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Fieldnotes by thelonious

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Arisaig House (Cup Marked Stone)

02/07/2016 - I didn't think I'd get time to fit a visit to this stone in during my trip but luckily plans worked out well and on the last afternoon we found ourselves in Arisaig, good to go.

We started from the The Land, Sea and Islands Visitor Centre, a lovely small community run visitor centre in Arisaig. Well worth a look around and it has a nice shop. On display there is the Rhu Stone. Link below for more info. Very interesting.

It's a nice walk of about 4 miles to the stone and back on good tracks. Lovely for a sunny afternoon. The stone isn't hard to find, just off the track at NM 66917 84483. Over 80 cups on it. In the visitor centre there was a notice asking folk to stop putting coins in the cups as it was causing damage. Luckily the cups were empty today. Location is good with fine views of the surrounding hills.

If you have time, make the short walk on to the pebble beach at Camas Ghaoideil, it's a lovely spot for a brew and a sandwich.

Loch Nam Ban Mora (Stone Fort / Dun)

29/06/2016 - Lovely walk today around high lochs and hill tops on Eigg. Follow the same track as the walk up An Sgurr then leave the path just as it turns to climb the ridge and instead start heading north and spend the day exploring the lochs and rocks of this beautiful area. No paths but easy under foot.

Loch Nam Ban Mora is just past An Sgurr. It's lovely and its little stone islet with its dun is well worth a visit to see from the shoreline.

If you have time, walk on to the top of Cora-bheinn (not far). It has one of the best views of the island.

I think Loch Nam Ban Mora means 'The Island of the Big Women'. Interesting folklore about the Loch -

Worth mentioning is a great little book you can pick up in the shop at the Harbour - 'The geology of Eigg'. Nice to have with you as you walk around (especially if you know as little as me about rocks and stuff). It suggests some good walks/routes at the back.

Struidh (Enclosure)

28/06/2016 – This site caught my eye when I was looking for places to visit on Eigg. Location looked great from the map and the Canmore classification of ‘Ritual Enclosure (prehistoric)’ sounded pretty intriguing. So on our first full day on Eigg, off we went to see if we could find it.

Two ways to this one, from the north or from the south - east is the sea and west are the cliffs of Beinn Bhuidhe. We walked in from the north. There is no path this way and at this time of year the bracken is bad. Easier from the south, access to the ground below the cliffs is at Bealach Clith. An OK-ish path heads north for a mile or so but then it’s again like from the north, just a case of bashing through the bracken. As you near the site, the whole place becomes one massive boulder field. You have to really watch your step. Finding the site proved tricky (even with GPS) as it’s in the middle of this boulder field. Some of the boulders are huge!

I didn’t know what to make of the enclosure surrounding the underground chamber really. Again the bracken didn’t help with trying to make out the structure (I’ll put a link to HES, which gives a full description, below and also Canmore which has some nice diagrams and photos)

The entrance to the underground void isn’t too bad but you have to watch your head on the roof. Inside the space is good and it extends a fair way. It’s a bit of a shock after a few hours of walking in the sunshine in an open landscape to suddenly be in darkness in such a small space relative to the outside world. After a while it felt peaceful and we both liked it very much. Lots of limpet shells on the floor near the entrance left by something or someone.

Overall I found the place a mystery and it was wonderful for that. Hard to get to and then find, especially at this time of year but if you are ever on Eigg it’s worth the trip, I’d love to read others' thoughts on the place. Worth the walk just to be in such an amazing landscape for the day.

An Sgurr (Hillfort)

27/06/2016 – Morning ferry from Mallaig for a few days on Eigg. The highest place on the island is the magnificent pitchstone ridge of An Sgurr. As the ferry gets closer to Eigg it's hard not to be totally captured by the hill's ever increasing dominance of the surrounding landscape. The walk from the harbour is pretty straight forward. Just head west and then follow the red dots marking the way on the track leading to the hill. Approaching from the east, the sheer sides of the hill makes access seem a near impossible task but follow the track along the north side and about 500 meters west of the top a small gully allows access to the ridge. It’s then just a case of following the red dots to the top. Nothing too technical but a small word of caution, the three sides of An Sgurr are sheer and it wouldn’t be a great place to be in the wind and rain. I have no head for heights and did find the feeling of exposure a bit hard work. The views from the top are amazing. Rum, Skye and back to the mainland, very good indeed.

There is not much to see of a fort on the top though, just a dry stone wall running north-south near the access gully, that cuts off the eastern end from the rest of the ridge.

It’s possible to make the climb to the top and back to the ferry on a day trip but if you can it’s better to stay over a few days on wonderful Eigg and take the whole place in. The hill is a special one. It's been 10 years since I was last on Eigg so it was great to finally make it back to visit this hill. Fantastic day.

