At Latheron on the A99 take the A9 north. The standing stones are on the rise immediately on your right. One of the stones can be seen from the road when heading towards Latheron.
Time was against us (as ever) and parking on the busy A9 is far from easy although we managed to pull over at a field gate. From here the standing stones can’t be seen so I walked up the field to the higher ground on my right.
As I reached the higher ground the first stone came into view – it is massive!
I assume it was used as some sort of marker for seafarers? It is certainly prominent!
Given the size of both stones I was surprised that I couldn’t see the second stone.
I didn’t have time to get ‘close up and personal’ with the stone I could see so perhaps the second stone is visible from the first? Or perhaps I was looking the wrong way?
Either way, this is a place I would like to re-visit when I have more time. The standing stone I saw is huge and well worth stopping off to see.
I think the following strange story probably relates to the chambered cairn here?
The Druid of Ach a' bheannaich (i.e. The Druid of the Mound of Blessing or Salutation).
At a short distance to the east of the "Druidical" stones at Acha'bheannaich, parish of Latheron, Caithness, there is a cairn overgrown with heather. In the middle of this cairn there is a small enclosure that closely resembles one of the "Druidical" altars that one may see in various parts of the Highlands. I visited this "Druidical" fane in the winter of 1874. The following legend associated with this tumulus was related to me by one of the Caithness ministers, an intimate friend, now deceased:
"When the principal Druid of that district had become so old and infirm that he could no longer perform the functions of his office, he was burnt alive on this altar as a sacrifice. While he was being offered, the young Druid who had been appointed his successor in office kept going round in the altar-smoke - ex fumo dare lucem-- that he might catch the spirit of his predecessor as it took its flight."
Folklore from the Hebrides. III
Folklore, Vol. 9, No. 1. (Mar., 1898), pp. 84-93.
It's hard to know how to interpret it really. Humour? Pro-Christian propaganda? Real belief? Who knows.
Here there are "two turf-covered cairns some 13.0m in diameter and 1.0m high, very badly mutilated and robbed." In the centre of one cairn you can see three upright slabs, probably the remains of a chamber - maybe the other cairn had/has one too. (RCAHMS record).
The RCAHMS record says "A standing stone, rectangular in section and measuring 2ft by 1ft 2ins and 5ft 8ins high, facing NNW-SSE, stands in the corner of an enclosed wood some 200 yds ENE of the gamekeeper's house at Forse."
The Official Visitor in the 1960s wasn't too impressed and said they thought it was nothing more than a cattle-rubbing stone. However, the 1980s Visitor thought it had a good chance of being prehistoric.
According to the RCAHMS record, there are two stones here:
"A massive standing stone 12ft 8ins in height, quadrangular in section, with a circumference at base of over 12ft, and of 14ft at a height of 7ft; its upper end is pointed. The base appears to be bedded in rock which outcrops nearby."
"A large upright stone block which has been badly split from top to bottom. Facing NNW-SSE, it is almost 3ft thick and 4ft 10ins across its widest face."