Galabraes Standing Stones
An evocative pair of stones situated on a ridge in the shadow of Cairnpapple. The westernmost stone is now a stump just over a foot high- destroyed in 1921 apparently. The remaining monolith has the most distinct difference in worked and rough faces I think I've ever seen, and one of the sharpest on angles running the length of the stone. The smooth surface of course faces up the hill towards Cairnpapple, whilst the sharp edge points in an easterly direction. At last, after a day of relentless wind and rain, the huge sky is finally clearing, prompting me to go to Cairnpapple to watch the sun set.
From Edinburgh take the M8 west heading for Glasgow. Come off at junction 3 at Livingston. Head right on the A899 towards Dechmont. A89 towards Bathgate and head off right towards Bangour. Follow this road passing the sign for Cairpapple. Just after the car park for the wildlife reserve is a farm track on the right- go here and ask permission. Back along the road and turn up towards Cairnpapple, the stones are in the field to the left.
It is said that there was a third stone associated with this site standing where the farm of Clinkingstane was subsequently built. Local tradition has it that this was the trysting place of a young heiress and her lover who had a 'lang pedigree' but little in the way of wordly goods.
After failing to have the suitor transported to the colonies the girls father had an armed band slay him. After a desperate fight the ruffians fled as the heiress came upon them. Finding her lover murdered she is said to have died at his side of a broken heart.
A poem attributed to George E.S. Shanks of Whitburn, West Lothian commemorates the event and stone as follows:
One long embrace, one concious kiss,
And both our souls had fled,
And there beneath the Clinkin' Stane,
Two lovers we lay dead.
Source: West Lothian District Council (198?), The Bathgate Hills, Robert MacLehose & Co. Ltd., Scotland
The word 'Clink' in Scots can mean either of the following, some of which may be appropriate:
money, telltale, beat, snatch, compose, flinty rock
The geology of the area supports sedimentary rocks that could be construed as 'flinty'.
In a green meadow
not far from a smoky coal-town
stand ancient stones
that do not assume,
but cast their peace
to the earth below in a rain of yellow pansies
and call us to them with their inevitability,
'Friend, those who put us here
Knew you would come.'