Alas! Poor Auchnaha may well have been 'christianised' for our sins, or whatever, but the pious act of vandalism didn't exactly do it any favours in the preservation stakes, did it? Survive for millennia upon your hilltop and then have a great big ruddy tree fall on you once you've been suitably 'blessed'. OK, I may well be compressing the time-frame somewhat, but it's a valid point, is it not?
This is another of Scotland's obscure sites, as Greywether and Postie make clear (was it really so recent Postie?), very much hidden away in a boggy forestry clearing above the quiet - very quiet - eastern flank of Loch Fyne. The B8000 wiggles and weaves along said coastline to allow the motorist to get within striking distance of the monument, but upon parking near Auchnaha House one gets a distinct feeling of being an unwelcome guest. Private Estate signs abound, the hillside barred by a seriously tall wire fence. However further investigation reveals this to end before the forest line to my right, leaving a corridor of forestry devastation to overcome for anyone thinking of coming this way.
As it happens, I do, but all the clambering and whatnot results in me initially missing sight of the little standing stone guiding visitors to the clearing. However I backtrack and there it is... at first appearing simply to be a jumble of overgrown stones.... with a great big ruddy christmas tree on top! However orientate yourself and have a wander and a large inner and outer chamber (with slipped capstone), together with numerous orthostats from what must have once been an impressive facade materialise from the chaos. Moss and lichen are having a field day, as are the midges in the damp, humid atmosphere.... cue the usual improvised head gear, so no 'scale' shots in order to preserve what may still serve me as a reputation. Baldrick would've been proud... perhaps I could swop it for a visit from Time Team? A much more worthy cause than another bleedin' R*man villa. Yawn.
Despite the state of the site, the sense of isolation here, together with the substantial remains give Auchnaha a true 'I'm glad I came' feel. Hang in there girl, hang in there.
Cup and ring marked rocks can be very difficult to find, they're too small and all too easily concealed, I'm on a much better footing with stone circles and burial chambers, so here we go off into the dark wood again.
Like my burial chamber guru guide Greywether I parked just south of Auchnaha house and started up the hillside with forest to my right and recently felled mayhem to my left. As I climbed higher I came to a long tree free corridor in the forest with the power lines going along it, from here I could see what looked like a small standing stone, upon closer inspection it seemed to be that very thing, close by a fallen tree hid the entrance into a clearing, is it behind the fallen tree? I skirted around and under the obstacle only to find a site as horrific as someone like me could find, more trees had fallen onto the burial chamber.
Three tall conifers had fallen on to the stones themselves "oh dear god no" I said to no-one.
I couldnt tell if there were more stones under the trees than still free and open, after looking at Greywethers pictures I think it was lucky, the capstone is unmoved as are the facade stones, I dont even know how to make sense of what i can see, I cant find the inscribed cross stone, the whole place is a mess, granted the burial chamber wasnt exactly intact before the forest attacked it, a sad place, I hope the respective authorities know of and are about to do something about it rather than the onus being completely upon myself to help this Scottish war cry, let me hear you shout it AUCHNAHAAAAAAA !!!
Great site too. Fully developed Clyde cairn with well defined crescentic facade, one slipped capstone and truly megalithic chamber.
One facade stone has been "sanctified" with a Christian cross.
More details with the photo captions.
The bad news is that it's in a clearing in a forest with no defined path in. Why do they do that? One fewer row of trees to create an access would hardly be missed surely.
Park at the forest road just S of Auchnaha cottage. Cross the road and head straight into the forest - it's not too dense here. Shortly, there is a forest ride with telegraph poles. Turn right up the hill. The site is in the clearing to the left at the top of the hill.
I parked in the entrance to Lindsaig farm, and jumped the gate opposite, over the field down and up a deep wide stream gully and you can see the stone lurking behind the field wall .
As I approached the gate to get the other side of the wall I scared a deer and watched keenly as it bounded away turning to see if I was following. The stone is very Maen Llia like as in diamond shaped and about 8ft tall two barrows can be seen just 50 yds away to the N.W and N.E. A good looking stone with trees half obscuring the view of the Loch.