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

Turin Hill



An intriguingly complex, multi-phase series of defensive dwellings crown the crest of Turin Hill.... not to mention examples of those enigmatic cup-marked stones, the purpose/meaning of which still eludes us. Perhaps that will always remain the case. To be honest I misinterpreted the remaining grass-covered ramparts which still girdle the hill as a large multivallate hillfort with contemporary central 'redoubt', to which a very powerful circular dun was later added.

In actual fact it appears the inner hillfort, straddling the summit of the hill, was a later addition, perhaps a consolidation of resources when the larger enclosure was found to be too large to defend, too vulnerable to a surprise assault, perhaps?

For me by far the most impressive structure extant upon this hilltop is the aformentioned dun, sited a little below the summit to the west and unfortunately bisected by a dry stone field wall. Although virtually reduced to footings, the remaining volume of stone debris strongly suggests that here we have the significant footprint of what was a very powerful structure indeed. According to RCAHMS records [see thelonious's link] there are additional examples of the genre to east and west, although much less distinct. Phew, clearly a lot has gone on upon Turin Hill across the millennia. The views are not bad, either, particularly looking northward across Hill of Finavon (incidentally bearing a fine vitrified hillfort) toward the distant, snow-capped Cairngorms. The large Carsegownie cairn can also be seen, nearer to hand, beneath its woodland copse.

Perhaps the greatest surprise, however, occurs as I take a wander along Turinhill Craigs (upon the southern flank) and literally stumble over a slab bearing several distinct cup marks. According to TMA rock art expert - and local resident - Tiompan there are more here [check out the related site]. Once again it is interesting - and perhaps instructive - that these slabs were not destroyed during the periodic remodelling which appears to have occurred upon this hilltop. Yeah, as I said at the start... what an intriguing place.

For reference I ascended Turin Hill from the north, past Back of Turin Hill (very prosaic). As usual, however, I misread the map and cut through woodland. Big mistake since, upon negotiating a wire fence, I suddenly feel a very sharp jolt surge through the right leg and fear the worst.... 'Oh no, not the hamstring!!'. However the anticipated, searing pain does not follow, 'just' a further jolt as I replace the leg (think Homer stretching for the four pack suspended upon power cables). The penny eventually drops.... electric fence! Consequently if you come this way please keep to the right of the treeline... field gates give access to the western end of the hill and you won't subject yourself to a dose of ECT. Unless you enjoy that sort of thing...... hey, none of my business.
6th June 2012ce
Edited 7th June 2012ce

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