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

Miscellaneous Posts by winterjc

Latest Posts

Ballochmyle Walls (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

We travelled from the North on the A76. Just after the town of Mauchline we turned right onto a minor road (it's the last right turn before the A76 crosses the River Ayr). We parked a couple of hundred yards down this road. At this point there is a style on the right hand side of the road and a path then takes you over a grassy field then into the woods. Just into the woods you cross a little wooden bridge and just after that there is a rough path which goes up an embankment from the right hand side of the main footpath. Follow this rough path and persevere for a couple of hundred yards until you get to the walls.

The Auld Knowe (Stone Circle)

This former stone circle once consisted of up to six stones. The original site is still marked in the new OS Explorer map as being right next to the Auld Knowe. This totally threw us when we were looking for this place.
The Canmore website describes the original site as being 24 yards from the foot of the Auld Knowe. It seems that the remaining three stones were dumped at the edge of the field a further couple of hundred metres north of the original site closer to the banks of the river Teith. The Canmore site states that this stone circle was destroyed in 1980. It's now very difficult to appreciate the relationship between the original circle and the sacred Auld Knowe.

Glenhead Standing Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

The stone sits at the edge of Moon Plantation and the nearby stone row has possible lunar alignments.

The patches of near white, brittle quartz on the surface of the stone together with it's weathered cup markings reminds me (like the middle stone of the stone row) of the surface of the moon (not that I've been to the moon - of late).

Glenhead Stone Row (Stone Row / Alignment)

The Stones of Wonder website (see links) suggests that the row is a lunar monument.
The middle stone looks a bit moon-like with all it's cup markings at the top - could this have been an intention?

The stone sits a few hundred yards to the west of moon cottage, on the moon plantation. There is a strip of woodland just to the north called moon strip which follows the same alignment as the monument. I dont know if these were named after the possible lunar nature of the site or not.

Auchterarder (Standing Stones)

The two stones on the embankment were entangled in undergrowth and barbed wire and I couldn't get close enough to check out the carved hand on the NW stone which I'd read about on the Ancient Scotland website (see links).

The other stone on the embankment (SE stone) has deep fissures which look quite uniformed and might be carved.

The stone on the junction sits at an angle and looks as if it has been hit by one of those Range Rovers.

The roads look as if they have been there a long time and it seems feasible that these three odd stones are the remains of a bigger monument.

Auchenlaich Cairn (Chambered Cairn)

The cairn at Auchenlaich, is thought to be a contemporary of a nearby homestead at Claish, 1.5km to the west, which is currently being excavated. Claish has been dated at 6000 years old and was a relatively huge and complex timber structure, 25m by 10m, thought to be capable of housing many families.

The nature of the homestead and the size and unique nature of Auchenlaich cairn, suggest that this area was a place of real power.

The Hills of Dunipace (Sacred Hill)

In the early 80's, the company, 'Rechem', now called 'Shanks' ran a plant which incinerated, amongst other things, the life neutering, 'poly chloro biphenyls (PCB's) right across the road from the hills, at the other side of the roundabout. There was a higher rate of local children born with abnormalities (in particular, eye deformities) and a local farmer had a horrendous amount of cattle born with deformities. The farmer was powerless against the well paid lawyers who represented Rechem and indeed the law (as it still stands). You've still got to prove that these things were not caused by other factors - and that's impossible. There was a lot of publicity around at the time in the local and Scottish press - and Rechem eventually closed shop and sloped off in 1984 and still have (hopefully more efficient) plants in Wales and England. There's not much talk of infant eye problems and cattle deformities in the area these days.

A footnote - Dennis Thatcher was a Rechem shareholder.

The etymology of 'Dunipace' has been a bit contentious.
The popular theory is that after the Roman peace treaty [or treaties] the name was given as a hybrid of the Scots, 'Dun' and the Roman-Latin, 'Pax', meaning the Hills of Peace.
Another, less popular theory is that it comes from the Welsh, 'din-ya-pas', meaning 'Hills of the Pass'. This is backed up by the fact that there was an important ford nearby on the River Carron. This ford is likely to have given this unusual place an added focus since ancient times.
Another theory is that ot derives from the Gaelic, 'duin-na-bais', meaning 'Hills of Death'. This may come from the strong possibility that the hills were used for burial/cremation purposes (see folklore).
This 'death' may also be the 'death' of old ways; rebirth. This interpretation would be consistent with the various treaties and changes of direction which were decided here (see folklore). This death of old ways/rebirth/resolution would also tie in with the obvious maternal aesthetics of these two great mounds by the river, which were surely not lost on our ancestors. I get the strong feeling that this place was strongly revered by the ancients and I dont want a pick and shovel to prove it and subsequently demystify this place.

The prominence of the SE hill in the flat valley and indeed the dimensions of the SE hill remind me so much of Silbury. Is Dunipace another possible proto-Silbury site? I think so. (see photos of SE hill from W. and from River Carron)

I think this place is both very special and misunderstood - it's not just a place of peace or death - it's a place of all of this - and also a place of resolution - because that's what's needed more than just peace.

Sitting there today (for whatever today stood for), I thought about this place's past and the whole UFO shenanigans and I decided that Neil Young's, 'After the Goldrush' was my theme for this place. (get to! can if I want?!).

-'Flying mother nature's silver seed to a new home in the sun'-

and what's more resolute than that?!

However, the aliens ignored my inner pleas and I'm still here typing and if your still reading this..............

