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Tot Nan Druidhean (Cairn(s))

Visited: August 22, 2016

Located just 300 metres south of the entrance to Upper Tote on the A855, Tot nan Druidhean is unmistakable as a prominent, very large cairn 40 metres east of the road. There is ample space to park a vehicle opposite Upper Tote.

The cairn is a prominent grass-covered cone situated on a mound and rising high above the moor. Access is through a gate, whence a metalled track heads south a short distance from the cairn. What appear to be two 2-metre tall ramparts circle round and abut the cairn like a giant pair of pincers.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
27th August 2016ce

Corrymuckloch (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

New find today from an area I know very well.
I think this has been moved from elsewhere .Possibly dug up in the Beauly -Denny hydro work that has been going on in the area and put somewhere "safe ".
tiompan Posted by tiompan
24th August 2016ce

Avielochan (Clava Cairn)

If you could join Avielochan and Granish together there would almost be a complete Clava Cairn. Like Granish it is a superb site surrounded by beautiful scenery.

We approached from the south from Granish taking the first road east on the A95. Take the twisty track past the houses and wee loch (called Avie Lochan) until a sharp corner. Look north into a field with what looks like a long cairn to find the cairn nestled amongst the trees.

Visited 31/7/2016.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
24th August 2016ce

Granish (Clava Cairn)

Granish is an absolute belter of a site and remains in good condition and is as described in Gladman's superb notes.

Like Gladman my map reading skills seemed to fail. I parked at the first layby on the A95 north of Aviemore thinking the site was almost next to the road. After leading, AC, RM and B on a wild goose chase I checked the OS map and found it to be the other side of the railway to the north east. Whistling Last Train To London I jumped the fence, got a row for doodling on the track, jumped the next fence and wandered through some trees to find the site.

What a site and like Mr G I think the tree adds to the place.

31/7/2016.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
24th August 2016ce

Aviemore (Clava Cairn)

The name of the estate the ring cairn is situated is called Muirton, heaven knows why I haven't mentioned this before as I have been here plenty of times before. Still nicely kept and manicured. On a another note it was nice to see Aviemore heaving with people.

Re-visited 31/7/2016.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
24th August 2016ce

Loanhead of Daviot (Stone Circle)

21/08/2016 - Been back home a couple of weeks now since my trip north. I've been feeling a bit sad the last few days as that's probably it trip-wise until next year. Woke up this morning thinking I should visit a nearby site to cheer myself up a little. Not a great time of year for visits to RSCs on farmland as a lot are in crop so we picked Loanhead as the parking's good and there are no access problems. I don't think I've been here in the summer before, I always think of it as a cold place. The sun on the stones made them shine out against the lovely greens all around and the whole setting reminded me a little of the cairns at Clava today. The stones of the circle were bigger than I remembered, especially the recumbent. I guess everyone does different things to blow the blues away. Saying hello to old stones works for me :-) thelonious Posted by thelonious
21st August 2016ce

Corrimony (Clava Cairn)

Corrimony.
What a great sounding name, I get a bit Corrimony myself sometimes, it's just the worst TV show ever, excepting E stenders of course.
It's been so long since my first time here that it was in my pre-digital days, well over ten years then, time to get reacquainted. After so many delights in the Outer Hebrides I was unwilling to let go of the week and go home. So before the long trip home I decided to start the trip by going in the opposite direction by fifty miles, you get to drive along the world famous Loch Ness where you always have the chance of bumping into a giant dimension hopping slug. Also you can laugh and point at the money throwing tourists at Urquhart castle, anyone worth his or her salt knows you sneak in after it's shut.
It was a sunny mid morning on Saturday in July, there was lots of people in Drumnadrochit, but happily there was no one at the Clava cairn, when we got there.
I grabbed the camera, the lad and the dogs, in that order and strolled over like there was no worries in the world. Until another car pulled up, instead of sitting in their car for a bit or going elsewhere they just got out and followed us to the cairn. Bloody cheek. We had the stones to ourselves for less than two minutes.
If it was me, I would have given them the stones for ten minutes before making my presence felt, did they? no! they just wandered about willy nilly bombing all my photos. People come up to the highlands because it's pretty, little realising that there's actually bugger all to do really, so they just bum around looking briefly, glancing really, at every and all historic, or naturally pretty place. Surely after twenty years of stone watching I should be able to cope with it (pun intended), but no, I rail against any and all ignorant behavior. I was well disappointed, such a brilliant site in wondrous surroundings, then to cap it all several other younger people turned up in a trendy hatchback, they hadn't a clue about stoning etiquette either, we quit the site and left in a huff.
I'm not suggesting we all form an orderly queue, or that people who don't really care about the ancient past, shouldn't come, just that if the Postman is there, sod off , buy some postcards, misaddress them to someone who doesn't care where you are and don't come back.

