There are many reasons why certain prehistoric monuments may leave the visitor more 'fullfilled' - for want of a better word - than others. As it happens, I don't subscribe to any formula, as such... massive stones, for example, won't suffice if the siting is wrong. But sometimes multiplex, diverse factors combine, like ingredients in the hands of a master chef, to produce the perfect vibe. For me, my Masterchefs included the people who erected the glorious monoliths upon the northern slopes of Dunruchan Hill.
Why? Startling originality, for one. Truly bonkers. Sure, I've seen finer monoliths.... for example the Lewissian Gneiss of the Calanais 'circles cannot, in my opinion, be bettered for intricacy of grain, the 'stanley knife' Stenness stones, for profile. But each and every stone upon this hillside has clearly been selected to be as 'different' from its neighbour as possible. One is conventionally rounded, one a massive, brutish slab resembling a capstone suspended in perpetuality above it's robbed cist. Another is a completely orgasmic, thrusting phallus of a standing stone [as AngieLake notes] akin to a supercharged, viagra chewin' version of the centre stone at Boscawen-un. Look at the base.... it was meant to stand at this angle. Why? Oh come on! Surely it can only be shouting 'Let's get it on, Mother Earth, right here, right now!' Then there's a classic of flowing lines and pointed summit, achingly evocative, even against a sunlit landscape. The first to be encountered when ascending the hillside is arguably the most traditional in form. Ha! To coax would be visitors into a false 'comfort zone' perhaps? Well, it worked upon me. Oh, there's also a sixth stone standing just across the minor Culloch/Craggan road near Craigneich Farm. Plus a number more further to the east.......
So, how can the complex at Dunruchan be explained in rational terms? No idea. Not a stone row, unless the surveyor had an extremely 'serpentine' ruler! In my experience a grouping of this magnitude and form is unique [I would welcome notification of any parallels]. What's more, the observant motorist heading east along the aforementioned minor road may catch sight of one or two stones, but that is all. It would seem you had to be 'in the know' to join the party.
Parking is not easy, it being just about possible to squeeze a car upon the verge here or there. As it happens the Craigneich farmer drives by in his lorry, followed by wife on quad bike. I waive her down and am invited to park at the end of the south facing farm track, this enclosed by one of the most fragile wooden gates ever. 'You want to visit the standing stones? Great!' I'd therefore suggest having a word is perhaps the best option. Park safely because you will want to spend quite some time amongst the Dunruchan Stones and inconveniencing such people is not an option.
These stones are utterly fantastic. Six stones - plus numerous suspicious-looking lumps and bumps - snake their way up over the moor here. The smallest stone is 5 foot something, but Dunruchan A, the largest, is a whopping 11ft 4in, and totally dominates the skyline.
From each stone, at least one other can be seen.
Dunruchan D and E, the two highest up stones, would appear to be a typical Perthshire pair comprising one pointy slab-like stone and a chunkier, round-topped partner.
I know nothing of this place.
We visited this stunning site 2 years ago, and I've bored people since with my pure enthusiasm since.
I've not seen this place as an entry in any gazzeteer or anything, but it deserves to be mentioned and not for the the usual compact aesthetics and feelings that other places have.
This whole hillside has the feel of one monument - and a powerful one at that! It is a must when visiting Perthshire!
Visit the stone on the green valley floor as a pre cursor and make your way up the hill to the first stone (a powerful thing that belies it's 5 foot presence). Off up to the left and there is a MF of a thing which dominates the valley from all directions. This 12ft monster is surrounded by what looks likes untampered cists.
Sitting in a hollow in the hillside is a vicious stone at a terrible angle and then further south is a 6 footer with nearby untampered cists, marking the end of this special monument.
Every stone is visible from at least on other in the hillside and that seems to be important.
I can't say enough about this whole place and what it did to me, and it was not all love and peace !
Next time I come here, I intent to visit the stones at Dalchirla, just down the valley.