We walked up the valley and visited all the cairns.
When I was posting the photos, I couldn't remember which cairn was what.
I do remember lying in a cist on the valley floor and thinking that this was the most comfy, warm place in the world, and that I could have stayed there all day.
I sense that it bothers some folk that the alignment is not precise. This non precise alignment suggests that it is not a lunar or solar monument.
It would have been too easy to set these places in a precise straight line in the neolithic and the valley is in pretty much a straightish line anyway.
Maybe the decisions were made to have the line slightly out of kilter, as a compromise, or a deliberate quirk of the precise - cos that is sometimes what does work.
17/12/01 -I was just thinking about the rough SSW-NNE alignment of the cairns, the river, the valley and the Dunaad footprint (Iwas just reading the Dunaad entry from Gyrus).
The geology and subsequently the rivers and lochs of the whole of the Dalriadic Kingdom and indeed the whole of North Western Scotland follows this alignment. The most important journeys would have been in this direction, by foot and boat along the great sea lochs, glens and freshwater lochs. Look at any map of Scotland and it's there. These journeys in peace and war, would have been physical and spiritual journeys at the time they were made, and would have become the stuff of legend and ritual.
Everything would have been in that alignment, such is the almost inpenetrable and fjord like nature of the sides of these great valleys. Even the Gulf Stream, which today brings much of West Scotlands weather (and I assume has for thousands of years) would have roughly followed this alignment.
Most of the storms, thoughts, dreams, fears, plans and total conciousness, would have all been in this direction, here and in much of the North West highlands.
South Cairn: The earliest of all the cairns in this linear cemetry, with a northern entrance to the burial chamber. Is this unusual in cairns, to have a northern entrance? At Callanish, when sat on the Cnoc an Tursa, you look down the N-S aligned southern avenue of stones, and this lines up with the burial cairn in the circke, a standing stone, and the recently discovered burial cairn near Margaret & Ron's house. Margaret speculated about funeral procession going from the circle to the cairn in this north-south line.
I've been fascinated with the mythology of the north ever since becoming interested in myths about the Pole Star. Well, there was no Pole Star in the Bronze Age, but there was obviously still a concept of north - and the direction where the sun never shines from is an obvious place to locate the land of the dead, methinks. As is attested in numerous mythological and magickal systems, where the is a strong correlation between North and Death. Kilmartin Glen seems to be a grand testimony to this belief structure.
As luck would have it I 'had' to pass the Glebe cairn to get back to the B+B - honest!
On my last visit I settled for a view from the museum cafe due to the rain. But, as we all know, that isn't the same as a proper visit. It was getting dark and I didn't have long.
I walked over the top of the cairn - not sure if this is the 'done thing' - but it seemed the natural thing to do. Just me, the sheep and a large pile of grey stones. I crossed the field in the gloom and headed up the hill to the B+B. And back to reality............
For some reason I didn't get to see this fantastic site on my last visit to Kilmartin. Something I intended to put right on this visits.
And it certainly was worth the wait. Wow. What a great place - one of the best of the many excellent sites in Kilmartin Glen.
I heaved the metal hatch open and climbed down into the chamber. The cup marked cist cover is a sight to behold and the intact cist is a joy. This is a place to sit and ponder.
Which I did until my 'phone went with Karen insisting I get to the B+B immediately as the children were playing up (a common theme on this holiday) and she was pulling her hair out.
Time to go - prompt!
This is one of the many 'must see' KIlmartin sites.
The next stop off on my solo walk around the Kilmartin sites. It was bliss to have the whole place to myself and not have the children in tow. I could stop and look and spend as long as I wanted at whatever I wanted.
The sun was getting low in the sky and the shadows were getting longer. I clambered into the cairn and looked around and marvelled and pondered - all in equal measure. This really is a great site to visit.
I noticed on a post near the cairn that this was podcast number 6. I am sure that will mean something to you hip and trendy I.T. people out there! :)