Despite the proximity to the house.... and the chunks of tarmacadum dumped within the centre of the ring (which I duly remove to a more fitting location).... I found this damaged stone circle to more than live up to the promise suggested by the fruits of previous members' visits. Sure, the glorious evening light had a significant bearing upon the vibe here. But it is the sheer beauty of the main trio of surviving uprights which had me powerless to resist, left with no choice but to submit to the aura they duly create upon this hillside.
A couple of other orthostats still retain their dignity and remain in situ to further complement the skyline, but, to be honest, there is more than enough at Colmeallie for this traveller. Yeah, a jumble of fallen stone hints at a beautiful monument of yore. However the trashed remnant is quite something, too. The rapidly sinking sun - the true star (ha!) of the proceedings - interacts with the still erect naked stone to exquisite effect, throwing shadows across the landscape to create a parallel 'circle of darkness' to complement its more, er, substantial counterpart. Or template, if you like.
As I watch, the main trio's alter egos seem to point ever more emphatically down the ascent track. If I didn't know better, my educated (well, sort of) 21st century mind might get the impression they wanted me out of the way... you know, so the stones could indulge in whatever standing stones are supposed to get up to when no one's around at night? Thirsty lads? I take the hint and am duly on my way.....
Incidentally I can confirm thelonious's access notes. Not a problem.
28/01/2012 - Parked at NO 5666 7783. Space for a couple of cars at entrance to drive. No access problems. Short walk up drive to circle. Stones a bit jumbled but I liked the 3 big ones that were standing together. Nice views.
Update re access: the new owners (non-local) who moved in a couple of years ago have now put up signs down the road stating "No unauthorised vehicles beyond this point", which I'm not sure is strictly kosher. Certainly access on foot is still covered under the Right to Roam legislation. I'm not recommending anyone breaking the law but these clowns are going to have to learn that the days of colonialism are over - and that the people of Scotland (and elsewhere) have the right to access sites which have been visited from time immemorial. Some local action is planned on this, stay tuned.
This recumbent stone circle is well away from the rest of the pack but is certainly worth a visit.
The E flanker is still standing but its neighbour and the recumbent have fallen. Like many of the southern RSCs, the recumbent and flankers are joined to the ring cairn rather than the stone circle which sits on a wider radius. Two stones from the circle are still standing.
This site can be added to the list of stone circles which can be visited by the less abled. The access from the parking area is clear and, on this visit, the grass round the circle had been cut to allow closer access. Nice.
From the A90 just north of Brechin take the B966 through Edzell, amile or so past the town there is a road marked "Glenesk - Tarfside" heading north (left side of the road). Take this and follow the road for several miles (be warned, it's pretty narrow so watch for oncoming traffic!). As the glen opens out you'll see a sign for Colmeallie, park where convenient at the foot here, so as not to block the entrance, and walk up to the circle, which is to the left of the track. The man who lives at the cottage here is helpful and there's no problem viewing the circle.
The circle itself is pretty disrupted. Only five stones remain upright, though a drawing I've seen from the 1950's showed 6 upright at that time. It sits on a mound, and on investigation appears to have been two concentric circles at one time. Many stones are now recumbent, and others have been utilised in nearby dykes... It's in a pretty stunning location though, and worth a look. 'Dowsing', for those of the ley line persuasion, shows that there is a pretty strong 'focus' near the centre of the circle - this was demonstrated to me by the resident of the cottage, who had been shown how to do it by a previous visitor to the site!
.. the most tangible prehistoric remains in the district are the "Stannin' Stanes," or, as they are more frequently termed, the Druidical circles of Colmeallie.
[..] Colmeallie seems a corruption of the Gaelic Kilmeallie, which means "the kirk or cell on a small eminence," an idea which is corroborated by "the kirk shank," "the kirk hill," and "the kirk burn" - names which the hill on the north, and the site of the stones, and the neighbouring rivulet still bear;
[.. there are] from fifteen to twenty stones.. and with the exception of three, all are prostrated or mutilated.. many old people remember them being more entire than they are now; but the late tenant was one of too many who saw no use in going a little distance for building materials when he could get them at his door, however revered or valuable; and, as his Gothicism was either unknown to, or unheeded by his landlord, one stone after another disappeared in whole, or was blown to pieces, as circumstances required.
'The history and traditions of the land of the Lindsays' by Andrew Jervise (1853) - p87.