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

Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth

Standing Stone / Menhir


In my opinion this is really something special, a striking monolith up there with such notable beauties as Clach an Trushal, Punchestown... and even the wondrous Maen Llia. It's probably to my detriment that solitary standing stones don't generally 'do it for me', so to speak. It normally takes at least a pair of the things to overcome my usual inertia to pull on the boots to visit. Or, failing that, an overpoweringly massive presence, or superb positioning within the landscape.

At first sight Clach Mhic Mhios didn't appear - to me - to possess any of those criteria. However after viewing the landscape context from the col between Ben Uarie and Beinn Dhorain... and spending three nights wild camping within Glen Loth, during which sea mist came to greet the enigmatic monolith in such a memorable manner as to positively freak me out... I reasoned I might as well go and have a look. Hey, any standing stone than could entice water to come to it, rather than wandering down to the river at night - as they apparently are apt to do - must be pretty classy, right? Either that or incredibly lazy. Albeit in a metaphysical manner.

The distance from roadside to the great monolith is not excessive. However, as the previous gentlemen note, the ground is extremely boggy. Wellingtons would be a good idea, to be fair. Trainers? You're having a laugh! Anyway, as I draw nearer it soon becomes apparent that Clach Mhic Mhios, comprised of red sandstone, is much taller than it appears from the road, some 11ft according to the RCAHMS way back in 1911. No doubt a significant length is embedded within the ground, too, or else the monument would probably have long since toppled over within the soggy morass. The stone is 4ft 11'' across at its widest point and 1ft 3'' thick, facing ESW and WNW (again as noted by RCAHMS). Furthermore two smaller stones were apparently standing nearby just over a century ago. Unfortunately I could not see any trace today. More's the pity.

So, a handsome monument. But what, for me, really places Clach Mhic Mhios in the top rank of its type is its location. Beinn Dhorain, highest peak in the locality, towers to the immediate west while the elegant facade of Ben Uarie soars to the north-west. The view looking east, not to mention those up and down the glen, are also very fine. Indeed it is Ben Uarie, possessing the remains of a large, in my opinion possibly kerbed, summit cairn that might well be the focal point of Glen Loth. The mountain and the standing stone are inextricably linked within local folklore, this relating how the stone was thrown from the summit to its current position "by a giant youth when one month old". The mind boggles, so it does.

Now that's what I call throwing toys out of the pram! Proper Highland style.
20th January 2015ce
Edited 22nd January 2015ce

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to add a comment