This souterrain is almost in perfect condition complete with it's slab roof intact. The Romans get blamed for trashing most of them, but some escaped, Culsh and Ben Newe are both fairly nearby. Unfortunately it is estimated that more than 80 have been destroyed or ploughed in. Clova 1 is very similar to Tealing, the big difference, apart from the roof, being that the Angus model is getting good care from the authorities. This one isn't which makes the rock art impossible to find to my untrained eye (I should have taken a torch), the entrance and exit are beginning to cover up with earth and weeds.
On looking down into the entrance I must admit to being scared as I entered the doom. Outside it was chucking it down, inside was surprisingly warm. Internally the souterrain is in fine condition with massive slabs above. Hopefully one day this site will be tidied up as it surely must be considered one of the North East's best kept secrets.
It is over 200 meters, west, from the Muirs Of Kildrummy in the small clump of trees. Ask permission at the farm, the occupants are helpful and pointed out both sites. Take care not to jump the fence and land straight in it!!
The hills now put on a more bleak and desolate look: the way over barren heaths began to seem tedious; when Kildrumy castle came in view. Even the distant appearance of that noble ruin, dissipated all ideas of fatigue. On going towards it, across a stony moor, passed by a well-shaped, though rude stone obelisk*, ten or eleven feet high; and was directed to some underground vaults, which have their openings in the side of a mossy bank. The best entrance into them was but small, and shewed a long dark cavity within. The access was confined and difficult; but on going in I found the recess to be about eight feet wide, and six or seven feet high, well built up at the sides, and covered with vast flaggs.
One may advance twelve or fifteen paces without interuption, and where the passage is blocked up, seems to be owing rather to rubbish having fallen in, than to the design of the builders. The others are similar; but whether they have been connected together, and had communication at the ends, cannot now be easily discovered. They are said to have been numerous and of great extent.
They were the retreats of the antient possessors; such as Tacitus informs us were used by the Germans as a shelter, as well from the inclemency of the weather, as from the fury of their enemies. Those who used these concealments would, no doubt, have it in their power to block up the entrance with a large stone, so as to have the appearance of its naturally lying there; and the banks in which they are, give no other evidence of their contents. They would therefore answer well for the purpose of stratagem and retreat.
This was the first stop of the morning. Clova 2 can be found in the next clump of trees south of Clova. I managed to wedge myself in past the door and immediately wished that I hadn't. Foxes obviously use this place as their kitchen, it stank with the remains of chickens and rabbits. Probably I was scared as it was pitch dark, stupidly leaving my torch in the car which in turn made me miss a stone covered in cup marks. But that isn't a problem I'll be back to this area and the site is a short walk east from the road.
To be fair, the souterrain is a remarkably good condition as the foties show. Crawling around in the dark isn't much fun but thankfully I'd the sense to wear gloves!
The Canmore link will show what I have to get next time.