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'.
Nine Stone Rig, Whiteadder
Nine gorgeous greystones- mostly brilliantly angled, some rounded, one earthfast and one very large recumbent. The recumbent is just over 2 m long by about 1 m wide. The tallest upright to the NW stands at just over 1 m high, whilst a small boulder to the SW is just 25 cm or so high. If anything these stones look to be graded towards the NE as the smaller and more rounded stones are in the SW arc of the circle. The ENE stone appears to have a single cup mark on its uppermost face. High above our heads songbirds are singing- Aed was singing too for a bit, but is getting a bit grumpy- no wonder- stuck in his backpack on this desolate moorland with some old stones when it's meant to be lunchtime! To the south of us run a line of pylons which even from this distance we can still hear the buzzing and crackling in the damp air.
An entry from Ancient Stones, an online database that covers most of the standing stones, stone circles and other stones found in South East Scotland. Each entry includes details, directions, photograph, folklore, parking and field notes on each location.