I was inspired to check this out by Martin's posts, and visitied the carving on 14/01/07. A bit tricky to get to (in a gale), but once there I was rewarded with a seriously smooth little seat in the entrance to the little cave. It must have taken a lot of sitting to get it that smooth - this spot was once used a hell of a lot. The carving is pretty nifty, although I'd say I was more taken by the seat.
Another steep and tricky cliff face- another site! It's a bit of a scramble up here over slippy grass, scree, through gorse and stinging nettle. I'm back up here with the digi cam to take some decent pics and also some measurements- especially of the 'hunter' figure. The deer was only rediscovered in 1996, but no mention was made of the human figure only 3 cm to the left of it. To be fair- the deer is very prominent compared to the human, but the latter is definitely pecked from the rock using the same technique as the deer. The deer is 145 mm long by 107 mm high. The horns are 47 and 45 mm long. The human 'hunter' figure (which is 21 mm to the left of the nose of the deer) is 17 mm wide by 68 mm high with legs 30 mm long. It appears to be holding a weapon of sorts on its left side- possibly a representation of a bow and arrow, this being 37 mm long.
Just about 1.1 m to the right of the carving there's a crevice in the cliff face and a crack forming a natural chimney- indeed the rocks in the crevice are blackened with carbon and soot. At the base of the rock with the carving is a horizontal slab approximately 80 cm by 1 m to sit perched on the cliff. I guess it's impossible to date such a carving, but this place has a very ancient feel to it- the deer and hunter carving, the fire shelter, the perch high up on a cliff…
On an extremely muggy and warm lunchtime I find myself on the stone perch next to the deer having lunch and admiring the fantastic view. I took the path round the base of the hill this time and straight up to here- very tricky as it's mostly slidy scree. Only stopped on my way up here to sample the very good wild raspberries growing all over the place. I was having a re-check of the carving- it's on an almost lozenge shaped rock about 75X32 cm forming part of a small cliff rising to about 2 m by about 1.5 m wide. The deer is pecked from the rock and in recognising this I notice something so obvious that I missed it on my last visit- just to the left there is what appears to be a humanoid figure- bloody hell! It's not as deeply carved as the deer though. I have a good survey of all the rock faces around the cliff- but no more carvings.
Not the easiest to find- the GPS was about 6 m off, but I found the tiny creature on a slab of red rock looking SW across the Braid Hills. I was expecting something Pictish, but this looks far, far more primitive. There's lichen growing in the actual carving so it's definitely not recent (not that it looks in any way modern).
The easiest way to get to this site is by approaching from the south. Take the path with the steps up towards the summit of Blackford Hill, but maybe 30 steps from the top the gorse to your left stops and is replaced with grass on a steep slope. There are a couple of faint tracks visible here. Leave the main path and walk around the edge of the hill towards the prominent tree, where the gorse starts again. Once you reach the tree the hollow in the rock and the carving itself are both clearly visible.
There's quite a lot of scree and it is steep, so appropriate footwear is required!