Too much? but by gum I was narked.
postman Posted by postman
15th August 2016ce

Bernera Bridge Circle (Stone Circle)

Well, this is a thoroughly argumentative place isn't it.

Follow the road to Bernera, easy enough, when you get to the bridge you should be able to see the stones above and left, park in the ample car park and go up, dead easy.
What isn't dead easy is understanding what on earth is going on.
The big stone you come to first has been set back up in a fairly inappropriate way, the packing stones are free of the ground , cemented together and stained a weird kind of red. But it is the best looking of the three big stones, shiny, swirling, quartzy and pretty. The other two stones aren't quite as pretty but no less impressive in size.
I first walk all around them looking from here and there, near and far, the one conclusion I come up with was I wish I had more time with clearer skies. This is a strange place.
It isn't a stone circle, or even a semi circle.
The other half of the circle cant have fallen into the sea as the outcrop on the other side of the fence is worn smooth over many more thousands of years than the stones have stood here. It can't have gone down there. I think it's three standing stones, which seem to be looking over the edge, to what was ever down there, perhaps a whirlpool, perhaps an ancient bridge, now underwater, perhaps there was nothing of note down there at all and the stones are astronomical in nature, they do describe a crescent, moonish by shape.
Who knows, no one it seems.
And dont get me started with the birthing chair, imagine your a woman and it's time to bring new and precious life into the world, would you sit on a rock above a cliff, outdoors. I know I wouldnt want that, it's just as likely to be a shitting chair, Lewisian gneiss is well known for curing constipation, or perhaps the king of lewis had his scat collcted as it erupted and then sold across the north of Britain as souvinirs.
But what a fantastic place. No where would a time machine come in more handy.
postman Posted by postman
14th August 2016ce

Ceann Hulavig (Stone Circle)

It's half eleven in the morning and we've got about four hours before we must catch another ferry, so there's time for a couple of essential sites I never got round to on my first time on this island.
First is this one Ceann Hulavig, Moth didn't think of a more pronounceable name, which is good because I could be at the Lavi right now.
Eric and the dogs stayed in the car and I went up the misty sodden hill on my own, which was nice. On the way up, looking behind me to the south east I can see the hill on which there is a cairn and the map optimistically announces the presence of another stone circle, but I've done my homework a bit and know it's not worth blowing off Bernera bridge and a last fondle of Callanish for. I carry on up the hill into another world.
As I approach the stones of lavi the mist obligingly disperses, which was a bit weird, I had thought to be alone with only the stones for company but as the air cleared of moisture I could see where the other main stone collections are, and my place in the world became a touch clearer.
Only five stones remain of a probable thirteen, each stone about eight to nine feet tall, much like Gary by the water to the north north west, there is also the very scant remains of a little cairn within the circle, very much like Gary by the water. What a strange place this part of Lewis is.
postman Posted by postman
14th August 2016ce

Cnoc Fillibhear Bheag (Stone Circle)

