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

Caves of Kilhern

Chambered Tomb


I'd been to Glentirrow and thence to cairns north of New Luce on the Barrhill road, the sun was sinking.. time for this today too? Not really, but couldn't resist, despite gammy leg. The Caves had been on my hitlist when planning my holiday, and the photos had sealed it - this place was a must see. Parking at the side of the minor road where the Southern Upland Way crosses, then up the track to the gate with side gate for walkers, and up the slope alongside the plantation. The Way here is undefined, choose any rut from several. Another gate came into view. Beyond, a hairy silhouette with big horns. Gawd, not a g a i n. A highland cow, calf alongside. Since there was a gate between I approached. A motley collection of other cattle were there too. All turned and ambled off. Should I continue or head back? The former. The more distinct track was boggy in places. The trees were behind me, a stone wall to my left. At the top of the rise was another gateway which had no gate. The left hand gatepost is an old railway sleeper. Had I looked to my left there I would have seen the site, but I kept my eyes front as more cattle came into sight. Warily I continued down the track, crossed over a stream and then bore sharp left on another track, up and over a rise. The cattle were a few hundred yards away and stayed put. Like Glentirrow, in 2015 there's no signs to your destination. Beyond a wire fence and gate I saw a rectangular fenced off area, and thought the Caves were in it. No. The foundations of a building, covered in black plastic. Where were they? The sun was setting and the light was going. I looked to my left and saw a capstone's silhouette on a rise about two hundred yards away. Phew, just in time. I tried to get to them, and found that the ground between contained very deep, hidden drainage channels. Be warned. Really. I picked my way across, and made it. It was worth it. A great place. If only I could have stayed longer. The sun was hitting the horizon. I stood a minute or two, circled, took some pics then headed for the wire fence, thinking, rightly, that the drainage channels would cease before it. The fence was followed back to the gate by the rectangular fenced area. Soggy footwear was a better price to pay than a fall in one of those drainage channels. It was then that a bull started roaring. F**k. I had to go in that direction to get back to the Way. I kept a low profile as I returned to the top of the rise. Which of those dark lumps beyond was the bull? A second then roared somewhere in the distance in response to the first. Back on the track I walked as quick as I could, looking behind, listening for footfalls. None. Onward, back to the 'sleeper' gateway, paused. The Caves appeared ghostly against the vegetation surrounding them. I resolved to return, said farewell, returned to the other gate. No highland cattle. Relief. It was very nearly dark. The plantation was now a roost to inumerable crows and jackdaws, and I thought of recording their cacophany as a new ringtone for my phone. No time. Onward... I could scarcely see where I was going, but knew at the bottom of the slope was the final gate. I was glad to make out its shape, and knew that a little way down the stone track beyond was my car. Boy, was I relieved to sit inside it again. Finding that the Southern Upland Way has bulls on it and no warning signs is something future visitors should note. Back to lovely New Luce. It has a fine pub, the Kenmuir Arms. Good Beer Guided. Driving, I couldn't drink, despite temptation. Back past Glentirrow's stones to beyond Leswalt on the North Rhins, my tent and chicken curry under the stars. Memo to self and others: Friday night at the Kenmuir is haddock and chip night. They smelt good. Next time... spencer Posted by spencer
28th October 2015ce

Comments (4)

Nice one. Good to see these obscure sites getting more press...

Once again thanks to Greywether for doing the TMA groundwork on so many Scottish cairns. If the hallmark of a legacy is to inspire others and make a difference to something the person believed in... I reckon it is one to celebrate.
30th October 2015ce
Great read. If Jack Kerouac did fieldnotes they might be like this. thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
6th November 2015ce
Jack Kerouac wouldn't seek out ancient sites I don't think; but the bull could be his nemesis Dr Sax, so I know what you mean. They are lovely evocative notes:) Posted by carol27
6th November 2015ce
Thank you chappess and chaps for your kind words. A confession: my Kerouacian style is down to the para function on my notsosmartphone - my sole means of accessing this great digital world of ours - being inoperable through some glitch. When I feel rich enough to purchase a replacement, which I may do before the end of the tax year as my accountant has opined that it is a valid business expense, and incidentally therefore a means of avoiding funding the coffers of the delightful Mr Osborne.. what to do, continue with prose style as a deliberate decision or obey grammatical convention and make my blather more accessible for those who may be less appreciative, bearing in mind that the content is meant to constructively inform, emote and encourage folk to visit these places. Hmmmm, cogitate, cogitate. Kerouacian's days may be numbered. Of more immediate concern is my blessed device's other fault, memory loss, which has previously rendered it inoperable for months. I took out the SD card which contains all my images of my latest Galloway adventures as there was a significant drop in MBs for some reason, and must reinsert it to upload to TMA, and then my camera's card will follow suit. I am viewing these insertions with trepidation, particularily as there are images therein of sites which seem as far as I can tell to have been unrecorded anywhere, one in particular of which may be of some importance - I just found it at my feet while fieldwalking: Slockmill, if you're interested. Site added, blurb shortly. It certainly needs more learned heads than mine to evaluate, and the images uploaded onto the net via TMA would greatly help in starting the process. Anyhoo, fieldnotey blurb for all sites visited first - tennish still to upload, several new to TMA then, glup, the 'act of insertion', and, touch yew wood or whatever, images to replace grey rectangles. Right, I hope that's made my predicament and modus operandi clearer. If not, sorry, its Sunday and I'm several coffees short of maximum coherence. Oh, and GLADMAN, your comment has led me to browse back a bit through your fieldnotes. I like your style too. You care and illuminate...good pics too. If I had a hat I'd doff it. spencer Posted by spencer
8th November 2015ce
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