We stayed the night in a lovely B+B near Mausoleum (SNT site – well worth a look) and once the children had been settled down I had the opportunity of going for a walk before it got too dark. Luckily I was only a short walk from several ‘old stone’ sites so as they say ‘jobs a good ‘un’!
I walked onto the B8035 and headed south.
Gruline standing stone is easily seen in the middle of a field from the roadside.
Access into the field is easy enough over a metal field gate. Although technically there is no public access, given the location and time of day this was never going to be an issue!
The stone is about 2m tall and has a nice backdrop of hills and even a waterfall in the distance.
A bird of prey shrieked overhead which added to the occasion.
Visited 9th August 2004: William and I visited this stone without the others (they opted to stay in the car).
When we visited there was a lot of silage stacked up near the stone tractor in the field and a knackered old tractor (William liked this). The biggest obstacle we faced was mud. The part of the field nearest he gate was awash with it. It took us ages to cover a short distance.
The stone itself is tall and slender, but this I didn't find the site very inspiring. Perhaps I had the wrong head on for it, or perhaps it was the mud, but I didn't feel any great urge to contemplate the place for very long.
There appears to be another standing stone at Gruline, at NM543397, in amongst some trees. According to the Canmore record it's slightly taller at 2.45m, and tapers in at the top.
It's not 'strictly' to do with the stones (or is it?), but the legend of the Cailleach is connected with the neighbouring loch (she is largely associated with the imposing mountain Schiehallion), as you can see from this excerpt from "A MacLean Souvenir" by J. P. Maclean (1913) - a fiercely copyrighted annotated version of which may be found at http://www.gillean.com/jpmclean/
No district of Scotland was more noted for its witches than Mull. On the shore of Loch Ba lived the famous "Calleach Bheurr" and there closed her career of thousands of years. At intervals of a hundred years, so the legend relates, she immersed herself in the waters of the Loch, which ordeal gave here a further lease on life. But having waited too long for this ordeal, for the cycle had been spun to its limit, and while in the act of seeking this elixir of life, she staggered, reeled and dropped to rise no more.
Another 4 years growth since Postie visited has no doubt made this stone even more difficult to locate / access.
(Well done by the way Postie for finding it!)
I tried to visit but the trees/bushes were impenetrable and it was starting to get dark so I decided to have a look at the nearby Cairns instead whilst there was still some light left.
‘This impressive standing stone is situated within thick scrub and trees on the West side of the road from Salen to Kinloch. Now leaning to the ESE, it is aligned NNE and SSW at its base, which measures 1.2m by 0.4m: the stone stands to a height of 2.45m and tapers towards a pointed top’.
At the southern end of the field immediately south of the Gruline Standing Stone.
The light was starting to fade and as I crossed the field towards the Cairn I was delighted to see two deer near the Cairn. One next to its base and the other half way up its side. They were startled by my presence and ran off – wonderful!
The Cairn looks huge as you approach – about 8m high. But this is due to the natural mound it stands on and on its opposite side it is ‘only’ about 2m high.
The Cairn has trees all-around its base and is covered with tree stumps.
The top of the Cairn is capped with ferns. There are lots of stones sticking out of the surface.
On the walk back to the B+B I spotted another 5 deer in a field before they ran off into the trees. What a great way to end the day!
‘A prominent knoll known as Carn Ban is surmounted by a grass-covered cairn measuring about 26m in diameter and 2.2m in height. Its original shape and size has been mutilated by robbing, clearance and fallen trees’.
The other Cairn is a little distance to the east which Canmore has named the Gruline Cairn. It is located in trees and as it was now pretty much dark I didn’t try to investigate.
‘This cairn is situated 400m west of Gruline House. Measuring about 18m in diameter and 1m in height it has been severely robbed of stone and is overgrown by shrubs’.
There is a convenient placed lay-by right where the roads closest to the cairns, we left the car, jumped a fence, we hid amongst the trees untill a large mound hid us from the nearby farm no doubt of the same name, and jumped the other fence and headed for our quarry, well cairn.
The smaller of the two was easy to find as it straddled the end of wooded area and open field, it was wholly in the trees but probably due to stone robbing as there is a really indecent scoop out of the middle so that only a crescent moon shape cairn is left.
The other cairn is two metres high and in much better condition so I wondered how I'd missed it, is it behind the large mound ? to make sure we had the best possible chance of being able to see it we climbed the large mound, but before we'd got there the penny dropped and ..."oh it is the large mound".
There has been some cairn slippage and it's virtually covered the quite big natural mound that its builders chose for this cairn, mound, mound, go on say it slowly mooouuunnd.
Geographically only a couple hundred yards away from the easily found sitting duck of Gruline, but an adventurous expedition is what my visit turned into.
The os map said the stone stood in a clearing, a long rectangle of grasses within a large wooded area, unfortunately the abomination that is Rhodadendron had got in there and most of the free land is now impenatrable. Eric and me got turned round several times finding ourselves back in the same place not twice but three times, same idyllic bend in the river, same fallen tree. On one of our ways round a herd of Red deer passed us by on their way somewhere, just about ready to give up and try to find the road (where ever that might be), when my son Eric who was beginning to know his way round and was about twenty feet ahead suddenly shouted there it is, and it was.
Leaning in god knows which direction, but doing its best to hide amongst the 'orrible bushes which are pretty but far from home. About eight or nine feet tall, three feet wide and one foot thick, it would have been nice to sit in it's thrall for considerably longer than we did, but it was a combined visit to the other stone and the two big cairns, wife and daughter were wating at the car with two hot dogs (K9) and it seemed like we'd been gone for ages.