|Perhaps the most straight forward route to this wonderfully remote, moorland site is from Cambret Farm..... however..... not wishing to duplicate part of yesterday's walk (to Claughreid) and with an eye on obtaining a quite literal overview of the inter-relationship between the numerous monuments in the locality, I decide to approach from the summit of Cambret Hill to the approx NW. This is initially not as difficult as it may sound, since a tarmac road, albeit not in the best of repair, snakes its way up to the summit from the NE to provide access to several telecom antennae. These are, of course, unwelcome intrusions, yet the viewpoint they surmount is excellent through the entire 360 arc, ensuring one happy Gladman, despite the searingly cold wind.
The fabulous Glenquickan 'circle lies near forestry to the west, Claughreid to the approx south-east. But, of course, it is the massive cairn, beside the prosaically named Cauldside Burn, which holds the gaze, despite being totally dominated by the towering crags of Cairnharrow rearing above it across the valley.... hey, humankind may have felt the compulsive need to erect our monuments to Nature, but nothing, I said nothing can beat the real thing.
As I descend towards the site, a most excellent, not to mention large, wild stallion (cue air guitar) noisily asserts his dominance of this hostile landscape, confronting the intruder head on. Wisely, I think, I circle around him and don't blatantly challenge his 'horse-hood'. Anyway, after crossing a fence-line (by gate, if I recall correctly) a little bit of serious 'bog bashing' sees me at the monument, struggling to find a dry bit to hang out upon. Granted, quite a large arc of the circumference of the 'circle is missing, but several of the remaining orthostats are substantial, bear exquisite lichen, and stand right beside a stonking great big cairn with remnants of cist to the NNW. Wait... there's more... beyond the cairn there are two small stones which Burl reckons precede an overgrown ring cairn. I struggle to make out the latter, but am nevertheless happy knowing it is there.
As with many moorland 'circles, I would suggest the aim here was pretty obviously not to impress, but simply to provide spiritual functionality to a family group. No point trying to impress the gods when they have created landscape features that completely overawe anything you can possibly contemplate, is there? Whatever its value to its builders, whatever rituals were practised here, I feel this circle still retains its relevance, even after millennia... for to be here is a very evocative experience indeed. Hell, here I have the opportunity to clear my head of all distractions and simply 'be' for a few hours. I thank Mr Burl and Mr Cope for initially inspiring me to seek out places such as this. Gentlemen, it has been emotional.
Although my attempts to find some of the rock art which also adorn the area prove fruitless - not surprisingly - I ascend back to the car deeply moved by Cauldside Burn.
Posted by GLADMAN
3rd June 2010ce
Edited 4th June 2010ce