Eleven years ago I adopted the Moth speak for these two stone circles, Gary, down by the water, and here Philippa, on the hill. It is very pleasing to not have to bother with how it's all pronounced, i'm sure they do it to us on purpose anyway. Say hello Philippa.
After the short walk up from Gary by the water the stones came out boldly from the light veil of mist, kind of ethereal like, I love it when that happens, you don't always need blue skies to appreciate Scotland.
Two stone circles there are, an ellipse within an ellipse, some stones are missing, so from a distance it looks like a mad jumble of tall stones, only getting up among them can you tell whats going on.
People make a lot of business out of the sleeping beauty, made out of the hills to the south, I cant see her, and wonder whether others really do, there are lots of hills, I could probably make half a dozen ladies lying down. So I ignore her until someone can point her out to me.
Harder to ignore is that stone, and I'm not joking when I say harder. It is a giants schlong cut off and stuck in the ground, they must have gone to some length to find and accentuate this stone, when you look at it, there is no stone just a massive erection. Why would they do that if there was no sleeping beauty, I really must look harder at that horizon.
postman Posted by postman
12th August 2016ce

Cnoc Ceann a'Gharraidh (Stone Circle)

I have been going with the Moth nomenclature for years for these two stone circles, this one, the more incomplete of the two is called Gary. Say hello Gary.
Parking as Carl says is ample, by the most haunted house this side of Garynahine, as we approached the circle a walker packed up his things and walked away in the direction of the stones, and we had the place to ourselves.
Two stones are down and ripe for re-standing, five tall stones stand taller than me, each with it's own unique exaggerated shape, they are Lewisian Gneiss, up to 3 billion years old, and the most beautiful rock in Britain.
There is indeed a cairn in the middle, well actually it's off center, Burl says, 28ft across, it's stones contained a cavity 6ft wide 'shaped like a large round bodied bottle with a short neck', near the cairn lay a stone 7 ft long with probably natural incisions upon it, but the stone has gone now, reputedly to Lews castle in Stornoway.
Looking across to Callanish from here the stones look like they are on top of a Grand Carnac tumulus, imagine Tumulus de St Michel with a shed load of stones on it, well it looks a bit like that. About Callanish, Burl again.... It is noteworthy that there is hardly any native architecture in either the circle or the tomb. Outside influences are probable, makes you think.
A couple hundred yards and very visible on it's higher than here ridge is another stone circle, a circle named Philippa, which i'm fine with as thats my daughters name.
postman Posted by postman
12th August 2016ce

Olcote (Kerbed Cairn)

Driving south from Dun Carloway en route back to the stones one has to drive past this wonderful absurdity, and a standing stone but I missed that one as I was power sliding round the bend, no of course not, still missed it though.
I didn't miss Olcote cairn as I've been here before, there's still half of it missing, I've looked on the other side of the road but there's nothing there, I'll give it one more try next time but i'm close to believing it's gone for good.
The cist is still nice though, if you stand on the road and crane your neck through the wire fence you can get within a few inches of it. The half that hasn't gone to live on a farm in the countryside is nice in a restored kind of way, most if not all the stone used is that Lewisian gneiss, which is the best looking stone in Britain.
But still,
What the hell? where is the other half? couldn't you have gone round it? what do you mean you didn't know it was there?
Strewth!
postman Posted by postman
11th August 2016ce

Clach an Trushal (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Probably the tallest standing stone in Scotland.
It's been eleven years since my last dalliance with the Trushal stone, too long, and since then they've decided there was once a stone circle here, maybe two, or even a stone row, sounds familiar doesn't it?
We got here about dusk, in late July that's about 10pm, due to an incurable tent malfunction, were staying in the big metal tent tonight, it's got an inbuilt radio at least, and you don't have to pack it up in the morning, so we parked in the small layby next to the apparently empty house that is right next to the stone.
We had a good look round the stone just as the post sunset golden glow faded away. In the morning it was quite surreal to look out the back window and see a megalithic wonder right there. The stone is tremendous, I'll be back for sure.
postman Posted by postman
11th August 2016ce

Carn Liath (Chambered Cairn)

05/08/2016 – After a visit to Creag a'Bhlair we strolled over to the edge of the forest with Carn Liath chambered cairn just inside. Luckily the fence has a good few gaps in it but after that, the last 40 or so metres to the cairn is quite tricky because of wind fell and maybe a little unsafe but we got there in the end. Really good cairn this one. High sides with the passage and chamber visible and intact. The whole place had a feeling of calm and stillness in its clearing, surrounded by tall trees. As this cairn is a bit in the middle of nowhere I thought we would have it to ourselves. Turned out not to be the case, a million midges also decided to visit the cairn at the same time. We didn’t stay as long as we would of liked. thelonious Posted by thelonious
10th August 2016ce

