Just up the hill from the Kirkton Of Airlie the Barns of Airlie is a fantastic souterrain in superb condition. Everything in the fieldnotes by Martin still applies except that one of the lintils is cracked and in need of support. John Easson, the farmer, informed me that the HS people in Edinburgh had promised some goalpost structure to support the stone two years ago. But no sign yet.
It is important to think of the atmosphere inside this place. There is a strange calmness inside the 19 meter structure, even the leakages seemed to add to the age of the place. SC will be pleased to know the butteries were eaten after climbing back out of the narrow entrance.
On reaching the bottom of the hill I met up with John Easson and he informed me about a cup marked rock and several querns that had been ploughed up. His father was also there, he had souterrains and standing stones sprouting everywhere. He was right, of course, and let me know about another fantastic souterrain plus several sites I hadn't heard about.
Barns of Airlie Souterrain
Visited twice in Oct 92 and May 94.
This has got to be my fav souterrain (or fogou if yer Cornish!) that I have visited so far- I think cos it's 'wild'- i.e.- it hasn't been restored in any way- no plexiglass roof or nice safe ladders or doorway in. This is another one of these sites that I read about in "Scotland Before History" by Stuart Piggott long before I actually visited the place. The farmer has been totally fine about me tramping around his fields to go see this- be prepared though- in wet weather the side of the field you have to walk through to get to the souterrain can be real muddy and wet. At the end of the second field just to the west of Barns of Airlie farm there is a dry stane dyke, follow this along until you see a black hole in the field then drop down into this! It's not the biggest of entrances! Along with my souterrain/cairn exploration stuff (powerful torch, candle lanterns, waterproof matches) I've also found it useful to take my caving helmet- I've smacked my napper off too many roof lintels! The passage is really wide- almost two metres in places and it's apparently 24 metres long. There are a couple of cup markings on one of the roof lintels and what looks like some sort of snake pattern too. The thing that always gets me about this site is the temperature inside- I mean it's cold, but in a strange way it's really comforting- I could easily spend many hours in here in quiet meditation.
Follow the A93 north of Perth to Blairgowrie. Through the town, crossing the River Ericht and take the A926 towards Alyth. Past Alyth til you reach Airlie-there's a road up to the left just past the school towards Kirkton of Airlie. Barns of Airlie is just after here on the left- ask permission (and directions to the site) at the farm.
After walking back up from the souterrain John Easson showed me a cup marked stone and 5 querns.
The cup marked rock has 2 cups about 2" wide and deep plus 3 smaller cups on one side. On the other side there is one cup also "2 wide and deep. Sadly this stone/slab has been broken and maybe there is an another part lying somewhere.
Also in the collection were 5 querns in various conditions. Several querns can also be seen in Alyth museum.