Visit Torhousekie Stone Row and you have to visit Torhousekie Stone Circle..and vice versa. Whether they are contemporary chronologically I know not, but they are duo. Little and large. Ish. The same layby for both. Through the little gate on the east side of the road...the stone row's on top of a rise, you don't have to search for it. I approached and as I walked a herd of cows came into view. Most were a few hundred yards away, and the few nearer, initially hesitantly inquisitive, ambled off to join their kind. Cud and grass more interesting than prat with a ponytail. I eyed them with caution nonetheless. They had been an almost constant factor throughout my trip. At Cairn Pat near Stranraer I'd not got within half a mile of the site, I'd not liked the look of the bovines in front of me, a voice inside said 'no' and I'd taken heed. At Fort Point I'd been extremely circumspect but, hunch correct, no problem. Bulls were an automatic no, apart from at Caves of Kilhern, where I hadn't spotted one till my return leg. These ones looked OK. Onward. Mind the pats. The three stones looked bedded down for the night against the the last rays of the setting sun. I moved round to their eastward side to get silhouette shots, only achievable by lying down due to their short stature. The cowpats just about permitted, their creators, heads down at distance, munched away. I got what I wanted, circled round them, took in the stone circle, listened to the sounds of its visitors happy chatter as they posed and took their pictures, looked at the horizon and land about and the late sunset's glow. Trip over. I turned to go. Supper, tent and drive home in the morning. I walked slowly down towards the car. Then I heard a rumble. Turned. There were about twenty cows coming over the rise. Running. At me. I was being charged. It is an interesting experience. I looked round at that little gate. It was too far. I knew I wouldn't make it. I froze, then realised all I could do was face them and hope. Run and I feared they would follow, and overtaking and its consequence would be inevitable. I made myself look as big as I could, stood four square, looked straight at the head of the herd. Whatever would be would be. On they came, then as the leaders passed the westernmost stone they wheeled round it, perhaps fortyfive feet away. Surreally as the leaders did so I said to myself 'it's like Ben Hur', meaning the chariot race in the Colosseum, where the speeding vehicles had wheeled round 180 degrees at each end of the central barrier. It felt like I wasn't there, watching on a big screen. I then knew I was safe, spared. I turned round and the stone circles visitors were still there, prattling away, happy, oblivious. I stood quietly, and then, anger overtook me. Anger at myself and at at the cows. I didn't want the end of such a great holiday to be like this. Bloodymindedly I retraced my steps to the stones. The cows were back where they'd been, heads down, munching as if nothing had happened. I stood and pointedly took a couple more shots, trying to do likewise. Then a bull appeared in the distant gloaming and promptly proceeded to fulfil its function. I walked back to the gate as unobtrusively as I could, got into my car and thought. Sometimes you think that something's going to turn out one way and the opposite occurs. Torhousekie, I decided, would not be the end of my site visits and holiday, whatever the light. I looked at the map. Hole Stone looked ten minutes drive away. Goodbye stones, goodbye cattle. I was still alive and would do something I loved. Onward.
A hundred yards away and across the road from the stone circle is this three stone row. More of less aligned on the winter solstice sunset and summer solstice sunrise. The stones aren't really big, two to three feet high, with some field clearance in between.
We were here apres sunset on the winter solstice, the sun had gone down and all the clouds to the east were a gorgeous golden colour.
The stone row has a draw all of it's own but to have such a good stone circle over the road, makes this a must see site, and with all the other stuff nearby, forts, standing stones and other circles, burial chambers and rock art make this whole area a must see place.