Karen was keen to spend a bit of time in the gift shop – I wasn’t – so I took the children for a walk to this cracking stone circle. Any excuse!
The walk along the road was longer than I remembered and it didn’t take long for Sophie to start to complain. At least it wasn’t pouring down like the last time I visited.
Soon enough we reached the metal gate which gives access to the field where the circle resides (be careful of the electric fence next to the gate).
The crop in the field around the stone had been harvested although the grass in and around the circle was long. In addition to the six standing stones there are several large stones lying prostrate in the middle of the circle. Field clearance perhaps or fallen standing stones?
Oddly enough, although Fingal’s Stone is mention (and has a photo) in the Killin village paths guide I picked up from the library there is no mention of the stone circle. Perhaps because it is on private land? – although there is no problem with access.
This is a great (and easy) stone circle to visit set in a great location. As I have said before, Killin and its waterfalls is a great place to come and whilst there you just HAVE to visit the wonderful stone circle.
My first time here was quite a while ago now, and I couldn't remember where I left the car last time, nor did I read Carl's notes, specifically on how to get there. I started down the track that Carl mentions, but then changed my mind and went the long way instead. I drove down the little road that eventually hugs the Loch's shore but only for a hundred yards until the road bends sharply right. We got the bikes and the dogs out of the car, keeping two promises with one stone, then rode slowly while taking the dogs for a light jog, down the off turning east track. Immediately I recognised this as the route I took last time.
The approach to a stone circle appears to be utmost to your impression of a place, from on the long route track a gap in the trees opened out onto the field with the circle in, the whole farm estate next to it, but above it and further on some forested hill sides and towering above that the big mountains, Meall Ghaordie and Beinn nan Oighreag amongst others. A Nice little stone circle Or probably the best stone circle in Perthshire
We rode down the main track into the estate, but just short of the entrance absolute there was a sign pointing us the way to the stones, we went that way, it was left.
At one point the stones were just on the other side of the wall, we passed them by, in the corner is the entry into the field. Going into the field keep left by the wall, you have no choice in the matter, a farm line DO NOT CROSS was strung up just like the police version, giving us a two foot wide walkway to the stones, and around the stones, no wandering allowed here, you may trample delicate grasses, or worse still enjoying yourself to the point of wanting to come again or even tell a friend.
But it was easy to tune out, and even ignore completely and wander about, Eric and the dogs slumped in front of the stone with the biggest shadow, taking in fluids, whilst I exhausted my memory card to the max, 844 pictures.
One of the wooden posts has gone that are in some of the older pictures, I nearly took the last one, but it was too hot to even think.
This is the most perfect place in Scotland right now, too knackered and hot to move about and do stuff we just sit and take in the scene, birds seem to be everywhere, a very slight breeze moves the grasses too and fro, and these six big stones perfecting the moment. In future times of hardship, and a "happy place" is needed , this will be it.
I'd still feel better with out the do not cross taper.
Park in the car park in the village of Killin and walk over the old stone bridge (above the waterfalls) and turn left heading towards Kinnell House. Walk up the private road, through the trees, and as you approach the house the stone circle is in the field on your right. Easy to access although I imagine you should ask for permission first. A Nice little stone circle - worth a visit.
Moth wrote: "I wonder if at some stage someone will add some notes about this circle and not mention rain?"
Well, when I visited in June 2005 it was glorious weather, no rain at all!
We arrived in Killin mid-afternoon having aborted our trip to Aberfoyle after one night, due to noisy barking dogs and weirdo B&B owner. As we hadn't planned on being in Killin, we didn't have our OS map of the area, so I had to phone a friend in Chorley ("Hi Dom") who had visited earlier in the year, to get directions to the circle.
By the time we'd eaten and settled into our new B&B it was approaching dusk, so we set off to find it. The walk to the circle was lovely, a fox crossed our path as we spotted the stones in the field but as it was getting dark (and the midges were getting frisky) we decided to come back the next day to look a little closer.
Next morning was less sunny but still dry. Walked back up to the circle and just revelled in the site - no one else around, peaceful and set in the most lovely of spots. Vicky and I did our usual "what do you think....?" "is that a cup mark?", "why here....?" bit and I took a 360 degree video of the site. I love the compact feel of this circle and pondered whether 9 Stones Close may have looked similar in its original state?
Wednesday 30 April 2003
The weather had declined from ‘fine’ to ‘OK’ up until around the time we were halfway up the driveway to Kinnell, where it started to drizzle. But it remained reasonably bright and the fine spray was actually quite refreshing after around 6 hours in the car!
We walked round to the yard at the back of the farm to ask permission. As anyone who has been there will know, the drive passes very close to the circle (I had to drag John away) and you can have a good stare in the process of going to ask.
Incidentally, is it just me who finds this amusing? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind at all. In fact I quite like it. As other people have remarked on this website, specific permission guarantees a relaxed visit – not that I’m very timid anyway. It just tickles me.
Anyway, we were, as usual, kindly granted permission. By a person of the male persuasion for a change!
I really like Kinnell of Killin. I liked Julian’s pic and description of it in the big ‘papery’ TMA. And ever since it came into sight as I ran up the drive on my first visit, I’ve really liked it. (It was time to head home really that day and I didn’t want to ‘push’ my partner at the time too far!)
Every time I’ve been there the weather has been ‘changeable’ at best, but I always find it pleasant place. Although it’s a small circle surrounded by big hills, it’s in a wide graduated valley and, for me this reinstates a feeling of space. If you imagine it without the imposing farm buildings and the field wall that passes too close for comfort, I find that the little site really ‘opens-up’.
I wonder if at some stage someone will add some notes about this circle and not mention rain?
