A short distance north-west of the Aberlemno stones along a narrow and steep minor road. The site is signposted off the main road but not along the minor road .
We parked at a field gate and myself and Dafydd set out for the hillfort whilst Karen stayed in the car with the sleeping (thankfully!) Sophie. We crossed the road and climbed through the ‘trap door’ of the deer fence – a first for me.
It was a tricky climb up the very steep and slippery side of the hill but we eventually made it. The weather was beautiful and I was thankful for the cooling breeze. From the top we could see for miles.
The hillfort was quite overgrown with long grass, bushes and several trees. Despite being close to a road (albeit a very minor one) this site has a feel of ‘remoteness’ about it. We walked around the perimeter of the hillfort before making our way back to the car and our waiting companions. It was even more slippery on the way down!
It does require a degree of effort to visit Finavon Hillfort but it is well worth it.
Unlike the (not too distant) paired Caterthun enclosures, the hillfort at Finavon is not sign-posted.... consequently I made a bit of a meal of finding it, even climbing a hill to the east before establishing where it actually was. Perhaps a proper OS map would have been a good idea, then? The effort is worth it, however, since I would cite this as a very fine hillfort indeed.
Not being in the habit of ingesting anything stronger than a few pints of 'Hobgoblin' (not very trendy in some circles, perhaps, but then I do like to keep a clear head to experience things as they truly are) I don't feel qualified to comment upon MatThe Cat's previous notes... except to agree that, in my opinion, Finavon certainly does possess a haunting vibe. As with medieval castles, the visitor needs to remember that, as well as being a home, the encircling ramparts were built for a brutal reason. Yeah, ritual, prestige and 'bling' surely played a part, but there have been far too many discoveries of mass graves at hillforts to confirm that defence was most probably the primary consideration. Finavon is a case in point, the rampart (according to excavations carried out in 1933-4 by Childe) originally being approx 20' thick and 16' high externally. A powerful defence line indeed. Of greater interest, perhaps, is the heavilly vitrified nature of the wall, vitrification being the processes by which timber-laced ramparts were fused to a very hard, glass-like substance through extreme heat - i.e. fire. The key question is, of course, whether this process occurred through storming by hostile forces, or by a deliberate act to render the rampart 'fire proof'? My opinion, for what it's worth, is that the recurrence of this feature in Scotland would suggest the canny locals were on to something. That, or else in their households they called fires 'Oh, oh's....'. Little Angus and his 'accidents', eh?
Finavon remains a powerful enclosure - even factoring in what I think may be some significant internal quarry damage to the west (?) - further protected by a 'barbican-like' outwork to the east. A prominent internal feature is a very large cistern-cum-well. So the water supply was sorted, then. The views are excellent, particularly looking out across the coastal plains to the north, although that towards the Hill of Finavon itself isn't bad, either. Despite - or possibly even enhanced by - the wind, the vibe is great - nay, superb - thanks in no small measure to the absence of any other visitors. No doubt a perceptive visitor to the site will sense an aura combining a feeling of well being and of melancholia. But isn't that to embrace the human experience itself? I believe it is.
To reach Finavon leave the A90 as indicated (the village is signposted), head uphill and park by a wooden 4 beam gate on the right hand side of the road, just beyond a track on the left with double wooden gate. Go through the double wooden gate (past a tree with fine root structure) and head uphill to the right through a gap in the deer fence. Head towards, then past a telecom antenna and keep going...
"Wooded sacred lands", from Fiodh Neimhidh.
In Earth/Cosmic energy terms, this is an immensely powerful site! Infact very probably the jewel of the whole region (and I have got around a few sites). Finavon Hillfort is the site of an old Pictish vitrified fortification which in its day would have also been the `capital' of the area where the ancient regality would have resided exerting political influence over the area. It will not take any sentient person too long before they start to sense the history of this site but beware, this was a military establishment for over 2000 years and consequently many men have fought and died here and indeed women and children executed. I mention all this by way of a warning to 'peace-love-& happiness' tree hugging types. Although finavon hillfort is essentially a hugely positive place, it is also an extremely heavy place. The residual energies remind the sentient modern day sacred sites day-tripper exactly how hardcore and violent this site once was! (enough tradegy can be sensed here to last 1000 lifetimes!)
Phrases that would best describe the nature of the ambience at this site would be; controlled agression; enhanced sensations of personal worth; feelings of belonging (or sometimes not belonging!!); and the fort's exculsive and distinct brand of beauty and value. I have a huge amount of experience of this hill and perhaps it could have been described at one point in time as my site of pilgrimage. But I am not going to bore everyone with a laborious description of all my personal experiences of this hill but I will say that anyone who visits this hill at the right time and spends 2 to 3 hours on it. Will go home absolutely bubbling with feelings of personal worth and strength (a bit like cocaine for the soul). However, visit this place at the WRONG time, then ……. OO-ER! I have often found that early mornings have proved to be 'right times' (especially mid autumn) and dusk can often be the 'wrong time'.
I have associated three deity like energies with this hill:
1) Large Buffalo/Bull type deity: Dispensenser of 'power vision', aggression and personal courage. An undefeated champion!
2) Elephant type ambience: Strange for Scotland but I have experienced an Elephant style ambience fairly consistently. It was autumn of 2002 when this ambience seemed to be consistantly present.
Now these two ambience/energies I believe would not have existed upon Finavon hill had this not been a Pictish centre. i.e. I believe that the presence of these deities is due to the religious practices of the Picts. However, there is a far more eminent and powerful `energy being' that frequents this hill and although the Picts may have harnessed its energy and worshipped it, I get the feeling that this thing is very much independent of any human
spiritual conjuring, namely:
3) Giant Silvery Bear/Yeti type Energy Being!
Posesses Supreme Wisdom over other energy phenomena. Radiates energy which translates into immense high of pure silvery excellence. This energy being's presence can be sensed regularly but the date upon which I experienced its presence at its fullest capacity was on the morning of October 6th 2000. This remains my most valued 'earth-powers' experience and would consider trading in a limb in order to relive the experience again!
Most people reading this will consider it to be deluded madness, but I have grown bored and tired of trying to convince such people of a phenomena that I personally recognise as very tangible and a plain and simple reality of the world in which we live.
(By the way, when I visit these places I am prone to being under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms)