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

Newmore Wood Cairn



Near this cairn and the cup-and-ring-marked rock is a stone called Clach Ceann a' Mheoir. I can't find a photo of it. But it gets named on the OS map so I think it must be quite sizeable. It's got its own folklore:
In the parish of Rosskeen there is a large boulder-stone called Clach ceann nam meur, the "Stone of the Finger Ends," at the east of the Farm of Dalnacloich, "the field of the stone." Connected with this stone is a tradition which shows it as a horrible memorial of feudal times - that a laird of Achnacloich, when settling marches, asked a youth, whom he had taken to witness the settlement, whether he would remember that as the march-stone. On his replying that he would, the Laird commanded him to lay his hand flat upon the stone, and with a stroke of his sword cut off the tips of the lad's fingers, saying, "You will remember it now." And posterity still remembers it.
This seems so unwarranted and unpleasant I can't help wondering whether the name comes from something else.. yes I'm just looking for a cupmarky connection. Sometimes stones are said to bear the fingermarks of some giant or devil. Wouldn't it be nice if there were some fingermarks on the stone... if you're passing you could look?!

Quote from 'Names of Places in Easter Ross' by the Rev. William Taylor, in The Scottish Geographical Magazine, v2, 1886.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
11th October 2011ce

Comments (7)

Hi Rhiannon

This large stone forms part of a dry-stane dyke. I'm sure it forms a corner where the dyke does a 90 degree turn. Follow this link, open out and travel about 250m WSW.

I've often wondered why this stone had a name. Many thanks for the info. I'll post a pic after I'm up there next - probably this weekend.


strathspey Posted by strathspey
12th October 2011ce
Excellent. I look forward to it! Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
14th October 2011ce
Hey Rhianon - pics posted, but you have a choice!!

The Os shows Clach Ceann a Mheor sitting exactly where stone 1 is found within a FC plantation. Unfortunately stone 1 is only about 1.5m x 1m and looks like it has been dislodged by Forestry planting ops a fair number of years ago.

Stone 2 sits about 200m NW at the side of the Scotsburn Rd and is fairly substantial. My memory served me correctly and it does form part of a (very old) dry stane dyke. Stone 2 looks to my eye to be a more likely candidate as a boundary marker and in my opinion a more likely candidate as Clach Ceann a Mheor

Both stones are of identical granite schist with no visible markings.

BTW, I reckon most dry stane dykes on this hill were built using stone from Carn na Croiche - which itself has a grisly history :

Interested to hear your thoughts.

strathspey Posted by strathspey
16th October 2011ce
How brilliant, you tracked it down. That second stone has mosses and lichens to die for. They are lovely. It looks like it's been there forever doesn't it. And if you say it's in the dyke - so the stone there first as the well known marker, and then the dyke built along the boundary I guess?

But then the first stone is the one that gets the name on the OS map, that doesn't seem fair. It looks a bit miserable and sterile amongst all those pine needles.

I was thinking, it's funny to think that the stones have been there all along and yet the forest has probably come and gone over the years. That is, I'm supposing the Wild Wood was there in the first place, and then it was heathery moorland, and now it's plantation. I guess the stones and the cairn were a bit more obvious when they weren't being crowded by trees. And I can only imagine from the map, but it must be quite a cool spot, with the stream running through and the steep mountain on one side. And maybe you can see the Cromarty Firth if you're a little way up the hill?

Ah it's so cool when it's like a joint effort to spot these places and someone goes to check it out in person. I mean I know it's only essentially a stone in a wood. But it's a stone with a name and a story and now it's got a photo on the internet so everyone can see it. I like that. Thank you for going to find it.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
22nd October 2011ce
Och Rhiannon, it was a pleasure.

As I mentioned before, it was nice to find out why the stone had a name. Not often I get the chance for a bit of collaboration.

This is a cracking little glen - only 3 miles from home and I absolutely love it, - it feels like wilderness. The dyke that the larger stone sits in must be ancient and in parts is absolutely beautiful. The effort that went into building such a long and substantial boundary over some very steep and rough hillside is amazing.

The smaller stone sits atop a knoll that looks suspiciously like a cairn. There is an atmosphere to this little knoll that lends me to think that this is the location of the stone. Maybe Forestry works have moved, buried or hidden it.

The woodlands, even the FC plantations give this area a unique atmosphere where it is easy to put yourself into the mind of past inhabitants - thats without a wee drop of the local Dalmore or Glenmorangie!!

I have visited virtually all the (known) cairns east of here and a few to the West. My 2 favourites are Cairn Liath and Scotsburn East. The latter was probably the most memorable cairn trip so far. The snow and the view made this walk magical - I wish I had taken more pics:

I actually work for the local Port so I know the Cromarty Firth pretty well.......! - I've seen it from most angles!

I dont really need a reason to look for stones or cairns that meant so much to somebody in the past, but delighted to be able to help Rhiannon. Heres to the next time......



PS, heres a nice pic taken from virtually the same spot :

strathspey Posted by strathspey
22nd October 2011ce
I can really hear your passion for your local environment and its history, it's great to read. Those snowy photos do make it look all the more otherworldly and special. I will endeavour to keep an eye out for other stories from the area :) Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
22nd October 2011ce
Hi Rhiannon. Seems like a long time since this conversation....!

I've been looking a bit more closely at some of the dry stane dykes in this area and its got me to thinking that some of them must be so ancient that they are monuments in themselves. I'd love to find out a bit more about them but unfortunately there doesnt seem to be much about historical dry stane dykes on the internet!
strathspey Posted by strathspey
20th September 2014ce
You must be logged in to add a comment