20/03/2011 - Good parking at east side of bridge over Whiteadder Resr (NT 64576421). We followed track north then east to Gamelshiel Castle. Bit of a pull up from here to get to the cairn on summit of Spartleton Hill. View's changed a bit since Martin's fieldnotes, big wind farm to north now.
A glance at the map reveals something perhaps not readilly apparent about this interesting stone circle; namely that, to all intents and purposes, it is very nearly set upon the summit of an island.
Come again? Well, with Whiteadder Water to the east, Hazelly Burn to the north, Kingside Burn blocking an approach from the south and, together with the course of South Grain, leaving a relatively small gap to south west, I'd suggest a pretty strong case can be put forward for water having had a decisive impact upon the siting of this monument. The aforementioned Kingside Burn ensures that travellers making their way to the site from the B6355 will need to donne waterproof boots to maintain a degree of decorum. It is not the most inspiring of approaches, power pylons leading the eye towards a large group of wind turbines crowning the horizon. Head uphill towards the left hand half dozen of these and finding the 'circle shouldn't be an issue.
Unusually for these 'numerically named' sites, I actually count nine stones upon this desolately wild hilltop. That'll be right, then. My schooling wasn't entirely wasted (although I do happen to have enough fingers and thumbs, it has to be said). The orthostats are generally large and of varied profile, although now arranged in a far from classic circle... I guess 'ragged' would be a fair description? Dishevelled, even. Nevertheless Nine Stone Rig possesses a great vibe and is just the place to come and hang out on the penultimate day of a long tour. Sure, the all too obvious symbols of literal modern power do affect your perception of the landscape, but the abstract 'power' of this ancient monument continues to assert a hold upon the psyche of those individuals susceptible to such things. I'm a sucker, I guess.
Good for you, Nine Stone Rig! And for us who still want to 'feel'.