|It's probably fair to say that, although standing overlooking the River Shin a little way south of Lairg, the proximity of the A836 and power lines will ensure the ruined stone circle of Achinduich will not sweep the visitor off his/her feet in the manner of the not too distant Cnoc an Liath-bhaid. Perhaps this is for the best since the rough moorland site was seriously boggy - nay, underwater! - on the occasion of my late May visit. OK, I could have done with the wash, but.......
Ruined? Well yes. Although the monument appears a classic upland stone circle when approaching from the road, presenting an enigmatic profile when viewed from what could be an outlier - or perhaps erratic (?) - I was nevertheless perplexed by my inability to find any credible trace of orthostats aside from the surviving arc.... either in situ or now lost. In addition, a slender upright standing just within the arc beside a shallow depression, far too slender to be the remnant of a kerb, suggested some internal burial, perhaps within another northern Scottish 'U' shaped stone setting. Burl, however (page 157, Stone Circles of the British Isles) cites an 'Auchinduich' in Sutherland as being a 'concentric' stone circle. In retrospect that seems far more plausible, duly providing a logical explanation for the elegant orthostat within. Yeah, guess I'll go with that, then. Note also the radial setting of the uprights to circumference - as at Cnoc an Liath-bhaid - which is an interesting idiosyncrasy, is it not? Clearly the local inhabitants wanted to be different... at right angles to tradition... whilst still keeping up with the neighbours.
So.... all in all Achinduich is, to my mind, a fine hang.... Yes, the presence of the aforementioned pylons is not ideal, but then again by no means prohibitive, the views, save that of rising hillside to the east, pretty expansive with skyline peaks, not to mention the great Ord passage graves, adding additional vibe. Field systems and hut circles also surround the site, neatly answering the question 'so who built this and gathered here, then?' Yeah, worth a visit if obscure monuments more or less guaranteeing solitude for a while are your thang. They are mine.
If Achinduich appeals, head south from Lairg on the A836 and, a little before the buildings at Achinduich farm (funnily enough), keep a look out for an official layby below pylons striding across the low hillside to your left. Either park here, or beside access to a metal field gate a little way past, the circle standing, unseen, beyond the obvious pylon top left. There are a couple of fences.... not forgetting those field systems.... en route, but nothing to cause any trouble.
Oh, and don't forget the nearby (and rather good) Achany chambered cairn, Ord passage graves and the River Shin 'circles!
Posted by GLADMAN
27th June 2013ce
Edited 29th June 2013ce