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

Rubha Charnain

Cup Marked Stone


I came across this site in the book "Lewis and Harris - History and Pre-History" by Francis Thompson.

Mrs Goffik and I followed the all-too-vague directions down to the coastline, along a narrow track from the A859, towards Glen Kyles and Rubha Charnain (which isn't signposted, if I remember rightly).

After investigating just about every rock along the small headland, we turned our focus beyond the house at the end of the small road. Navigating along the water's edge, we hopped up onto the grass beyond the fence surrounding the house, and continued straight on (I presume the unfenced area isn't private, anyway!). There is what appears to be an old wall pointing out toward the sea, and just to the left of that is a slope down to the black rocks. The unmistakeable cup-marks are pretty much all around you as you head to the farthest point!

And there's dozens of them! Ranging from coin-sized all the way up to dinner-plate-sized!

Apparently the larger ones may be more modern, although how this is known, I have no idea. They were used by fishermen for holding bait within living memory, but as far as I'm aware, it's nigh on impossible to date rock art... So maybe they were created thousands of years ago and used for that purpose because they were convenient!

The views are spectacular, across the Sound of Harris to the rocky islands of Saghaigh Mor and Saghaigh Beag with Easaigh beyond... Watching the Calmac Ferry come in from Berneray to Leverburgh...

Rock art is apparently very rare in the Outer Hebrides, which makes this place all the more unusual and worth the visit.

Access: Head North on the A859 from Leverburgh, and just after the village, turn left onto a single-track road. The road meanders gently past a couple of houses until a tight(ish) bend (you can probably park here quite safely - we did!) by a small, pebbly beach. The road continues past the bend and terminates at a private house. Follow the coastline to beyond the house and walk along the grass until you reach the slope down to the rocks. Head toward the farthest point and you will see cup-marks all around you!
goffik Posted by goffik
21st June 2006ce

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