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Fieldnotes by drewbhoy

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Dunachtonmore North (Cairn(s))

Just to the north west of the Dunachtonmore Cairn and on top of a wee climb sits another cairn.

This site is smaller, 8m wide and 1m high, and has some massive kerbs. Once again the centre has been houked to reveal what was probably the place for a cist. Being slightly higher up there are spectacular views east to Cairngorms, wonderful scenery in the Spey valley and to the west, Creag Mor.

A completely unexpected but superb end to a day that started early and included many miles on foot. The dog probably walked twice as much, equally good as she slept all the way home.

Visited 27/4/2018.

Dunachtonmore (Cairn(s))

I didn't expect very much when arriving at this cairn, even Canmore relegates the cairn to a discovery made during rabbit control. What I saw was way beyond expectations.

From Torr Advie we continued south on the B9152 until the subway sign which has Duntachmore and interestingly the Scottish Sheep Dog Training centre on it. Keep going past Duntachtonmore Farm and park were the road widens. (I asked permission) From there walk or wade through the small wood which on this occasion was a mud bath. Once into the clear the track dries and a pleasant walk on the banks of the Dunachtonmore Burn.

Stay on the track which leads almost straight to the cairn. I think this is a type of ring cairn. At least 1 stone stands whilst other large stones are used as kerbs to surround the 12m wide cairn. It sits at 1m high. Signs of a cist are in the middle but some houking as occurred. No turf or any other vegetation completely covers the site, which makes it easy to see when approaching from the east.

A beautiful site, made all the more interesting by some weird noises..............................the Highland Wildlife Park is on the other side of the trees.

Visited 26/4/2018.

Torr Alvie (Hillfort)

Torr Alvie commands some stunning all round views particularly the Spey Valley. We approached by taking the B9152 south from Aviemore and parked at the entrance to the caravan site at Dalraddy. From here we walked following the tarred road over an old railway bridge, took the first track north, then a track east and eventually a track heading north. There is a massive monument dedicated to the Duke of Gordon (Gordon Highlanders chap), head for that as it sits at the northern end of the fort.

Near the monument, the forts defences have been almost totally removed. However bits of rampart remain on the east and west flanks, some parts of wall reaching 3 meters in width. The inside of the fort looks very flat and the Iron Age folks might have altered the slopes (according to Canmore). Whatever they did it was large scale as the fort is over 80m long and 30m wide.

A very impressive setting, the hike up well worth it if only just for the views. Underfoot conditions are excellent all the way to the top.

Visited 27/4/2018.

Creag A' Mhuilein (Cairn(s))

Leave the B970 (south from Coylum Bridge) and take the road to Loch an Eilein, pulling in at Milton Cottage. Head south west by jumping the Milton Burn, then head uphill.

The cairn sits on top pf Geag A' Mhuilein, a short but fairly steep climb.

Sitting at about 12m and 0.5m high, the cairn still has several kerbs in place. As usual somebody has had a go at some houking.

Tremendous views, decent site if somewhat overgrown. With that done it was time to fall back down the hill.

Visited 19/4/2018.

The Drum (Cairn(s))

The Drum has a great location, surrounded by mountains and lochs. Across the river, Spey, is a fort and further east another cairn. There are possible duns in the area which I'll investigate at some point.

Sadly the cairn, which is oval shaped, has largely gone. Several intermittent kerbs remain in place, the height of the cairn never reaching more than 0.3m.

A case of 'what if'.

Still, a very beautiful place.

Head south west from Coylum Bridge on the B970 and pull in just beyond the road to Loch an Eilein. The cairn is in the field to the east.

Visited 19/4/2018.

Creag Phitiulais (Stone Fort / Dun)

This dun had defeated me four times in the past, lost, exhausted, blizzards and a missing dog had contributed to previous attempts. A good thing because it meant we had to come back.

I parked near the Pityoulish Standing Stone and headed south east along the track towards Kincardine Cottage. From here head straight west. Underfoot conditions are fine if somewhat undulating along with a few sneaky hiding rocks. Once over the second ridge a bog will be reached, on the other side looking down is the dun.

A stunning location which for miles along the Spey beyond Grantown, north towards Carrbridge, west towards Aviemore, to the south Creag a' Ghreusaiche looms.

The dun is oval shaped 8m by 9m. At some points the wall is almost 4m wide. Parts of the wall remain built but sadly most of it has fallen. Northern and eastern defences are further boosted by steep cliffs. The front door is in the west, which is how I swung up from the bog. As per usual the shepherds have made small wind breaks. Nothing detracts from this dun, a lovely place to sit and let your imagination run riot.

Going back down we headed north to look for a cup marked rock which remained invisible. On reaching a clearance, apt, we found the remains of a township, a ghost town.