Torboll (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

05/08/2016 – Between the chambered cairns of Craig A' Bhlair and Carn Liath are these great hut circles and field system. I don’t normally add these but I do like the circleyness of hut circles and the one at NH 7377 9968 is very fine indeed. Inner face of the wall is visible and the surrounding field system can be made out. Nice place. thelonious Posted by thelonious
10th August 2016ce

Craig A' Bhlair (Chambered Cairn)

05/08/2016 – Started from the train station at Rogart. It’s a nice walk down the lane and then uphill to the top of Creag a'Bhlair. Just a little past the top, the chambered cairn comes into view on the south side along with an opening of the landscape. Coming from this direction, looking down on to the cairn, the setting really reminded me of another cairn Creag An Amalaidh, just a few miles farther south. Craig A' Bhlair chambered cairn is a good one. A large mound of stones with not much in the way of a chamber showing. The placement below Creag a'Bhlair with the ground stretching out to the south and a good view east to Loch Fleet is just lovely. Great area to spend a day, ambling about in the sun. thelonious Posted by thelonious
10th August 2016ce

Upper Shampher (Kerbed Cairn)

Visited: August 10, 2016

What a difference a few months makes.

Visiting again in early August, I had a hard time locating the cairn. Rank growth of vegetation had all but obliterated it from view. If this had been my first visit to this site it is doubtful if I would have recognised it.
LesHamilton Posted by LesHamilton
10th August 2016ce

Learable Hill (Stone Circle)

04/08/2016 - Just west of the stone rows is this lovely little stone circle. Be good to know the timeline of all the sites on this hill and how they all relate to each other, if at all. thelonious Posted by thelonious
9th August 2016ce

Learable Hill (Stone Row / Alignment)

04/08/2016 - Hard to go wrong in the Strath of Kildonan. Pick anywhere along its length and you are going to bump into the past. Today we chose Learable Hill. Stone rows, stone circle, chambered cairn, standing stone, cup marked boulders and lots of hut circles - that will do me. Normal way up, crossing the river and the train track south of Suisgill Lodge. It's just a short walk up hill after that. Nice cairn and standing stone but I'd come for the stone rows because let me tell you, I just love stone rows. They really are one of the great mysteries of this island's prehistory, at least they are for me. Multiple rows are rare and this hill has plenty. Brilliant stuff. I think I once read of them described as 'miniliths', great word. It rained petty much all the 5 hours we were on the hill but it didn't much matter. I could of spent all day just plodding round these stones looking for alignments (real or imaginary). Top site and there's even as a bonus a stone circle there as well! thelonious Posted by thelonious
9th August 2016ce

Learable Hill (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

04/08/2016 - Interesting place this Learable Hill. Just about 600m north and a little downhill from all the stone rows are these two cup marked boulders. The lower one (NC 8948 2400) has about 16 cups on it. Lots of moss but the cups are quite deep and not too bad to make out. The second one, 40m uphill (NC 8945 2403) has 3 cups and a ring. I couldn't see a cup within the ring? This higher up boulder lies alongside two other similar boulders and there was a suggestion in the past that they could have formed part of a stone circle. They are certainly interesting. A nice hut circle is just a little farther up the hill. thelonious Posted by thelonious
9th August 2016ce

Callanish (Standing Stones)

How good can a stone circle be?
The stones should be much taller than me, they should be made of the most beautiful stone in the Isles, and they should be far away from centres of modern occupation, to keep Joe Public at bay and to increase the feeling of pilgrimage. I don't suppose it would hurt to put an even bigger stone in the middle of the circle, and whilst we're at it a pretty good chambered cairn could fit in there too, and why not have some stone rows leading away from it, five maybe. Throw in some alignments to moon sun and stars, is that too much?
The stones should be on a hill, not a big one, just high enough to be able to see the stones from far away, perhaps from some angles the hill could look like a Grand Carnac tumulus, but all this is pushing it a bit isn't it, this all but seems impossible. But lets push the boundaries of incredulousness even further, From the circle I want views of distant mountains, lochs and just to take it to the Nth degree other stone circles. I wouldn't like a cafe or a gift shop, but I could put up with them if entry to this wonder of wonders was free.

Bless my soul it is real, and I've been here twice now.

We got off the ferry at Leverburgh and drove briskly for Stornoway, hoping to find some normal food and to correct a tent malfunction, one out of two aint bad. Cor blimey Harris is a pretty place especially the north east quarter, it must have been heavily landscaped by the giants of old. And the mountain drive through the south of Lewis is exceptionally inspiring.
Stornoway wasn't like what I was expecting, it was quite a nice place. From there we headed straight for the stones of Callanish, it was about 9pm when we got there, there was one other car in the carpark.
Visiting a stone circle is a lot like a first date with a hot girl you've fancied for ages. Trust me, it is.
As we rounded the big rock Cnoc An Tursa the tops of the stones come into view over a low wall, the heart skips a beat and the hairs on the back of your neck stand to the accompaniment of goosebumps on the arms, sound familiar? Then through the gate and ignore the information boards,
fumble around for the camera and hands almost shaking take that first tentative photo, oh my god you're so beautiful, that gorgeous girl you've fancied for ages is standing before you bathed in evening sunlight and wearing nothing but a mischievous smile.
There may have been other people there, I know for sure that my son and dogs are here somewhere, but he can see I'm in love and he leaves me alone with the stones, I only have eyes for the stones, I can only think about the stones, there is nothing in the world but me and the stones of Callanish, only here do I fit the naked stone hugging hippy type that my mates at work laugh about.
After a while, who knows how long it was (30 minutes) Eric ridiculously suggests that we leave, I look at him like he's the maddest madman I've ever seen, I'm staying here forever, send for your sister. Instead I tell him, in a bit, I have to stare intently at these stones for about a million years.
All too soon a million years go by and it's getting dark, I cant abide the idea that I may never have this feeling again so I strike a deal, after we've been to all the places that I want to see tomorrow any spare time at the end will be spent here, he rarely sees me this passionate about anything so knows to give me what I want.
postman Posted by postman
9th August 2016ce

Buoldhu (Chambered Cairn)

03/08/2016 - Not much to see but it's only just up the hill from Cuag. Time's not been good to this one as most of the stones have been reused to build a stone structure on top of the grassy mound. All a bit sad really. thelonious Posted by thelonious
8th August 2016ce
Edited 9th August 2016ce

Cuag (Chambered Cairn)

03/08/2016 - Just a short walk along the road north from Burn of Houstry brings you opposite Cuag chambered cairn on the other side of the burn. There's a bridge at ND 1542 3308. Nice cairn with chamber stones visible. It's in the middle of an area of newly planted trees so could lose its view in a few years time. Buoldhu chambered cairn is just a short walk up hill to the NW. thelonious Posted by thelonious
8th August 2016ce
Edited 22nd August 2016ce

Burn of Houstry (Chambered Cairn)

03/08/2016 - We started from the Laidhay Croft Museum on the A9. You can park much closer but we fancied a bit more of a walk (nothing to do with the fine cakes in the tearoom there honest!) A few miles along quiet lanes and we were there. Easy access across a field. The cairn has had most of its stones removed to the side but the chamber stones remain and are worth a look. Great location for this one with plenty of other sites nearby. thelonious Posted by thelonious
8th August 2016ce

Guidebest (Stone Circle)

03/08/2016 - If you are up in this part of the world for a day of stones, I think this circle should be included alongside the big hitters of the Grey Cairns, Hill O'Many Stanes etc. It's a nice change to the wildness of many of the sites in Caithness. Only about 6km away from Stemster but the feeling couldn't be more different. Located by the banks of the Burn of Latheronwheel (love that name), nestled between gentle hills the placement of the circle is just perfect. About 8 stones left of a large circle. At this time of year the feeling is one of peace and life. Strong summer colours of greens with fluffy white clouds in a blue, blue sky surround the circle. Timeless, perfect, wonderful... thelonious Posted by thelonious
8th August 2016ce
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