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

Na Clachan Bhreige

Stone Circle


Ha! What odds that the only previous fieldnote, recording Mr Hamilton's visit, would be posted a couple of days before my own audience with these striking megaliths? I've wanted to come here for a while.... but Scotland is an, er, 'interesting' place, the schedule of the committed antiquarian odds-on not to survive a progress across such a wondrous landscape intact. What a good thing, too.

If you are anything like me - if so, I sympathise... no, really, I do - it'll take a while to get to the beginning of the track to Camasunary, the key to visiting this circle..... assuming you manage to get past the An Sithean tomb, that is. To be honest it would have been quicker to walk around the head of Loch Slapin, such are the 'photo' opportunities offered by the stunningly striking profile of Bla Bheinn and associates. However, eventually.... a little way past Strathaird House there's plenty of available parking on the left. The Black Cuillin present an uncompromisingly brutal profile to the west, the jagged, angular grabbo rock faces every child's vision of what mountains are supposed to be. Nearer to hand, however, look toward the small loch to the right of the prominent copse of trees and a keen eye should make out a trio of standing stones. Worth a look.

Unlike Mr Hamilton, I blunder across the intervening ground and just about avoid a suitably deserved boot full of bog. Just about. However I find the loch inflows as easy to cross as he reports. The short trek is worth it. There are actually four stones here.... hence the classification as 'stone circle' as opposed to 'alignment' or 'row', which would otherwise be justified. The three which remain upright are all handsome examples of the genre, of approx adult human height. The fallen monolith, however, is much more substantial, measuring some 11ft 6 inches in length (according to RCAHMS 1928).

The sun beats down and I decide this is as good a place as any to spend some quality Skye time. Curiously only a small section of The Cuillin rise above the horizon viewed from within the circle, the effect perhaps intentional? Gorsedd-like? As I doze off I sense, am suddenly acutely aware... that 'some one' has arrived and is standing behind me, clearly reluctant to introduce his/her presence. Maybe shy, maybe reluctant to disturb the vibe? Perhaps unsure how to relate to the individual sprawled upon the ground below? Whatever. Nevertheless it eventually begins to irk, so I rise to my feet to find... that... yeah, no-one is there. Just the lapping of the water upon the shore of the loch below. What sorcery is this ?!? I feel a bit of a muppet, but no need, to be fair. Surely such theatrics were 'built in' to monuments such as these 'false stones'. All part of the experience, the traveller simply 'getting' the vibe as intended. Thank you for that, erectors of Na Clachan Bhreige. Hey, was ever a site more inadequately named? Its detractors perhaps protested too much, methinks.
5th July 2012ce
Edited 6th July 2012ce

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to add a comment