After that it was head straight north which led straight back to the car. Much easier than the way up.

Visited 27/4/2018.

Glenbanchor 2 (Cairn(s))

From the cairn near the fence we headed down the track towards the River Calder and headed west. After crossing a small ford follow a small track heading north west towards a small wood.

At some point this must have been a huge cairn but now all that is left is a faint reminder of former glories. Canmore says 13m wide but it seems to me that some earthfast stones indicate 18m plus. Large kerbs still remain in place on the south side. Whatever its width it is easy to spot were the stones went.

Less than 10m east there is the remnants of a massive enclosure and possibly a small croft.

Pity, as glorious all round views of river and snowy mountains. Perfect :-)

Visited 6/4/2018.

Glen Banchor (Cairn(s))

We headed down from the fort back down onto the main track to find the small cairn we saw on the way up. From here we headed south west to the mid point between a wood to the north and the River Calder/track to the south.

The small cairn has been clipped by the rarely used track on its western side. Despite this the turf covered monument retains its shape and more importantly several kerbs remain in place.

It is 6m wide and 0.4m high, having slight damage to the centre. This might be more like farm machinery damage than the traditional houking.

Visited 6/4/2018.

Sidhean Mor Dail A' Chaorainn (Enclosure)

After a good look round the Iron Age cairn we squelched to the north of the small hill to climb Sidhean from the north west. Just a short steepish climb to some glorious views of one of my favourite places.

Obviously from the car park follow the previous directions and have a look at the wee cairns. Also look in the middle of the fort/enclosure and find a circular object that looks like a hut circle. Could this be Johnnie Blair's garden?

Next its to the west and two more cairns in this fantastic prehistoric valley.

Visited 6/4/2018.

Sidhean Mor Dail A' Chaorainn (Square) (Cairn(s))

Moving up from the cairn, on the way to the fort, we climbed over the small hill to the west of Sidhean and squelched through a small bog to a fence over which the cairn is situated. This Iron Age cairn, first I've seen specifically called that, is almost 4m square with stones clearly marking the corners.

The main views are south west, looking down Glen Banchor towards the River Calder. Beautiful views!

Visited 6/4/2018.

Sidhean Mor Dail A' Chaorainn (Cairn) (Cairn(s))

From the car park, at the road's end, we continued over the Allt A Chaorainn burn and took the track , heading north, which heads straight to the fort/enclosure.

About 3/4s of a mile up there is a small cairn just to the west of the path.

Sitting at just over 3m in width and 0.3m in height the cairn has impressive views of all the surrounding mountains, rivers and other prehistoric monuments. Several kerbs remain in place despite the site being slightly houked.

Difficult to spot, find the area that looks like a large platform area, the cairn is about 100 metres south.

Visited 6/4/2018.

Creagan Mor (Cairn(s))

The last stop of another wonderful day in the Banchor valley. After several attempts to cross the River Calder I was finally persuaded by A to take the car and dog back to Newtonmore to find a place to park at Ballaid.

From Ballaid we followed a track which led round the edges of a wood, from here we could see the Sidhean car park (near to the scene of my heroic attempts to navigate the river). The track somewhat peters out eventually becoming more of a bog. We headed south west following the edge of the bog which fortunately led straight to a clump of trees which housed the cairn. As with everywhere here the views are simply stunning.

In a great place for a cairn a mound of about 11m in width and 0.6m high is all that remains except for two slabs one which can be easily found, the other covered in deep turf which I left in peace.

After a good look round, there is a lot of scenery, we found a track which turned into path which led straight back to the car. A fine walk through the birches ended a fine day.

Visited 6/4/2018.

Raedykes (Ring Cairn)

Like other visitors to Raedykes I thought there was 4 cairns/stone circles, however according to Canmore there are five. Canmore is right, unfortunately they don't describe the complete nightmare to find it.

I approached from the north (on a beautiful crisp Spring day), from Eddieslaw looked for cairns here, sadly all ploughed out) and there are much easier routes. After ploughing through a bog, jumping several burns and jumping over several fences I made it to dry land without injury. From here its head to the top of the hill. On the hill several deer looked down, their thoughts easy to read....check that idiot! Polite version!

NO 83220 90680

This ring cairn is surrounded by a stone circle with 9 stones still standing, inside several kerbs remain in place. It has been described before. This is the site nearest to West Raedykes steading.

NO 832716 90608

Sitting a short distance west, about 20m, is a cairn half covered in jabby stuff. Still it looks in reasonable condition and looks like it might have a been a kerb cairn. It has been houked in the centre.

From here I walked past the high gorse, jabby stuff etc to the most famous site.

NO 83226 90655

This is a truly fantastic site with truly fantastic scenery to match the imposing standing stones which appear to be looking west, imo. Apart from these stones smaller stones still stand whilst others have fallen. The inner kerb is in the same condition. Sweetcheat's oft used phrase 'gentle restoration' screams here. Maybe one day!