Blawearie Cairn (Kerbed Cairn)

30/04/2016 - It was supposed to be a quick bob up Ros Castle and back on the way to Wooler but this area had other ideas for us. We started from the car park just past Hepburn. Short walk up the road and then a climb up to Ros Castle. The views from here were good. We had just driven down from Aberdeen in the morning and had made better time than I thought we would. A quick look at the map showed a hillfort, cup and ring marked rocks and a cairn to the south. With still plenty of day left, we left Ros Castle to take a look.

It's a nice walk over Hepburn Moor to Blawearie Cairn. The cairn is very good. I can't think of another like it that I have visited before. Great big stones surrounding a ring made of small stones (containing cists) with a small cairn of stones in the middle. The location is good and the whole site has a very peaceful feeling to it. I liked it very much.

We carried on to the excellent cup and ring marked stones and hillfort at Old Bewick.

On the way back we just had to visit this cairn again as the sun was still shinning and the stones did look good. Finally we left to head back to the car via the Hillfort at Hepburn Crags.

What should have been a half hour walk turned into a 10 mile plus day out with hillforts, cup and ring marked rocks and cairns in a wonderful landscape. I love days like this.

Doddington Moor Quarry Site (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

01/05/2016 - In the end I gave up looking for this one and decided to make my way back to the path through the heather. Of course, as soon as I stopped looking the rock appeared at my feet. Sometimes you can try too hard, better just to let fate decide :-)

This was my favourite rock on the hill (which is covered in cup and ring marked stones). The rings are nice and dobby. It's worth the effort and good fun trying to find.

Doddington Stone Circle

01/05/2016 - I'd been looking forward to this one. A quick look at the map showed a hill jam packed with stuff - cup and ring marked rocks, hillforts, settlements and even a stone circle.

We started from Wooler. Walking over Weetwood Moor via the St Cuthbert Way (passing a few cairns on top) then crossing the Weetwood bridge to start the climb up Dod Law. Good paths all the way.

After reading the fieldnotes on here, I was a little worried that there wouldn't be any stones still standing. Seemed like another one had fallen each time someone visited. Pleased to say that the one remaining upright stone is still hanging in there. I would loved to have seen this one complete. It's a lovely little circle and a fine spot.

We left the circle behind to make our way uphill, looking for cup and ring and visiting the forts on top. Fantatsic hill.

Looped back to Wooler via the rock art stones on Weetwood Moor (great site). Good day out.

Garleigh Hill (Cairn(s))

05/05/2016 - Standing inside Lordenshaws hillfort, just looking around at the view, I thought we were done for the day. Then I turned to face Garleigh Hill. The little white trigpoint seem to call out to me and the rocky side of the hill looked just to good to pass up on. Easy walk across and lots of interesting rocks to look at on the short climb up. The cairn is just next to the trigpoint. Large capstone visible. A fine way to end the day.

Old OS maps have stone circles marked on them at the top. I guess this is just the cairn. Anyone know anymore?

Lordenshaw (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

05/05/2016 - We parked at the Lordenshaws car park really just to have a walk on the Simonside Hills. Once there we realised that maybe we were heading in the wrong direction! The 1:50000 OS map doesn't give that much away but a quick glance at the 1:25000 revealed a hillside full of megalithic wonder. Luckily we had all day so we chose Simonside first, leaving the afternoon free to roam the tops on the other side of the road.

The hillside, topped with a great hillfort, is just full of rocks with markings on the them. First up to the big one. Great rock art and the location is fantastic. Close views of the Simonside Hills and The Cheviots looking fine in the distance. After that we spent the rest of the time there just wandering around looking at random stones and taking in the scenery.

So much to see but the one that will stay with me is the Channel Rock. On the far side of the hillfort is this most fantastic rock. It's huge and has this channel in it that has to be seen. I can't really explain why I loved it so much but I just found the groove and the smooth surface of the rock so pleasing to the eye.

Top site. If you go (and you should) make a day of it. So much to see.

Tosson Hill (Cairn(s))

05/05/2016 - Nice walk over the Simonside Hills from Lordenshaws car park. I think I passed about 5 decent cairns on the way over. The one on Tosson Hill (highest top of Simonside Hills) is a good one. Great view north to The Cheviots.

Commondale (Stone Circle)

08/05/2015 - Starting from the village of Guisborough, we set out for a day strolling about the moor looking at cairns and really just taking in the fine views from the top. No set plan, just a day taken slow.

The low cloud from the day before was still hanging around as we climbed the hill but by the time we broke clear of the trees the early morning sun had worked a bit of magic and the rest of the day was left to us and the sunshine to go for a walk.

Making our way south across Gisborough Moor, we stopped to look at the cairns called Three Howes just past the trigpoint. Whilst there we got chatting to the game keeper (top man) after he saw us looking at the cairns (the place is covered in them!). Seeing we were interested in old stones, he told us about this stone circle and gave us great directions, so we duly set off to see if we could find it.

