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

Loanhead of Daviot

Stone Circle

Fieldnotes

Being a restored and state-owned show site, Loanhead is very well signposted. But there's also recent signposting for others like Midmar Kirk, with even a brown tourist sign logo. We parked up at about 6pm on a Friday evening, just as a load of Scouts and Guides were being dropped off at the Scout campsite that shares the carpark.

As you take the short uphill path through the woods stones are silhouetted against the sky in a dramatic and exclamatory way. The circle, with its bizarrely lengthways-split recumbent, is made more bizarre by the rubble of cairnstones carefully placed within, and weirder still by the cleared circle at the very centre coated in coarse sand. The official info boards are, like others everywhere, obsessed with physical measurements above all, but like the others in this area the ones here are well above the standard of, say, Silbury or Stonehenge - no 'chief of the clan' hierarchical bollocks, and mention of lunar alignments; trying seriously to be addressing *why* as well as *what*.

There was a little work to be done in 'making a practical offering' to the site; rather than leave flowers or whatever, clear the litter. It gives you a close and binding feel for the site and makes it a better place for the next people who come, encouraging them to treat it with more respect. Quite how the Irn Bru can I pulled out from between the halves of the recumbent came to be smelling of fish is unknown.

I was moved by the (cairn-builder era) cremation site beside the circle - I could really imaging a blazing fire, looking as fire always has and does, cremating a man looking like men still do, right here, this very spot, so long ago that we don't know any real detail of their lives and thoughts, let alone their language. Trees surround the circle on three sides, but you can *really* feel Mither Tap and the sister hills of Bennachie calling and glaring from beyond the recumbent. The blocking of a direct view does detract from the sense of place here, but the site is still very affecting.

The valley to the east looks like the Marlborough Downs, the same brand of rolling fertile land. And half a mile away we could see the recumbent and flankers of New Craig circle, an absolut must-visit.
Posted by Merrick
7th August 2000ce

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