Dumgoyach Stones (Stone Row / Alignment)

There are 6 stones closely aligned from SW - NE. One remaines standing at 5 ft.
The archaologist, Andrew Selkirk believed that this was not simply a stone alignment, but that what sits there today are the remains of a long cairn. Aubrey Burl goes along with this theory in his book 'Carnac to Callanish'.
Charcoal was found here and the carbon was dated to 5400-5500 years.
I'm not sure if the charcoal found, indicates that this may well have been a burial site.

Pathfoot Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

This stone disappeared for a while during the 80's/90's. The stone has been re-erected in a concrete base on an embankment at the side of Hermitage Road and has been clumsily patched up, also with concrete - it looks as if it broke into 3 pieces along natural fissures in the stone.
Its difficult to tell if the Airthrey Stone, which stands 800m to the east, was visible from the Pathfoot Stone (and vice versa) before the 5-stories student blocks were built just accross the road to the east.
I restudied an 1898 map and a modern map and I think the stone has been re-erected pretty much in the original spot - certainly within 5 metres (god I'm getting sadder- it took me ages to work this out, imperial, metric, angles etc.)

The stone was the focus of the growth of the village of Pathfoot and this was the site of a large, annual cattle tryst (market) in the 18th century. The estate owner in the early 19th century, 'discontinued the village', rehousing the inhabitants elsewhere and knocking down the buildings. There is no trace of the village today.

Stone of Mannan (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Julian Cope said in an interview with the Fire and Water literary website that he didn't want to include the stone in the book, because of the confusing history/folklore.

Tuilyies (Standing Stones)

Wow!
I've checked out the photos at the website link provided by Dude Skywalker.
The small stones have recently been re-erected and I'll have to make a point of visiting soon.

Waterhead Standing Stones

These stones are also known as the 'Machar Stones'.
I dont know if there is a connection to the celtic Saint Machar, who is celebrated mostly in the Aberdeenshire area.

Sheriffmuir Stone Row (Stone Row / Alignment)

The Sheriffmuir 'Inn' is sadly no longer the traditional Inn it once was and has went uncomfortably upmarket in my opinion. You can still get a pint there and it is the best place to park when visiting the stones.

Orkney

I found this quote on the Orkneyjar website (see links).
The Orcadian writer, George Mackay Brown wrote, "We cannot live fully without the treasury our ancestors have left to us"

Clach an t-Sagairt (Chambered Cairn)

Clach an t-Sagairt is Gaelic for 'The Sacred Stone(s)' or possibly 'Stone(s) of the Priest'. Sagairt derives from the Latin 'sacerdos' where we get the word 'sacred' from.

Airthrey Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Until earlier this year, the area of land immediately surrounding the Airthrey stone was a grassy, gently sloping and undulating field, which was outside the develoed area of the university campus on the edge of a golf course.
Two years ago, the University lodged an application to develop this land into rugby pitches. The original plans did not even refer to the stone.
After protests, the plans were altered and the stone was to be "protected" inside a tacky, fenced off, platformed viewing area. Thankfully the platform didn't happen.
What did happen though was that, because of the sensitive nature of the site, the local council referred the plans to the Scottish Executive and then after a few months, and without any public announcement, the work to flatten the land started earlier this year. Thousands of tons of earth and rock were spirit-levelled in the land around the stone, irrepairably taking this monument's immediate landscape from it. Now it stands, fenced off between the ironed flat pitches on one side and a golf course on the other.

Stirling University has both a history and an environmental science dept.!!?

What do you do when your spirit has been levelled by the hard, cold, yellow bastards (and I dont mean the JCB's)?

You do what the Airthrey stone does - keep standing!

And it does, all of 15ft high and 9 ft. wide. It still has the Abbey Craig to the south and the Ochils on the north east for support - and the sun and the moon and the stars - and us.

Castleton (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

3 years ago (in 1998) I lived 2.5 miles NW of this site in Fallin village.
At this time, I had a vivid dream that I was on a search for something, walking along a long straight farm track towards some rocky hillocks and a quarry. In this dream, I knew that this place was somewhere in between Stirling and Falkirk in an area of land which I hadn't been to before, and that I was walking away from my home roughly south bound.
In another dream, which I had at around the same time, I flew (or visually travelled) from my home, across the flat carselands towards Airth village, and then through a wood, where there seemed to be something special. It didn't matter that I couldn't see it - it felt youthful-alive-a real treasure. I woke up and I knew where this was, roughly, although I hadn't been there before.
I had these dreams at a time when I was becoming more aware of my, and our ancient pasts.
The first time I knew of the cup and ring markings at Castleton, was last year, when I noticed cup and ring markings were indicated on the new edition of the landranger OS map. (These markings were never mentioned on any of the previous editions of the map and I was a bit spooked).
I searched on the internet and found mention of the markings at the RCAHMS website and became a bit obsessed.
I eventually visited Castleton last October (2000), and the shape / form of the rocks, the old quarry, the long straight farmtrack SE of Cowie and the woods just north of Hillhead farm nearby, all felt like they were in the right places in relation to the dreams.
To get to the site, I walked from the village of Plean to Carnock House and through the woods at Hillhead farm. Going home, I walked along a straight farmtrack to Cowie. I'd never been to this whole area before.
The next time I go, I intend to walk from Cowie along the straight track going south east from the village - as this seems to be the way I walked in the first dream.
winterjc hasn't added a profile


My TMA Content: