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Coolcreen (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery)

We traipsed up a waterlogged lane at the side of some forestry on the north side of the Slieve Bloom range. You never know quite what to expect on these little ventures, and when accompanied by two half-interested companions, trepidation that the discomfort might be a complete waste of time increases with proximity to the goal. This is one of those ones however that lives up to my middling expectations, with some awesome scenery and fairly magical atmosphere.

The first of the five barrows that we encountered as we approached from the west is named a pond barrow on the slightly dodgy entries at the National Monument database. It's very small, quite eroded and relatively dry at the centre, though with the tell-tale rushes signalling that it could be quite wet in winter. You'd almost pass it by as your eye is drawn to the next in the west-to-east line that we followed. This is the most impressive of the five and the most obvious, described on archaeology.ie as a 'mound barrow' and "On top of high ground in mountainous area. Circular flat topped mound (H 3m approx. top diam. 7m; base diam. 15m) with circular depression (Wth 2.5m; D 0.6m) on top with evidence of stone kerbing around depression (possible collapsed burial)." The collapsed, dead thorn tree on the flattened top added to the atmosphere.

We moved over to the middle of the 5 barrows, a so-called 'ring barrow' and indeed it is surrounded by a ring of hawthorn trees. There is a clatter of bushes growing on the mound itself and it's hard to make out, but, like at the mound barrow, there are some stones that may have formed a cist or chamber at one time.

In the next field over are the very large bowl barrow, described on archaeology.ie thus: "Located on top of high ground in mountainous area. Circular raised area (diam 16.5m; H 0.8m) enclosed by a slight bank (Wth 2m; ext. H 1m) and poorly preserved external fosse. Marshy raised interior is unusual." Not far from this a little further east are the very poor remains of the fifth, unclassified barrow.

The records for these at archaeology.ie are incorrect, with the bowl barrow and the mound barrow inverted and the ring barrow description given for the most easterly, least impressive of the five.

We spent quite a while here, only taking our leave when the bullocks in the fields decided that we did have food after all and approached us expectantly.
ryaner Posted by ryaner
22nd May 2017ce

Chatton Camp (Hillfort)

In between Chatton hill rock art panels, and the amazing Kettley crag is this smart little hill fort, well, I think it's smart, so I'm quite staggered that no ones added any pictures or the site.
The entrance faces south east and on the left side of the entry looking in there is some large chunks of masonry. Two substantial concentric banks with at least one hut circle surviving within. Also within the fort is another rock art panel, apparently dubbed Chatton 4, a very large ring has been carved, next to it a line of quarrying holes, but after seeing picture 80 by Pebbles I can see that there was more there than the big ring, so not only am I crap at finding the art panels I'm also crap at looking at them.
I think I'll stick mainly to big stones, circles and cairns, so i'll start with a toddle down the hill to Kettley crag rock art panel.
postman Posted by postman
21st May 2017ce

Chatton (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

Like everyone else I mainly came to see Kettley crags amazing rock art but got so much more for my money.
The parking place now has no long shed at all, black or otherwise, I also never saw any information board, but I wasn't looking for one.
A stile leads one into the first field, there was a poor little lamb stuck under it, Eric tip toed over it then wriggled free and ran off, I joined Eric and we tramped up the hill towards a gate and another stile.
Soon enough we started coming across many rocks and stones, we looked hard, at every sheet of rock and every boulder we came across, but inbetween the car and the trig point we only found the one panel, a very poor performance, if I were a football team I would've lost 8-1, if I were an American president I'd have got impeached. In my defence, there's very little rock art any where near where I live, so i'm more used to looking for big stones, circle and cairns, some of the carvings are quite worn, the light was very bright and not conducive to viewing faint carvings, I cant believe that one myself, either way the big white rock sheet was the only one I found, out of maybe a dozen, very poor. I did find a hillfort no else seems to care about though.
postman Posted by postman
21st May 2017ce

Whinny Hill (Stone Circle)

The rock art fraternity have well represented the prehistoric artwork across the road at Chatton hill and Ketley crag, but not one of them have posted anything about this stone circle, ok, it's not on the map but surely I cant be the first to get here?
Tearing through Chatton wee village on the B6348, look out for the parking place to go up Chatton hill, pass it by at speed and continue until you see a right turn at a long gated farm type track, parking room for one.
Strangely, Eric stayed in the car and my daughter Phil came with me, Two locked gates have to be knocked down, I mean climbed over, the track is long and straight and heads for some conifer trees. At the trees turn left through or over yet another locked gate, remember to fume and swear, this is a public footpath.
It was here at this locked gate that I realised I'd left my map in the car, or dropped it on the way down the track, I thought for a second and remembered all the map and google earth perusing I'd done prior to my arrival, even though it was over a mile from the road I was fairly confident of finding it without the map.
So, straight down the track to the confer trees, turn left and follow the path, green fields to the right, open moorland with stone curlew for added drama to the left. As you slowly go up hill, try to aim for the sharp angle of the north tip of Ros hill wood. Eventually we arrive at a wall, over the wall is a small but pretty lake, also not on the map.
Standing by the wall, I knew we close, look left and up hill, can I see a couple of stones peeping over the low but all covering heather, yes indeed I can, move in closer. Philli has come dressed for somewhere other than where we are and declines the opportunity to gaze upon the stones up close, like, so she sits by the wall and watches her dad wander off in the direction of those very interesting stones again.

Because of a single report of two stone holes found here, other reporters have presumed this is something other than a typical four stoner stone circle, but to my fully opened eyes this is absolutely what it looks like, a four poster.
The two big stones are really quite extraordinary stones, the star stone is perhaps a sandstone, red in colour and triangular in section, the sharp end of the triangle points uselessly at open moorland, or perhaps not. The other big stone is grey in hue, bulbous and cracked with dimples. The two smaller stones are, well, smaller, and less noteworthy, they could be larger than they look. One of the more ground hugging stones is about a yard away from a large hole, a hole that is situated perfectly to take up the final corner of the square, er, circle. It cant be anything other than a stone that has somehow come out of place.
The view is very commendable, Chatton hill and it's wealth of rock art and hill fort, the North Sea away over the hill, just visible, and the distant Cheviot hills, and nearer to is the pretty lake, framed with heather surmounted by forest. Whooooop!

I like four posters, and Northumberland.
Off to the seaside we go.
postman Posted by postman
19th May 2017ce

Skae Frue (Cairn(s))

Visited 16th April 2017

With all the gems of the world heritage site of Brodgar to see a visit to the mound of Skae Frue might seem like something to be undertaken only by the dedicated stone-ticker. But if you are taking the time to visit the Ring of Bookan (and I really suggest that you do) then it seems only polite to walk a little way down the slope toward the loch, the green undulation of the tumulus peeking enticingly above the fence line to the adjoining field. There's even a handy gate nearby, so no danger of ripping the trousers whilst negotiating the fence.

Although the cairn is little more than a grassy lump it's not so much about what you see at the cairn, and more about what you see from the cairn. The hills of Hoy dominate the view, the slot between Ward Hill and the Cuilags notching the horizon, and you realise the perfection of the placement of this site. It also feels really nice here, particularly on a sunny day like today. Hidden from the road, the loch spread out beneath you, and from the top of the mound, looking back, the earthen ramparts of the Ring of Bookan dominate the next field.

Whilst lacking the grandeur of its nearby neighbours it's no less worthy of spending some time here to relax and contemplate the mysteries of the Ness, stretched out before us as we sit atop the mound.
Ravenfeather Posted by Ravenfeather
15th May 2017ce

Coolnatullagh (Wedge Tomb)

Smallest wedge tomb I have seen in a long time, condition, reasonable bogman Posted by bogman
13th May 2017ce

Ord North (Chambered Tomb)

04/05/2017 - I didn't know about this site until tsc posted his photos a few years back and I've been wanting to visit ever since. They turned out to be the last cairns on our trip north and what a way to finish. Ord North is good one.

Starting from the lovely Ferrycroft Visitor Centre (Coffee tick, cakes tick, icecreams tick - that will do me). There's two walks do to, one north to the broch and the other up The Ord to see the cairns. Ord North cairn is in really good condition and in a fantastic location. Great views all round. Lovely Ord South just a short distance away as well.

The whole walk round here is lovely and we were lucky with the weather. This site is really worth a visit and pretty accessible. A fine place for a sunny day stroll.
thelonious Posted by thelonious
10th May 2017ce

Balcharn (Chambered Cairn)

04/05/2017 - Balcharn chambered cairn. Not a great lot to see but the chamber can be made out by the outline of 4 stones in the middle. Access is fine, just off the side of a quiet road. thelonious Posted by thelonious
10th May 2017ce

East Kinnauld (Hillfort)

02/05/2017 – Nice hillfort below the broch. Great view along the Strath to the Mound. Walls can be made out. I liked this one. thelonious Posted by thelonious
9th May 2017ce

East Kinnauld (Broch)

02/05/2017 – I think I might have a new favourite broch and this is it! Well, it is today anyway. Last year we were on the other side of Strath Fleet and looked across at this one, wanted to visit but knew it would have to wait for another day.

Today we were back and I was quite excited as we parked at the old quarry and started the climb up the hill. Access is no problem. There is an old track on the right side of the quarry (good to watch nesting fulmars here). This takes you up and behind the quarry. From here turn right and keep going up (there is a fort to your left). The broch is about 120m gain from the road.

I just loved the setting, slightly tucked away from the Strath. The broch is big, stones everywhere. The entrance is still there and the gallery can be made out.

Not a great day for me, feeling pretty rubbish. It was good just to sit by the broch, having a brew and daydreaming away. This was living.

If you like a broch I can’t recommend this one enough. If you want a weekend away from the 9 to 5 you could do worse then something like this -

Take the train up to Rogart Station, book a few nights at Sleeperzzz (google it, trust me it’s great) and have a day trip to this broch. It’s a place that’s good for the soul. If you come for two days, a visit to the cairns at Craig A' Bhlair makes for a nice walk from Rogart as well. There’s a shop and pub too. Sorry for my trip-ideas waffle but I just love this area. It might not look wow but there is such a good feeling to the area round Rogart.
thelonious Posted by thelonious
9th May 2017ce

Kempstone Hill (Standing Stones)

If getting to the cairn involved some crawling then it was good practise for a lot more crawling to the nearest standing stone.

NO87678947
From the cairn I re-crawled to the clearing and looked west. No standing stone could seen thanks to over head high gorse so I headed northish beyond the vegetation, west then south eastish into the next clearing. Going by the Canmore map the stone stood half way down this gap and in amongst the gorse. With no sight of the stone it was on all fours and I crawled beneath the branches.

About 30 meters (I floundered for more than that thanks to trunks of the vegetation) in I spotted the base of the stone. It is a magnificently shaped stone with no visible markings standing at 1.8m high, at its base it is almost 1m wide. After taking what photos I could I crawled back out.

NO87608942
Once out of the undergrowth and a check of the damage, your legs will take a battering here, I hobbled slightly further west where fortunately the standing stone can be seen. Bizarrely and thankfully a small path to the north leads to the stone.

Set in the midst of a probable cairn this is a lovely and beautifully shaped stone. It stands at almost 3m in height being over 1m at its base. Also near is the remnants of a cist still clearly visible.

Wonderful sites, a magical place.

Final score Gorse 2 Drew 3

Visited 23/3/2017.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
9th May 2017ce

Aberscross (Stone Circle)

02/05/2017 - Not quite sure why I hadn't visited this circle before. Easy access and just a short distance from the road. I wasn't feeling too well so a potter round a few stones, taking it slow was a good idea for the day. I really liked this one. The stones are nice and the biggest one interestingly shaped. I love the area round here, very peaceful and still. thelonious Posted by thelonious
8th May 2017ce

Cnoc Na Griag (Hillfort)

29/04/2017 - Unfinished fort on top of Cnoc Na Griag, a small hill just west of Ardgay. Not the most exciting but I was staying nearby for a few days and it made for a nice stroll in the evening. A few of the defences can be made out. Nice view of the Dornoch Firth from it. thelonious Posted by thelonious
8th May 2017ce

River Shin (Stone Circle)

29/04/2017 - Well this is a funny one or should that be a funny two? Didn't know what to make of it really. I liked the first one with four small stones remaining. The one to the south was hard to make out. Nice setting by the River Shin and a fine place to sit and watch dippers shoot up and down the river on a sunny afternoon. thelonious Posted by thelonious
8th May 2017ce

Druim Baile Fuir (Stone Circle)

29/04/2017 – Good parking at the start of the track into Gruids Wood on the A839. We headed down the track then into the trees once near the cairn NW of the circle. First cairn was OKish to find but after that we got proper lost in the trees. We stumbled about for ages until finally coming out into the clearing which holds the cairn just south of the circle. From there the circle is about 20-30 metres NE of the cairn. Still took a while to find any stones. Two decent ones remain with a small one between them. Canmore has it as once containing ten stones with nine remaining in 1911. Time’s not been good to this one in the last hundred years. No view but I liked the stones that are there and it was kind of fun trying to find it!

Line of sight wise, I wonder if this circle and the cairns on The Ord 3 Kms to the north would be visible to each other if there were no trees in the way? Both sites sit on tops with little in the way to block the view. Be good to know if there are any connections between the many sites round here.

Not the best circle in the world but I liked my time there. Getting back to the car, I realised we could have carried on down the track to visit Achany chambered cairn as well, which would have made for a nice walk. Oh well, maybe next time.
thelonious Posted by thelonious
7th May 2017ce

Cnoc Chaornaidh North-West (Chambered Cairn)

28/04/2017 - Well here's a good cairn to finish a great day out walking in an area which is just jam-packed with old stuff to look at.

