The last time I came to Kilmartin it rained and rained and then rained some more. In fact it never stopped raining from the moment I arrived to the time I left. Kilmartin is a joy but is more of a joy in decent weather. A return visit was always on the agenda and here we are, 5 years later, back in Kilmartin glen.
We were booked into a B+B opposite the museum and as it was a lovely summer's evening I didn't want t waste the opportunity. Karen agreed to take the children to the B+B and let me have the rest of the day to myself to re-explore the many wonderful sites Kilmartin has to offer - result!
Karen dropped me off near Ri Cruin and drove off. I immediately headed up the path and was keen to see if this site was as good as I remembered it? And of course, it was! I had the place to myself and eagerly sought out the axe head carvings. The light wasn't great for this but I did spot them once I got my eye in.
With its relative seclusion away from the 'main' Kilmartin sites you are likely to also have the place to yourself. The axe heads, cists and surroundings still (alongside Dunned Fort) makes this my favorite Kilmartin site. Simply wonderful.
It is perhaps surprising that although the other sites in Kilmartin had lots of people visiting (despite the weather) there was no one here. I parked in the lane near the house (also a B+B) and took the short walk up the little path which runs alongside the house. I had read about the axe head carvings and spent ages laying on my belly with my head in the cist trying to spot them. I was jusy about to give up when I noticed the other cist - and there they were (3 of them if I remember correctly) quite easy to spot once your eyes adjust. The first, and so far only, axe head carvings I have seen. Well worth a visit.
I enjoyed visiting this site more than any of the other cairns in the area.
It was totally deserted, and very peaceful. The axehead carvings in the south cist are very nice, and I was quite taken with the capstone of the west cist.
I couldn't make out any traces of a cup-and-ring on the stone of the south cist, as is shown chalked in Greywether's photo, but then, maybe the light has to be just right for it to appear. I find it nicer to think it may actually be there, hiding in plain view.
This place gave me goosebumps as I approached - there is so much more to the place than meets the eye. The setting is difficult to place in relation to the other linear cemetry sites, as unlike the others it is completely surrounded by trees. This does give it a unique feel though - something like Wayland's Smithy. I took a long break here as the sun streamed through the trees.