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

Russell's Cairn



Just south-west of the 619m summit of Windy Gyle is the place name "Split the De'il". David Dippie Dixon (Upper Coquetdale, 1903) describes this as an upright rock, some three feet in height. Another contradictory description (1915/16), reported by Rhiannon below, describes an upright slab of porphyry, about 6 feet high, on the southern slope of Windy Gyle, in a south-easterly direction from the cairns.

Pastscape describes it as a prehistoric standing stone at grid reference NT 8563 1502 a location where it is correctly shown on 1:10560 scale maps prior to 1925. However, it appears to have been descheduled (as a scheduled ancient monument) in 1998.

The place name has migrated to the west on modern large scale maps, where it has become associated with the cross border tracks, and the original map position marker (an open circle) which showed at its correct location, removed.

A recent visit shows that 3 feet is the more reasonable description of its size, the stone is no longer standing, and probably originally set up as a marker, rather than having a prehistoric origin. The place name though may indicate its former prominence.

A small cluster of other stones around the toppled slab may however indicate that it could have originally been part of a cairn. Many of its stones could have been depleted by the habit of generations of walkers removing stones to place on the greater eminence of Russell's Cairn just to the north. Interestingly, Sir W Aitchison described a Bronze Age burial mound just south of this location in 1951, something that later surveyors couldn't subsequently find

A medieval cross known to have been set up somewhere in the vicinity, named as Maiden Cross, is discussed here
Posted by rockandy
22nd March 2012ce
Edited 22nd March 2012ce

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