Next stop on my mini 'Grand Tour' was the famous Templewood complex. It was a lovely summer's evening and long shadows were begin cast over the stones. I was amazed that I was the only one here. I expected the (unusually) nice weather would have brought the tourists out? Clearly not,
Although Templewood has been tidied up a lot it is still a great place to visit. Access is as easy as it gets and the information boards are very informative. I always find that sites which have trees around them to have that 'special feeling'. Templewood is no exception, particularly when you are lucky enough to have the place to yourself.
I really liked Templewood. Easy to access and a very pleasant setting amongst the trees. (Disabled car parking is available right next to the site). Even though there were plenty of people about everyone seemed to respect the site and quietly observed from the edges as opposed to climbing all over it as I have seen at other places.
Had a good mooch about here on a number of occasions over the space of a week at Slockavullin. The top couple of houses of Slockavullin are the ones visible up the bank from the circle. Not far at all, offering the opportunity to easily visit at night.
It has a much nicer atmosphere in the dark. Had the place to myself for hours. Must be careful on those loose cobbles in the nightime rain though.
Much of the time there was spent pondering the possible connection between the spiral carvings here, and the whilpool/waterspout at the nearby Gulf of Corryvreckan. Supposedly, it's sometimes possible to hear the roaring of the whirlpool from around Kilmartin.
I'm not convinced the double ring is totally artificial. It looks like 'enhanced natural' at best. Maybe it's one of these ones that needs the right light.
August 2005 :-
In terms of accessibility for wheelchairs/buggies, templewood is about as good as it gets. I was immensey chuffed to see it has it's own disabled parking bay, though it's also accessible via the car park for the Nether Largie stones (The great X), though this involves a substantially longer route, but then any route would be longer as the Templewood disabled bay couldn't really be any closer without being in the circle.
J C is right, this site and those in the immeadiate vacinity have a slightly sanitised feel about them with neatly manicured lawn and colourful signposts. (Not a complaint - merely an observation - if all ancient sites were protected and displayed as well as those in the Kilmartin area we'd have no worries).
Between brilliant shafts of light and ruinous downpours, the overwelming feeling in the valley is one of place - the surrounding hillscape being as important as the megaliths themselves.
No place for Dogs, though (because of the sheep). My famous menhir mongrel, Denis the Rottweiller had to stay in the carpark on the far side of the Great X as we visited Templewood and the Barrows. He was really looking forward to taking a pee on another neolithic construction.
The road seems to seperate this place from the rest of the Kilmartin sites - and all the little stones in the middle seem to seperate it from the usual stone circle thing.
I should have been paying more attention I suspect, because in retrospect, this is one of the most unusual sites I've been to.
Sadly much of the Kilmartin area has foot and mouth restrictions in place. The path across the fields from the car park past the great X is closed and initially I thought we'd not be able to visit the circles, but followed the road round to gain access. The bluebells were in flower round the edge of the site, the sun came out and it felt so peaceful.
The rocks at Achnabreck are open as they are in forestry land, but almost everything else could only be viewed from the road. Still a spectacular area and I will definitely be back.
Two circles here, one older and destroyed, the other built upon with burials. The cist in the centre of the newer, larger circle seems to line up NE to the older one. As I've mentioned in my entry on Nether Largie Cemetry, I reckon there's a strong North-Death association informing the monuments here - but so often the alignment is NE or NNE. Reasons why? The NNE-SSW alignment of the glen itself?