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

Carnethy Hill



Rising from an rather chilly 'overnighter' beneath Tinto I'm pleased to note that enduring a little discomfort would appear to have presented me with the prospect of a fine day ahead. Yeah... nothing good in this life comes without a price... and I reckon the reward is currently worth the (it has to be said) not insubstantial outlay. Not sure my back totally agrees, but thankfully it is reasonably acquiescent. For now. So, onward to Edinburgh. Or at least The Pentland Hills, which overlook Alba's capital.

It would seem - in retrospect, as usual - that most (and there would seem to be quite a few) visitors to this comfortably 'compact' range of hills ascend from the Loganlea Reservoir to the north. Needless to say I, the inevitable consequence of blind ignorance as opposed to any integral 'maverick tendencies', approach from the south. To be fair, however, it is not a poor choice. Parking in a large layby upon the A702 beyond Siverburn, I follow a marked path crossing very wet ground - the excess water no doubt having overwhelmed the Grain Burn - before veering right at a 'crossroads' to ascend the right hand shoulder of Carnethy Hill. Despite the highest point not quite reaching 2,000ft it is by no means an easy climb - well, in my opinion - and I'm consequently more than happy to reach the summit, the 'cherry on top' (so to speak) a very substantial cairn. Yeah, suffice to say a structure of this magnitude was not erected by student punters on a day trip from Edinburgh! Seeing as most of them (the males, anyway) look as athletic as Jarvis Cocker. No offence, Jarvis....

I settle down upon the great stone pile and reckon there are few places I'd rather be this day. Sure, the great cairn has been defaced by the inevitable 'storm shelters'.... if that is indeed what they are ..... but it has enough sheer bulk to overcome this with ease. Indeed the view westwards towards Scauld Law is impressive, an apparent cairn upon South Black Hill (to its left) intriguing.... as it transpires, overwhelmingly so. I stay for several hours, enjoying the company of female students - and the excellent views - more than that of route marching muppets. But there you are.

Anyway, as mentioned, Scauld Law beckons, the eroded path testimony to the popularity of these hills. No corresponding monument crowns this top. However, venture along the peak's southern spur to South Black Hill and this sad state of affairs is subsequently rectified. Yeah, crowning a classic Bronze Age position sits another very substantial cairn, curiously not cited by the OS (or Canmore, for that matter) as being of ancient origin. Strange. Hey, if there is documented evidence to this end, fair enough. But I have to say I was inclined to adopt a contrary view, all things considered. Great views, a great place to hang out for a while.

I descend to Silverburn Quarry (neglecting to visit a hillfort just excluded from my map extract - doh!) and so complete the 'loop' and return to the A702. My legs are comprised of the proverbial 'jelly', rendering a visit to Castlelaw a 'no-go'. Instead I decide to head across the Firth of Forth, a visit to the obscure Denoon Law having stuck in the brain. Yeah, why not?
23rd July 2012ce
Edited 24th July 2012ce

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