21/02/2015 - Nice walk from Haymarket station on Saturday to Corstorphine Hill. We took the track off Corstorphine Road just east of the Zoo. Not every day you pass a field of Zebras on the way to look at some cup marked rocks. It's a fine hill.
Finally found the cup marks described here, after walking over them, round them and through them for about an hour ;)
It would appear that, without digging up too much of the surrounding vegitation, there are 17 cup marks visible on the bedrock.
The main group of 11 (?) is described above, and the snow makes them a lot more visible than they were when we went up. About 3m uphill from this main group there are another 4 which 'seem' to be the start of another circle, one in the centre and 3 round it.
About the same distance downhill there is at least one other mark, possibly three but as two were poorly defined they could be natural.
The final one is to the south of the main group, again about 3m.
Don't believe I used to play up here all the time as a kid and I never had the faintest idea this stuff was here :)
After reading about the other markings on the Ancient Lothian website we find ourselves up here on a Monday afternoon. I’ve given Kat the GPS at the car park and let her follow a route to the waypoint. Turns out the co-ords for the main group of cup markings are a bit off, but I remembered where they were and took 4 sets of readings (with an accuracy of between 4 and 6 metres). As it turns out, the other cup marks are not that difficult to see- I dunno how I didn’t spot them the first time we came up here- guess I was just so chuffed at finding the main group after almost giving up hope.
Immediately to the east and up the hill from the main group are a group of 4 cup marks centred at NT2052874141. A large cup approx 15cm in diameter with the other three 7, 8 and 9 cm in diameter.
Down the slope (northwest) is a single cup (possibly two?) at NT2052374144. This has a diameter of approx 15cm.
To the southeast is another single cup at NT2052374136 with a diameter of approx 11cm.
Corstorphine Hill Cup Marked Rock
It's a glorious Winters morning as me, Aed and H-dog head up Corstorphine Hill for our mornings walk and in search of this cup marked rock. Due to the large boulders and tree roots the path's a bit bumpy for Aed's off-road buggy, but we all manage to get up to the main path along the crest of the Hill. I'm trying to use the OS map and a Corstorphine Hill map to find this site, but there are so many paths heading off through the trees- we head in the general direction of south and hope for the best. The other problem is that there are so many rock outcrops and glacial pavements up here. Thankfully, there are a couple of buildings on the west side of the Hill and working out their position realised that we've actually gone past the site. Using instinct and following H-dog we head back along a lower path and through the gorse bushes a huge stone pavement area opens up before us, covered in snow, ice and frost. We slowly make our way across this and I almost walk straight over the top of the cup marks! The rock they are on has been cleared of frost n snow, and the markings are fairly shallow, but small amounts of snow remain in the depressions picking out a pattern of 10 cup marks almost forming a circle with 8 markings on the diameter and 2 in the middle. The views from here are inspiring indeed and especially on a bright and bitterly cold day such as today. From the Pentlands to the left right round to the hills of Fife in the distance, just able to make them out through the frosty air. These cup marks were only rediscovered in 1991 and I would be very surprised if these are the only sacred markings on this hill- we passed literally hundreds of rock outcrops on the way up here, many of which are almost now covered in vegetation.
[Someone] in visiting Corstorphine for the purpose of inspecting both church and village, obtained this piece of local tradition, believed to relate to the church of 1429.
"Of this (church), in November 1881, an intelligent native assured the writer that it was 'wonderfully ancient, built by the Hottentots, who stood in a row and handed the stones on one to another from Ravelston quarry' - on the adjacent hill of Corstorphine."
Yes this sounds most unlikely, but the author points out that stories of the Picts doing this to build various ancient structures from various hills are quite widespread, and that the curious use of 'Hottentot' implied a 'savage and inferior' ancestor.
I know people have to get their stones from somewhere but when you're building a church maybe it's especially significant. Oh, bear with me please.
From the Archaeological Review v4, 1889-1890, in an article about 'British Dwarfs' p188.
Update! Another four single cups/groups of cups have been found near this main group- check out the Ancient Lothian website for details/pics. Hope to re-visit soon and post pics/co-ords here. My guess is there are many more just waiting to be found...