Although it's only 40 minutes away, I'd put off a visit to this site for some time. After all, if you're going to look at a relatively rare cup and nine rings (amongst other things), you want the conditions to be just right.
The weather looked good for the day so now was the time to go for it. Low sun and virtually cloud-free. Excellent.
The visit got off to a good start. I met the farm owner just as she was leaving. Yes I could wander around and it was ok to park up at the farm.
There are 10 main areas of rock art here. I've listed them under Miscellaneous. Many of the references are around 20 years old so we can expect vegetation and weathering to have taken its toll.
Last year , I saw these cup and ring marks mentioned in the new landranger map (it wasn't there in any older maps I had ever seen).
I became obsessed (see miscellaneous) and visited the site in October 2000, starting my walk from the village of Plean.
There are a few rocky outcrops in the area, some of which are heavily overgrown with gorse, and an old quarry.
I found some very weathered cup markings and a cup and ring mark on the edge of one of the outcrops and another group of markings in the middle of the same outcrop. It was getting dark and I walked to the village of Cowie and got the bus home. I hadn't eaten all day and I was exhausted
This summer I avoided the site because of the foot and mouth threat.
I intend to go back to this place to take photos and spend more time looking about.
This is an attempt to tie up all the references to the Castleton sites.
It includes the Castleton series number where one exists. These were used by R W B Morris in The Prehistoric Rock Art of Southern Scotland [PRASS]. They also appear as alternative names in Canmore but, where they are not consistent with PRASS, I've used the PRASS number to help cross-referencing that publication. Castleton 7 is not in PRASS but it is referred to by this name in Canmore.
Morris also used a county or regional numbering series (like that used for chambered cairns). This does not seem to have caught on but is included here also, where appropriate. CEN = Central region.
The 10 figure grid references are from my GPS in the cases where I have found the site. The other references are from Canmore.
For each site, I have included the "best" motif; full details are in Canmore.
Sites NW of the farmhouse
Castleton 4 [CEN 4]; NS88NE 11; NS 8552 8816; cup and four rings.
Castleton 5 [CEN 5]; NS88NE 14; NS 8554 8811; cup and five rings. Castleton 7; NS88NE 30; NS 85523 88185 (for 7a); cup and nine rings.
Sites NE of the farmhouse
Castleton 1 [CEN 1]; NS88NE 3 & 52; NS 8587 8840 & NS 8589 8839; cup and five rings. Castleton 2 [CEN 2]; NS88NE 9 & 53; NS 85818 88303; cup and one ring.
Castleton 6 [CEN 6]; NS88NE 12; NS 8598 8825; cup and one ring.
Sites S and SE of the farmhouse Castleton 3 [CEN 3]; NS88NE 10; NS 85710 87969; cup and five rings.
NS88NE 15 & 31; NS 857 878; cup and three rings.
NS88NE 25; NS 8615 8771; cup and one ring.
NS88NE 26; NS 8602 8771; cup and four rings.
3 years ago (in 1998) I lived 2.5 miles NW of this site in Fallin village.
At this time, I had a vivid dream that I was on a search for something, walking along a long straight farm track towards some rocky hillocks and a quarry. In this dream, I knew that this place was somewhere in between Stirling and Falkirk in an area of land which I hadn't been to before, and that I was walking away from my home roughly south bound.
In another dream, which I had at around the same time, I flew (or visually travelled) from my home, across the flat carselands towards Airth village, and then through a wood, where there seemed to be something special. It didn't matter that I couldn't see it - it felt youthful-alive-a real treasure. I woke up and I knew where this was, roughly, although I hadn't been there before.
I had these dreams at a time when I was becoming more aware of my, and our ancient pasts.
The first time I knew of the cup and ring markings at Castleton, was last year, when I noticed cup and ring markings were indicated on the new edition of the landranger OS map. (These markings were never mentioned on any of the previous editions of the map and I was a bit spooked).
I searched on the internet and found mention of the markings at the RCAHMS website and became a bit obsessed.
I eventually visited Castleton last October (2000), and the shape / form of the rocks, the old quarry, the long straight farmtrack SE of Cowie and the woods just north of Hillhead farm nearby, all felt like they were in the right places in relation to the dreams.
To get to the site, I walked from the village of Plean to Carnock House and through the woods at Hillhead farm. Going home, I walked along a straight farmtrack to Cowie. I'd never been to this whole area before.
The next time I go, I intend to walk from Cowie along the straight track going south east from the village - as this seems to be the way I walked in the first dream.
Tuesday 30/10/01-I happened to be in the nearby town of Airth on business when I happened to notice this site (and Darnbogue) on the OS map. Aha- cunning plan to combine work and play and as I finished early, set of in eager anticipation of rock art. However, on getting to the farm I found the place deserted, as were all the other farms in the vicinity! I had a look about and could see the rock outcrops where the magickal markings were, but there were also cattle and as I noticed some FMD signs on the way here thought I had better leave this one for another day... (plus is was pishing down and blowing a gale and freezing cold!)