I had visited so many sites on my trip to Galloway, this would be categorically the last. It looked very near the road on the map, I just needed to have an antidote to my experience at Torhousekie Stone Row... my fieldotes for there give the details....somewhere to stand, take a deep breath and reflect. A wind down and quiet finale to my adventures over the preceeding eight days in this sumblime and underappreciated part of this island of ours. Hole Stone and adjacent White Cairn got the short straw. My headlights were on as I drove, I took a wrong turn, then had to stop a couple of times to check the map on the road that should take me there. A farms namesign by the road told me I was close, the geography lined up with the maps contours, then I made out a faint pale grey blob in a field on the left hand side of the road. It had to be White Cairn, Hole Stone had to be nearby. I parked, climbed a little bank by the road, leant over the wall. There it was. I wanted to go to it, take some closeup flash photos as I'd done at Knock and Maize and Terally, but knew I could not. On the horizon there stood a large number of cattle. No. I crossed the road to the other side of the road where the vantage point was better. At least I could take some zoom shots. The hole in the stone was visible despite the poor light, and the stone itself looked redoubtable, and quite large compared to most I'd visited. Three shots without flash, then a rumble. The entire herd of what turned out to be about forty bullocks charged down towards the stone, carried on past it till they reached poor, denuded, nettle surrounded White Cairn, then wheeled round and returned to their starting point. I don't think they'd even seen me, but even if so I'd already decided my quest was impossible and had seen enough to know that this site deserved a visit in good light. There would be another time, if permitted. Enough.....home.
This is a corker but happens to be on the opposite side of the road to the location marked on my map, which is a little confusing. Even OS can make mistakes, eh Julian?!?
The fields surrounding the stone are cairn-central and we counted a fair few before we noticed this stone through a gateway. Had to wade through very muddy fields (it was October though) to get to it but all worth the effort. The cairn in the field opposite is well worth a gander too!
According to a leaflet in Kirkinner Church, quoting 'Old Wigtown' by Jack Hunter, the stone is called the Old Bridal Stone, and couples used to use it to make a marriage contract by joining hands through the hole. The C10th cross in the church was similarly used, which raises the possibility that the hole is a later addition to the stone.
An entry from Ancient Stones, an online database that covers most of the standing stones, stone circles and other stones found in South East Scotland. Each entry includes details, directions, photograph, folklore, parking and field notes on each location.