|Managed to find these elusive carvings last week. It was decided that the choice of Feb 29th was auspicious, as it proved to be.
A bit of research via Google Earth showed a patch that looked to be in shadow, implying the existence of a clearing. A bit of tricknology with a gps device converted the GE co-ordinates into a gps friendly point at which to leave the path and follow the furrows made when planting the trees.
The trees have recently been thinned slightly in the southern part of the plantation, so access wasn't as much of a problem as it could have been. Working out where the carvings are was, and we initially walked right past the spot where the carvings later showed up. This led to an hour or so of hands-and-knees crawling through some dense and highly resistant coniferous gloom.
A combination of the satellite images, Stan Beckensall's sketched map and a bit of tree-stump observation eventually led to the conclusion that they were buried under a 25 yr old annoyingly deep and tangled pile of pine branches and needles. (It took much effort to shift the heap).
It was still a very sludgy bit of rock art, as the decades of decomposition had left an unpleasant slime mixed with pine needles over the surface of the outcrop. Hence a return visit today, this time armed with a (soft) brush and some water.
The carvings are very worn, but quite complex in composition. I couldn't help but think it looked like a panel that had been added to over time, possibly starting out as a set of simple cups, elaborated upon at a later date.
If you take the trees away, there's a great view, showing significant hills such as Ros Castle, Simonside and the Cheviot.
Posted by Hob
8th March 2008ce