|Guess I need to come clean and admit I had no intention of visiting Kildonan Point during this latest - well, second - sojourn upon Kintyre. Strange as that may seem in retrospect, given the excellence of the monuments to be found here. Suffice to say there was no master plan. There never is. Yeah, not even a night spent upon the Mull itself was sufficient to fire the relevant synapse in a brain not engaged with the appreciation of copious tea and muesli... and bring a well subsumed recollection of antiquarian typeface upon an OS map bubbling into consciousness.
Not surprisingly, given the site's obvious architectural and aesthetic quality, the sublimely positioned dun lying immediately across Kildonan Bay was the sole focus of my attention upon finally vacating the equally enthralling Balnabraid kerbed cairn. However as I recline upon the ancient wall top gazing contentedly across to Arran - as you do - something that looks suspiciously like a large stone pile catches my eye to the south, that is a little 'inland' from the promontory's terminal point. Now, given my well documented fondness for such features upon the landscape, annoyance generated by the subsequent confirmation of supposition by memory may seem somewhat paradoxical. Nevertheless I dig deep, drag myself to my feet and set off along water's edge to go have a look. The going is pretty rough, the grassy shoreline, riven by the infinitely repetitive actions of high tide, eventually merging with rock and, finally, beach enlivened by the skeletal spars of a boat long since past its sell by date.
From here it is but a short meander up a shallow rise to determine that my eyes - not to mention dormant memory - did not deceive me. Yeah this cairn is really something special.... arguably second only to the great Correchrevie should you happen to be contemplating the round cairns of Kintyre. OK the monument has been significantly damaged upon its eastern arc, a threatening mass of industrial strength gorse seemingly determined to mitigate against further loss with a show of unbridled ferocity... however enough stone remains in situ to give a more than convincing impression of overwhelming solidity. The RCAHMS (1971) gave the cairn's dimensions as "23m in diameter and 3m in height".... however... "a short stretch of a heavy boulder kerb, still visible on the SW, suggests that it originally had a diameter of about 18.5m".
As mentioned Nature has now initiated the process of reclaiming this great stone pile, perhaps with a little artificial assistance, if the presence of some delicate white flowers upon the summit is indicative of such? The Mam C would know. In fact the cairn could be said to resemble a rock garden executed in true 'no-holds-barred' Scottish style. Fine by me. What's more the view looking across Kildonan Bay and beyond to the high ground of Arran, the latter now periodically semi-obscured by an advancing cloud base, is excellent, if by definition somewhat muted of colour.
Eventually my attention is drawn to what appears to be a second, shattered cairn located very oddly upon the northern flank of promontory's end. Investigation duly resolves the apparent conundrum. Hey, it's not a cairn at all but part of a substantial, dry stone rampart demarcating what was once clearly a pretty powerful promontory fort gracing the apex of Kildonan Point.
It would appear there is to be no rest for the inquisitive.... yeah, no sleep 'til Kilmartin.
Posted by GLADMAN
20th August 2015ce
Edited 22nd August 2015ce