Kinnell! It's almost stopped lashing down- now a 'pleasant' drizzle, but black, black skies all around. I've been kindly granted permission to visit this circle despite the fact that there are cows and calves in the field- as long as I stay well away from them they shouldn't have the urge to trample me to death! The woman at the massive Kinnell House was very charming and even thanked me for asking permission to visit the site- as always (well- nowadays anyway). The fact that there are 'Danger-Bulls' signs around the field kinda put me off. What was I saying about the rain? It's started again with a vengeance. The circle, the stones, the rain. This is a beautifully preserved circle of six huge stones varying in height from about 2m to 1.2m graded towards the smallest stone at the NE. The stone next to this at the north bears about 4 cup marks on it's inner face. I'm standing in the middle of the circle. The widest faces of all six stones are looking in on me. It feels oppressive (or perhaps it's the weather). Here in the centre are a small group of stones, though these look like field clearance as the largest one is covered in plough scars. My pen and notepad are soaking and it's becoming increasingly difficult to write. I guess it's time for the elements and the stones to take over…
"At killin, the circle stands in the private grounds of Kinnel House. Thge quickest way to reach it is by the lane on the south side of the bridge which crosses the falls of Dochart, by the entrance to the fortified island, which has been for centuries the burial ground of the clan MacNab. Possibly the men who built the first earthworks on the island were also responsible for placing the sacred stones in position.
Sadly since 1984 it is no longer possible to walk up to the remaining stones of that circle (six still upright and one fallen) beside the walls of Kinnel House. Now you have to make an appointment before you can go through the gate at the end of the lane. You do that by phoning Killin 212 or arrange a visit through the tourist office in the village.
This procedure is not a tribute to the antiquity of the stones. It has been introduced because the house has now been bought by the owner of Hercules, a wrestling bear, and it is the bear that people are making appointments to see."
It's possibly a bit cheeky to add this as I don't know where it is. But let's face it, it's unlikely to have wandered off somewhere. And while large rocks like Allt an Airgid exist very nearby, I'd dearly like to think this is somewhere around too, and not so far from the circle at Killin.
I have scoured the 25 and 6 inch maps for a sign without luck. But we do know that it is/was on the estate of Auchmore House (now demolished) and it was in woodland. There's an offputting amount of forest today, but 100 years ago it was mostly confined to the area north of the road: see here for example.
The other stone ... to which I alluded to is in the woods of Auchmore at Killin... This stone is called Fuaran na Druidh Chasad, or the Well of the Whooping-Cough. I heard of it ... from a native of Killin, who remembered vividly when a boy having been taken to drink the water in the cavity of the stone, in order to cure the whooping-cough, from which he was suffering at the time. Happening to be in Killin lately ... I made inquiries in the village; but though some of the older inhabitants remembered having heard of the stone, and the remarkable practice connected with it, I could not get any one to describe the exact locality of it to me, so completely has the superstition passed away from the mind of the present generation. I went twice in search of the stone; and though, as I afterwards found, I had been within a very short distance of it unawares on both occasions, I was unsuccessful in finding it. At least I met an old man, and after some search we found the stone, and he identified it.
I understood then what had puzzled me before, viz., why it should have been called Fuaran or Well, for I had supposed it had a cavity in a stone like that at Fernan. It was indeed a cavity; but it was in the projecting side of the stone, not on its top surface. It consisted of a deep basin penetrating through a dark cave-like arched recess into the heart of the stone. It was difficult to tell whether it was natural or artificial, for it might well have been either, and was possibly both; the original cavity having been a mere freak of nature - a weather-worn hole - afterwards perhaps enlarged by some superstitious hand, and adapted to the purpose for which it was used.
Its sides were covered with green cushions of moss; and the quantity of water in the cavity was very considerable, amounting probably to three gallons or more. Indeed, so natural did it look, so like a fountain, that my guide asserted that it was a well formed by the water of an underground spring bubbling up through the rock. I said to him, "Then why does it not flow over?" That circumstance he seemed to regard as a part of its miraculous character to be taken on trust.
I put my hand into it, and felt all round the cavity where the water lay, and found, as was self-evident, that its source of supply was from above and not from below; that the basin was simply filled with rain water, which was prevented from being evaporated by the depth of the cavity, and the fact that a large part of it was within the arched recess in the stone, where the sun could not get access to it. I was told that it was never known to be dry - a circumstance which I could well believe from its peculiar construction.
The stone, which was a rough irregular boulder, somewhat square shaped, of mica schist, with veins of quartz running through it, about 8 feet long and 5 feet high, was covered almost completely with luxuriant moss and lichen; and my time being limited, I did not examine it particularly for traces of cup-marks. There were several other stones of nearly the same size int he vicinity, but there was no evidence, so far as I could see, of any sepulchral or religious structure in the place.
There is indeed a small, though well-formed and compact so-called Druidical circle ... within a short distance on the meadow near Kinnell House ...
... The superstition connected with it has survivied in the locality for many ages. It has now passed away completely, and the old stone is utterly neglected. The path leading to it, which used to be constantly frequented, is now almost obliterated. This has come about within the last thirty years, and one of the principle causes of its being forgotten is that the site is now part of the private policies of Auchmore.
The landlady of the house at Killin, where I resided, remembered distinctly having been brought to the stone to be cured of the whooping-cough; and at the foot of it, there are still two flat stones that were used as steps to enable children to reach up to the level of the fountain, so as to drink its healing waters; but they are now almost hidden by the rank growth of grass and moss...
From 'Notice of two boulders having rain-filled cavities...' by H Macmillan, in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, v18 (1883-4).
If it was to be found, I think the description is detailed enough that you would be sure. There is a slightly unenlightening picture in the scan at the ADS website.