It always seems longer on the way back.

Binsey (Cairn(s))

17/09/2015 - Binsey is one of the last humps and bumps of the Lake District going north. Good parking and access from the west, track all the way to the summit. Cairn on top is pretty trashed but must have been a good one when first built. The walk up is fine and not too steep. The view from the top is very good and probably the better reason to go then the cairn. Nice view of the north side of Skiddaw and looking north Dumfries and Galloway looks almost touchable.

Castlerigg (Stone Circle)

14/09/2015 - I don't think I've been as excited for ages as I was when walking to this circle. Having seen so many lovely photos on TMA of Castlerigg before I went, I couldn't wait to see it for myself. A nice walk from Keswick along good footpaths set the scene before getting there. I know I shouldn't have been, but I was still surprised to see it was as lovely in real life as on the screen. A wonderful circle of stones, with a near unparalleled backdrop of hills. The setting is just perfect. Yes, it's busy with people, but they come and they go and we did manage to get the circle to ourselves for a few precious minutes. A megalithic must visit.

Long Meg & Her Daughters (Stone Circle)

12/09/2015 - Not much to add to everyone else's fieldnotes apart from to say I've been here and you know, I thought it was just great. Weather was a bit dull and rainy on the way there but luckily it stopped just as we arrived. I don’t know why but I wasn't that excited about this one beforehand. Really went because it is so well known and I liked the name. A few people there when we arrived but we soon had the circle to ourselves. The longer I spent just dawdling around the stones, the more the place grew on me. Long Meg is a lovely big stone and some of the stones that make up this massive circle are just great. There is one big dobby stone on the west side near to where we parked that I really liked. All in all, a great visit and a fantastic circle.

Arbory Hill (Hillfort)

11/09/2015 - Started from the car park in Abington. A fine walk up the old roman road to visit Castle Hill then onto Tewsgill Hill before making our way across to visit the fort on Arbory Hill. A great place for a walk. As others have mentioned the straight up the hill approach is a steep one, it was tough enough on the knees on the way down. It does give you a good idea of how good a location the fort has. I wouldn't have wanted to have been part of any attacking group from this side. The fort is a good one, great walls, but for me the location is what makes this one special. Well worth a visit.
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