Now I read some time ago that Mid Gleniron possessed an excavated long cairn or two... so while I'm (finally) in the area I decide to go take a look. As you do. Passing Glenluce Abbey - worth a look if you're into such things, I guess - I arrive at the entrance to the Mid Gleniron farm access track to find that, if I wish to proceed further, it will have to be on foot. Fair enough, since the splayed access allows sufficient room to park the old Rover 45.
So, in the searing heat of this Galloway morning (!!), off I go, prematurely freaking out at the large long cairns which soon materialise in the field to my left.... before realising they are, in fact, clearance cairns (this being later confirmed first hand by the farmer). However the 'real thing' is not long forthcoming, an open gate beckoning the traveller into a field of sopping wet grass, said traveller immediately wishing he'd elected to wear the Gortex lined boots... muppet. Incidentally there's also one of those 'wooden slat' stiles in the field wall a little further on should the gate be closed.
I arrive first at Mid Gleniron II, a substantial long cairn, unfortunately lacking any sign of chambers and sporting a rather silly cairn - clearance, as opposed to 'walker's', as far as I can tell. Caffeine calls, and as I rest up with the coffee, the farmer passes by. I take the opportunity to go and have a chat and ask for permission to visit the striking round cairn across the way. He's only too happy to oblige - if I can handle the cattle - and we discuss many issues... bizarrely, it transpires that the man 'in the chair' at this farm is a chap named... Robert Gladstone... hell, there aren't many of us around, but we seem to have a 'thing' about prehistoric cairns.
Moving on to Mid Gleniron I, it's immediately clear that this is a far superior monument, the long cairn retaining some orthostats of a facade and three chambers:- one (without capstone) at the facade end; another (with capstone) set behind this; and, to its right (looking from the facade, that is), a capstone-less lateral chamber. Good, nay great, stuff and a fine place to hang out in the sunshine, for the surrounding countryside is verdant in the extreme. I even notice a few 'cupmark-like' circular depressions in the chambers, although, being ignorant of the geological properties of the stone, these are most probably natural in origin. The one picture I manage to get in this respect, in the main chamber, has been posted.
However I've a particular thing for round cairns, so Mid Gleniron's fine example is next on the agenda. Just not yet...
The 1960s excavations at Mid Gleniron provided an early indication of the multi-period nature of chambered tombs.
Mid Gleniron I started as rectangular chamber in a round cairn. This was followed by a second similar burial. These two cairns were then incorporated in a long cairn with a crescentic facade and a third burial added between the first two.
Mid Gleniron II also also started as rectangular chamber in a round cairn which was then later incorporated in a rectangular cairn with a second chamber.
Sited to the approx SW of the great round cairn - and on the opposite side of the farm track to Mid Gleniron II - this is a badly denuded long cairn, which nonetheless retains some orthostats indicative of the existance of previous chambers.
Unable to make a proper study due to the very close attentions of a bovine bovver brigade, this is worth a quick look en route to the large round cairn which overlooks it.
Sited upon rising ground on the opposite side of the farm track to Mid Gleniron long cairns I and II, this is a fine, apparently undisturbed round cairn.
Not sure if access is covered by any local agreement - I forgot to ask - but since the relevant field was teeming with frisky, young cows at the time of my visit, I thought it proper to ask regardless. Referred to as simply a 'cairn' upon the 1:25K OS map (which incidentally shows Mid Gleniron II in an incorrect position) I guess no-one knows whether this great stone pile conceals a chamber, cist, or indeed, anything at all - and thus it's age relative to the long cairns. Having said that, its positioning overlooking, and therefore dominating, the three Neolithic cairns is perhaps indicative of the Bronze Age? Respecting, yet nevertheless assuming 'ownership' over what went before.
Climbing to the summit of the cairn, the panorama of the ritual landscape of Mid Gleniron farm is truly something special. And luckily cows can't climb cairns... so soon lost interest in the intruder.