Though it's in a open area of the moor which the track to the north looks down upon, I could easily have walked past and never known it was there. Look for a couple of old gate posts, either side of the track and look southish. It is about 200 meters away.

This is a lovely stone circle of about 18 small stones and a wonderful place to sit and while away the day. A really fantastic spot for it too with fine views. It was hard not to drift asleep as we sat there in the warmth of the sun. A real favourite. It was tough to leave to make the slow walk back over the moor.

Hard Nab (Round Cairn)

06/05/2016 - Starting from Thrunton Wood. Anticlockwise loop round Callaly Crag, Hard Nab, stopping by this cairn for a brew then south to Long Crag, Coe Crags and back north to the start. Nice walk. (The cairns just north of Hard Nab are a bit hidden amongst trees).

Chatton (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

02/05/2016 - Sometimes when I've read about a site and seen the photos, if the place is as good as Kettley Crag it's hard to actually believe it exists and that I was there, walking up Chattonpark Hill with the rock shelter just on the other side, a few minutes walk away. It doesn't get much better than Kettley Crag with its floor covered in the most wonderful rock art.

First things first, I had to get past the rock art on the south side of the hill. Easy parking in the layby and good access straight onto the hill. There's rocks everywhere. The simple action of walking a hillside, having a nosey at each new rock we came across for any trace of markings is one of pure joy. Still happy just thinking about it again today. What a wonderful afternoon.

The pull of Kettley Crag proved too strong, so we made the walk over the top to the north side. It felt too soon. The Rock Shelter is quite magical and I hadn't realised how good its location and view of the landscape was going to be. Wonderful markings.

After a while we strolled back to the Chatton rocks again. This time just sitting by the largest panel and trying to take in all we had seen. The sunshine was in and out of the clouds, making the markings on the main panel seem to nearly disappear then magically reappear again to surprise us once more. Again the views from here are too good. The Cheviots in full view.

Finally it was time to go. I came to see Kettley Crag but in the end this main panel at Chatton stole a little bit of our hearts. Perfect day.

Drake Howe (Cairn(s))

09/05/2016 - Starting from Clay Bank car park, nice walk over the tops to Drake Howe. Fine weather today with good views. The top of Drake Howe is a really good place for a cairn and this cairn is a fair size. Time hasn't been good to it though. Wainstones worth a look at on the way.

Rubers Law

12/05/2016 - If you are thinking of visiting one of the two hills mentioned in local rhyme posted by Rhiannon below I'd pick Rubers Law over Dunion Hill any day of the week.

Access can be gained from most directions but I liked the walk from Denholm (nice coffee shop there) to the NW. Follow the footpath heading SE out of Denholm, then take the path through the trees which lead you first SW then SE. After that it's a short climb up to the top.

The fort is on the summit of a great little rugged hill. Some nice overgrown walls to see but this fort's best defence is the hill's natural outcrops. Lovely site to walk around and great views from it.

Dunion Hill (Hillfort)

12/05/2015 - Like Rubers Law hillfort nearby, the history of this fort looks quite complex. Unlike fantastic Rubers Law, this fort and the hill it's on has been quarried to near oblivion. It's in a sad state nowadays. Parking at the entrance to the quarry we walked past Dunion Hill on the way to the much nicer Black Law. Access this way is probably frowned upon but if you don't tell, I won't either.

Hedgehope (Cairn(s))

03/05/2016 - From The Chevoit. Weather was cold, sunny, windy, cloudy, snowy, calm ...

The Cheviot (Cairn(s))

03/05/2016 - It's a fine walk round The Cheviot and Hedgehope Hill apart from one thing - the bog. As Rhiannon's folklore post below puts it - '..a perfect bog'. We've walked a few soggy hills in our time but this was something else. The top's so bad they've laid over 1 km of stone slabs to help folk across the flat summit. It wasn't that much better before or after the top as well today. I'm not sure my boots will ever recover. Apart from that, it's a pretty straight forward circuit of the hills from the end of the public road in Harthope Valley. Couple of cairns on The Cheviot and one on Hedgehope Hill to look at but I guess the main reason to go is a day in the hills away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Eston Nab (Hillfort)

07/05/2016 - After missing the view on our misty trip to Erra Moor in the morning, we thought we'd try another hill in the afternoon but if anything the cloud was even worse on this one. Starting from the Cross Keys hotel on the A171 to the south, footpath heads north up the hill all the way to the top. Nice walk and the hillfort looks decent from what I could see of it!

Round Hill (Round Barrow(s))

07/05/2016 - Easy walk up from Clay Bank car park. Cairn on summit with trigpoint on top. Thick cloud today so the views (which I bet are good) will have to wait until next time.
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