Despite the fact that we regularly stop off in Aviemore on our northward jouneys, I realise with shock that it's been at least ten years since I last visited the circle. There is really no excuse, the circle being conveniently located just to the north of the town, even being handily signposted just next to the fire station, and being located in a quiet cul-de-sac parking next to the monument is not a problem.
Although the houses encroach right up to the stones, giving the impression that the circle was nothing more than a civic monument to spice up a humdrum estate, when you actually get here you appreciate the fine qualities of the site. It is a fine circle, and suprisingly easy to imagine how things would once have been before the houses were built during Aviemore's expansion in the 1960's.
The mountains stand proud on the horizon, snow capped today, placing the circle in a natural amphitheatre. The chunky stones are substantial, with a couple of outliers concentrically set on the outside of the circle, the groundplan making a lot more sense if you've previously had of pleasure of visiting Balnuaran of Clava.
We picnic in the centre of the circle, joined by a friendly local dog, but are struck just by how nicely kept the circle is, there being not a scrap of rubbish or other damage as might often by expected at more 'urban' sites, as well as a generally relaxed feeling of welcome here. I certainly didn't get the impression of any 'curtain twitching' or otherwise feeling of discomfort as we lesiurely ate our lunch, and took inumerable photos from every conceivable angle.
A lovely site, like a fondly remembered meal that you don't realise how good it is until you experince it again, I'll make sure I visit the circle next time we come this way, and I'd certainly recommend if you're ever in Aviemore you do the same.
Visited 14.3.2011, after a walk through snowy woods to Loch an Eilein and its water-locked castle. The snow has stopped temporarily but it's a good 6 inches deep, even on the pavements of Aviemore (and considerably deeper off them), blanketing the cairn at the centre of the circle.
I like this circle a lot, despite the overnear houses. The sky is the colour of iron and everything is a stark monochrome, making the domestic setting less intrusive. Some serious mountain peaks momentarily come into view, before retreating back into cloud-cover. Their brooding presence is never too far away here though.
A daytrip to Aviemore to travel on the Strathspey Steam Railway, 6.10.2010. I couldn't exactly pass up the "ring cairn" shown on the OS map as being pretty close to the centre of town, so we had a wander along the main street to find it. Just past the fire station and sign-posted as "stone circle", this is a great site if you come with no expectations (as we did).
Yes, it's in a little suburban cul-de-sac, with houses very close by, but it's still an impressive monument, albeit one lacking in atmosphere. But it doesn't take much imagination to magic the houses and their towering hedges away and visualise the circle with the Cairngorms providing an irresistable backdrop.
Not a place to linger.......thoughts of 'goldfish' and 'bowls' spring to mind... as well as those fake stone circles that have become an integral part of every new Welsh housing estate and park in the last few years.
The difference is that here, of course, it's the real thing! A surreal experience, particularly since it's a bloody good ring, too, and well worth a diversion to see. Simple, pleasures, eh?
We were well chuffed to see the signpost on the main road. Bonus stones! At the time I was under the impression that it was a bona fide stone circle, and was mildly puzzled by the extra bits off to the side. Not putting two and two together, and unlike the sensible Ms Mofflinson - not reading the plaque, it wasn't for a couple of years that I saw it in a list of Clava cairns and the penny dropped. Given it's proximity to the houses, it makes a lot of sense that the remains of the inner bits were turfed over.
It's a nice set of stones. But in retrospect I'm niggled at by the thought that there may have been a cup marked stone, and it might still be hiding somewhere nearby. I shan't bother to check though, as a negative result would spoil my enjoyment of the possibility. That and the fact that it's miles away.
Despite the fact that this 'stone circle' is within the village of Aviemore, I quite liked its semi-urban location, nestling like a village green ground suicide-grey bungalows at the back of the fire station.
We stopped at Aviemore on the way to feed and water ourselves and were pleasantly surprised to see another stone circle signposted from the road. We followed the signs and found it, in the middle of a housing estate. Not really the ideal setting for such an ancient place but I bet the houses next door are worth a bob or two as a result. It reminded me of King Orrys Grave on the Isle of Man. Again the ultimate sacrilege had been allowed by ignorant planners, allowing development next to the monument.
Visited on 25-04-2002. Signposted off the main route through the town of Aviemore, easy to find.
The surrounding hills are visible, and it's still possible to imagine what it used to look like before the houses and tourists moved in. Yes, it's had an estate built around it, but I imagine it'd be great having this as a neighbour.