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Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth

Standing Stone / Menhir

<b>Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth</b>Posted by nickbrandImage © nickbrand
Also known as:
  • Clach-Mac-Mese

Nearest Town:Dornoch (30km SSW)
OS Ref (GB):   NC9415 / Sheet: 17
Latitude:58° 6' 41.03" N
Longitude:   3° 47' 57.07" W

Added by hamish

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Photographs:<b>Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth</b>Posted by Vybik Jon <b>Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth</b>Posted by Vybik Jon <b>Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth</b>Posted by nickbrand <b>Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth</b>Posted by nickbrand <b>Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth</b>Posted by nickbrand <b>Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth</b>Posted by nickbrand <b>Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth</b>Posted by nickbrand <b>Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth</b>Posted by nickbrand <b>Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth</b>Posted by hamish Artistic / Interpretive:<b>Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth</b>Posted by GLADMAN <b>Clach Mhic Mhios, Glen Loth</b>Posted by GLADMAN

Fieldnotes

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In my opinion this is really something special, a striking monolith up there with such notable beauties as Clach an Trushal, Punchestown... and even the wondrous Maen Llia. It's probably to my detriment that solitary standing stones don't generally 'do it for me', so to speak. It normally takes at least a pair of the things to overcome my usual inertia to pull on the boots to visit. Or, failing that, an overpoweringly massive presence, or superb positioning within the landscape.

At first sight Clach Mhic Mhios didn't appear - to me - to possess any of those criteria. However after viewing the landscape context from the col between Ben Uarie and Beinn Dhorain... and spending three nights wild camping within Glen Loth, during which sea mist came to greet the enigmatic monolith in such a memorable manner as to positively freak me out... I reasoned I might as well go and have a look. Hey, any standing stone than could entice water to come to it, rather than wandering down to the river at night - as they apparently are apt to do - must be pretty classy, right? Either that or incredibly lazy. Albeit in a metaphysical manner.

The distance from roadside to the great monolith is not excessive. However, as the previous gentlemen note, the ground is extremely boggy. Wellingtons would be a good idea, to be fair. Trainers? You're having a laugh! Anyway, as I draw nearer it soon becomes apparent that Clach Mhic Mhios, comprised of red sandstone, is much taller than it appears from the road, some 11ft according to the RCAHMS way back in 1911. No doubt a significant length is embedded within the ground, too, or else the monument would probably have long since toppled over within the soggy morass. The stone is 4ft 11'' across at its widest point and 1ft 3'' thick, facing ESW and WNW (again as noted by RCAHMS). Furthermore two smaller stones were apparently standing nearby just over a century ago. Unfortunately I could not see any trace today. More's the pity.

So, a handsome monument. But what, for me, really places Clach Mhic Mhios in the top rank of its type is its location. Beinn Dhorain, highest peak in the locality, towers to the immediate west while the elegant facade of Ben Uarie soars to the north-west. The view looking east, not to mention those up and down the glen, are also very fine. Indeed it is Ben Uarie, possessing the remains of a large, in my opinion possibly kerbed, summit cairn that might well be the focal point of Glen Loth. The mountain and the standing stone are inextricably linked within local folklore, this relating how the stone was thrown from the summit to its current position "by a giant youth when one month old". The mind boggles, so it does.

Now that's what I call throwing toys out of the pram! Proper Highland style.
GLADMAN Posted by GLADMAN
20th January 2015ce
Edited 22nd January 2015ce

Hamish is right about the distance this one is away from the road, the climb back up, through heather and bog, is pretty sapping. Having said that, it's well worth the effort - this stone is a good 11 feet tall. Strange surface, pitted with dozens of tiny little holes (visible in one of the close-up photographs) and one possible cup mark, which I also photographed. A bright, cold May day when I had a look at this one, with a brisk northerly wind which discouraged lingering to enjoy the view back down the glen. nickbrand Posted by nickbrand
24th May 2004ce

About three miles up the single track road from Lothbeg on the A9 you see on the right a solitary standing stone. It doesn't look far so you decide to stroll over to it. It seems to get further away from you 'till you realise it is a greater distance than you had thought, the nearer you get the taller it grows and when you get there it has reached about 10 ft. The silence is wonderful there is nothing but the breeze and the midgies, I wanted to stay longer but a far off Malt was calling, so I left to find it. hamish Posted by hamish
10th November 2002ce
Edited 15th November 2002ce

Folklore

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Found on the Am Baile website, from the John O'Groats Journal Christmas Edition 1929...

" The legend concerning it is that a month old son (which is English for Mac Mese) carried it there from the top of Ravens Rock, one of the surrounding hills. "

http://www.ambaile.org.uk/en/item/item_page.jsp?item_id=92804

(click to enlarge photo, then look to bottom right corner)
summerlands Posted by summerlands
8th February 2011ce