For the second consecutive day the rain came down, down, down. I was still a bit damp from yesterday's exploring. First effort to find this circle failed but I was determined to give it one more go before it was time to leave this lovely (from the birts I could see through the rain and mist) island.
Look out for the sign on the opposite side of the road for Cnod Na Dial forestry. You can easily park opposite this sign in a large graveled area. From this parking area a track goes off into the trees and a wooden sign offers you a couple of different route options. Ignore all of these - they don't go to the circle.
This is what you need to do: Either-
Walk back to the road, turn right and walk about 50m and crash your way through the chest high ferns and undergrowth and hope you can see the tops of the stones -or-
From the parking area crash your way through the head high ferns and undergrowth aiming for an angle between the parking space and the road and hope you can see the tops of the stones.
How can a stone circle so close to the road be so difficult to find? It is not visible from either the road or the parking are even though it is only a matter of yards away.
On the way to the circle I went via the parking are - big mistake. The ferns were mega high (I noticed several large prostrate stones covered in moss. For a moment I thought the circle had been destroyed!) and the way was hard going. As the ground dropped down I walked into a bog and sank shin deep in blackish water. This whole area was pretty much under water. Too late now. I carried on. Just as I was on the verge of giving up I spotted the top of a large boulder-type stone - success!
The circle is on a low ridge so at least it was out of the water - other than the torrential rain falling. The circle is totally grown over and clearly has not been visited or looked after in a very long time. I counted 6 stones of various sizes, all boulder-type stones. The mist and rain certainly increased the atmosphere but tide and ferry time tables wait for no man (or woman for that matter).
There was no way I was going back the way I came so I headed straight for the road (which you can't see due to the undergrowth and trees). I battled my way through and although very wet underfoot was nowhere near as bad as the way I had come. By the time I got back to the car I did a little dance and splashed about in the puddles and rain (much to the amusement of the children and the disbelief of Karen) I couldn't be any wetter.
Whilst waiting for the ferry I had the good fortune to watch two otters on the beach. One in the water and the other running around the rocks. The ignored me. Apparently there are loads of otters on Arran (as well as red squirrels - which I didn't see) and they are a common sight all around the island.
Arran is a lovely place to visit and my stay was all too short. Most of the sites I visited were short distances from the road but most had a sense of wilderness about them. Pretty much left to look after themselves. Normally this wouldn't be such a bad thing but given the appalling weather it made most visits very wet and muddy.
I will definitely visit Arran again. There is so much to see, I barely scratched the surface. Hopefully the next time I come I may see the sun - and a red squirrel (apparently they don't like the rain either!)
Well, three years on there's no improvement; this struck me as one of the loneliest circles I've visited despite being only a few yards from the main road. I also managed to miss it at first (following my usual pattern) but with careful scrutiny was able to make out a path that was just trodden enough to guide me through the undergrowth as well as indicating that it does receive some visits. I was surprised to find it so overgrown when on the ferry coming over there was a cartoon-type map of the island with a symbol of three monoliths marking its spot hence I expected a sign and a cleared location. I'm not saying I wanted it surrounded by a neat little fence a la Torrylin or Auchgallon but surely it wouldn't take much effort for the local authority or Scotish Heritage or whoever to cut back the bracken on a regular basis so we could see what's left of the circle as its makers intended. I'm glad I went but left feeling a little sorry for it.
Blimey - They've let this place go a bit! 14 October 2010
This place has a few names. Lamlash Road Circle on Canmore. Blairmore Circle locally. Lamlash Stone Circle on TMA. They were the first stones I ever visited on Arran over thirty years ago. Regardless of what the circle is called, this group of stones occupies a superb location, albeit rendered rather impotent, being hemmed in by hundreds of acres of Sitka Spruce on both sides of the road (thoughh to be fair, some of the forestry is at last being cleared). As I approached the outlier, I set up a Barn Owl which had been using the stone as a perch to vomit up its pellets. It lifted off silently and drifted into the trees towards Clauchlands leaving its last pellet on the outlier, steaming slightly in the cold of the morning.
The four surviving stones are perched on a slight knoll, at the highest point on the road between Lamlash and Brodick. The stones were barely poking their heads up out of the mass of heather and bracken. The site used to be regularly cleared of the heather and bracken though this hasn't happened for a for a while!. A few years back a fire caused some cracking and damage to the outlier. A rock cut cist was found in the centre of the three main stones but isn't exposed nowadays. There are other large stones half hidden under the peat on and around the mound. There is little to be seen or made sense of here now. This site should be an almighty place. It should look North to Goatfell, Cir Mhor and the jagged ridges of North Arran. Instead it is hemmed in by scrubby Birch, Willow and the massive Spruce plantations of the 1930's and 1940's. To the South, Holy Island, Blairmore Standing Stones and the robbed out Dunan Beag and Dunan Mor cairns are now invisible, swamped by forestry.
Through the forestry track another mile to the coast leads you to the hillfort at Clauchlands (not listed on TMA). The forest trek takes you through some of the best Pitchstone areas on Arran and you can grab yourself a little souvenir pebble of the shiny glassy stone our ancestors loved so much. A beautiful circular walk takes you back to Brodick by the very best pitchstone outcrops at Corriegills.
I believe that one day these stones at Lamlash Road could be sympathetically restored to something rather special. The site's original majesty was in its location. With the forestry removal currently underway on this magical island there is a real opportunity to re-instate the views and carefully excavate the peaty knoll and its immediate surroundings for the surviving stones fallen comrades. But I wont hold my breath.
Yes, it is right by the road and we did know this, but.....we still seemed to manage to walk straight past it. Sometimes I think we should concentrate a wee bit more.
We parked at the car park and set off up the left hand track but missed the little footpath to the circle and so had to double-back on ourselves. By the time we saw it, we were so pleased that we trotted straight into a very boggy bit and sank up to our calves. Take care.
This is a strange place; overgrown and boggy and yet with the traffic whizzing by it feels very odd. We had been to Giant's Graves and East Bennan earlier and this felt like a bit of a letdown after such amazing sites.
Clearly visible on the east side of the A841 and marked merely 'stones' on the OS map, this circle's five metres across, with an outlier stone about 20 metres south-east on an east-west axis.
Three grey stones about five foot high and stout, with a smaller fallen one and several tiny stones lying around, seemingly recent additions.
Goat Fell glowers down from the north and although we're on a slightly raised bit of land here we're still sunk just below sight of the immense bulk of Holy Island.
Directions: 100m south of the circle there's a dirt road turn-off. Park here. From this point there's a footpath up to Donan Beag and Donan Mor chambered cairns, a kilometre south-east of here in the woods.