If you like a chambered cairn or two, the area round here and Ledmore is well worth a trip. It has something for everyone from long day walks to short stops to visit pretty accessible stones. Most with fine views of the amazing surrounding landscape.

I just didn't have the strength to visit the other two nearby chambered cairns that day and I was needing a cup of tea so after a while admiring these fine stones we headed back to the car. Next time hopefully.
thelonious Posted by thelonious
7th May 2017ce

Allt Eileag (Chambered Cairn)

28/04/2017 - It had been a long day so far on our loop round Cnoc Chaornaidh, visiting the many chambered cairns there. Didn't look too bad on the map but by the time we reached Allt Eileag I was starting to wonder if I would ever see firm ground again. Very, very boggy day.

From Garbh Ath Chaoruinn, head south, take the first ride going right, up into the forest then take the next ride heading left to this cairn. (Google Earth is your friend beforehand with this one).

Still in pretty good condition and you can make out and look down the passage. My favourite cairn of the day.

We headed west with tired, wet feet to climb Cnoc Chornaidh back to the start of our walk (via Cnoc Chaornaidh North-West chambered cairn). Tough going but a good day out.

Yes it's a bit of a pain to get to and it has no view but it's a great chambered cairn with a nice feeling of adventure to find.
thelonious Posted by thelonious
7th May 2017ce

Garbh Ath Chaoruinn (Chambered Cairn)

28/04/2017 - From Loch Ailsh cairn to the north we followed the River Oykel south to this chambered cairn. A few things worth mentioning. Stay on the west bank of the river on the way down. There is a deer fence running along the side of the forest all the way. The fence is broken just past the cairn so you can gain access there from the river side. Another break in the fence is sooner, about half way along the walk between the cairns. Today the going was very boggy under foot. The area was quiet but maybe best to avoid the fishing season if you don't want to bump into any humans. Bracken probably hides the cairn later on in the year. Big capstone visible on this one. thelonious Posted by thelonious
7th May 2017ce

Loch Ailsh (Chambered Cairn)

28/04/2017 - A fine location for this one if you like a wide open moorland of nothingness and great views of the surrounding hills. Has a ditch round it but Canmore states - 'appears to be entirely natural, a result of differential peat accumulation.'

There is a deer fence between the cairn and the track. Cross this just after the bridge to the south of the cairn. Very boggy underfoot.
thelonious Posted by thelonious
7th May 2017ce

Strathseasgaich (Chambered Cairn)

28/04/2017 - Easy access from good parking at the start of the Benmore track off the A837. Really like this one. Much robbed but still with a good feel to the place. Surrounded by trees now but I bet the view of the landscape beyond is great without them. thelonious Posted by thelonious
7th May 2017ce

Cnoc Chaornaidh (Cairn(s))

28/04/2017 - I wasn't going to visit this one but walking by on the track, a short inviting ride appeared with the cairn, a lovely green, at the end saying hello. So off we went, would have been rude not to really. The grassed over cairn sits on a small hillock giving it extra height and seems to have a natural little spur on one side leading up to it. Not the most exciting but little effort needed to see if you are passing. thelonious Posted by thelonious
7th May 2017ce

Altnacealgach Hotel (Cairn(s))

27/04/2017 – Just a little bash to the south east of Loch Borralan East chambered cairn is this fine cairn. It has a little stream running by it and like most cairns round here, a lovely view. thelonious Posted by thelonious
6th May 2017ce

Loch Borralan East (Chambered Cairn)

27/04/2017 – Thanks Gladman thelonious Posted by thelonious
6th May 2017ce

Cnoc Breac (Cairn(s))

27/04/2017 – Walking back over Cnoc Breac from Rubha Na Seilcheig cairn, we passed this pile of stones which had a look of a robbed ancient cairn (or hut circle?) to me. There are lots of lumps and bumps in the area so probably just wishful thinking on my part. Nothing’s listed on Canmore. Be interested in folks’ thoughts on the photos on whether it’s a maybe? thelonious Posted by thelonious
6th May 2017ce
Edited 11th May 2017ce

Rubha Na Seilcheig (Cairn(s))

27/04/2017 – Parked at the Elphin tea room (friendly place and does fine coffee and cake). Headed up over Cnoc Breac which is a lovely hill with interesting geology. Short walk east from the top to this cairn. Great placement overlooking Loch Urigill and fine views to the big hills. Nice place to spend an afternoon. thelonious Posted by thelonious
6th May 2017ce
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