NO 83220 90680

Slightly to the north of the previous there is a small cairn. A small ditch appears to lead to the possible remnants of a cist. Several kerbs also remain in place.

NO 83255 90610

I walked back past the famous standing stones to look south at the highest of the gorse, whins etc over a fairly ruined fence. There was no way through except to crawl or throw myself into the gorse. After what seemed ages I made it through to the tiniest of clearings. If you find this you are standing on the cairn. Crawling round the edges I found several kerbs still in place. It is almost 7m wide and 0.5m high. There is a small hollow in the middle but nothing to suggest serious damage..........to the cairn.

As for me, another battering but it doesn't matter as Raedykes is one of my favourite places, an essential visit if in the area.

Visited 15/3/2018.

Garlogie (Cairn(s))

The cairn at Garlogie is in a sad state of affairs. As well as forestry inflicted damage, a track has made the eastern half vanish completely. Surely there was room to move track a few metres further east!!

Sitting at 10m (north - south) and 5m wide (due to damage), it looks a decent site approaching from the west being just over 0.5m high. Even several kerbs remain in place.

There has been a lot of prehistory in this area, many hut circles, enclosures and cairns have sadly been removed.

In the middle of Garlogie take the minor road north and pull in at one of small parking spaces. Take a track, any track east, then head south looking for were the ditch deepens. The cairn is immediately west, or what remains of it.

Visited 18/1/2018.

Brodie Wood (Cairn(s))

Heading east, from Aberdeen on the B9077 take the first minor road heading south past Tollohill. Keep going until a short distance past the primary school. I was given permission to park at a nearby cottage. From there I jumped the fence into a field and headed the short distance west, jumped another fence and was immediately in the Brodie Wood cairnfield.

The main cairn at Brodie is situated on a rocky knoll. It is 9m wide by 5.5 long and is 0.5 high being rectangular in shape. Various misplaced boulders make up a type of kerb.

NJ9159901001 This cairn is circular in shape sitting at almost 4m wide and 0.5 tall.

NJ9160300977 The best of the smaller cairns is very similar to it's near neighbour but has some larger boulders presumably kerbs.

NJ9158600964 Once again very similar to the above cairns.

All of the cairns are to the eastern side of Brodie Wood and look over to Kincorth Hill as well as looking down the River Dee. A little hidden gem next to Aberdeen. Nice place!

Visited 18/1/2018.

Kincorth Hill East (Cairn(s))

From Abbotswell Road follow the Kincorth Hill path heading west until the fence heads south. At this point follow the fence to the trig, which by this time the visitor will have noticed sits on top of the site.

This cairn has tremendous views east to the many ancient sites on Tullos Hill. It also has not so tremendous views to some of Aberdeen's busied industrial estates.

The eastern site of the cairn has seen a vast amount of damage. A lot of quarrying has happened. Meanwhile the eastern side seems to have been protected by the trig and the fence.

What remains is a cairn that was originally well over 18m wide, standing at almost 2m tall with a trig plonked on top.

A nice day to go explore and re-visit the other cairn almost a mile to the west.

Visited 18/1/2018.

Westerord Plantation (Cairn(s))

There are more than 20 small cairns on this wee and not very high ridge, the largest of which is in the photographs. This cairn is just over 6m wide and 0.5m tall. 4 kerbs remain in place. The usual cairn material scattering and houking has also taken place.

I found at least 16 of the nearby cairns in various states of ruin. At least the trees now are protecting them for a little time.

Westerord can be found just to the south of Westhill. Take the second minor road south on the B9119, heading west from the A944. At the first corner take the track west and ask permission if requiring to park. From the house head south east and walk straight, uphill, to the cairn.

Visited 11/1/2018.

Blacktop Wood (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

I parked at a space opposite Countesswells House and walked west until the first track heading north. From here I walked about 50 metres before climbing a wee hill to a small path. A short distance to the east and the hut circle can be found.

Like its colleague at Clear Hill near Bucksburn this site would be in remarkable condition given some gentle restoration. Maybe its best just to let nature look after it. Who knows?

Stretching to almost 9m in diameter the walls of the hut circle are almost 2m wide and in some parts well over a meter high. The front door, still clearly defined, is facing south east.

Beautiful area this, well worth having a walk round the nearby woods. Quite a few massive consumption dykes.

Visited 11/1/2018.

The Shields (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

This hut circle has taken a fair beating in its time but it still retains a sense of shape being over 12m wide. Sadly this wall has in some parts gone but some of it remains at almost two metres wide and 0.5m tall. As can be seen from the photos some of the building material is still in place.

From the RSC at Auchlee head further west past the cottage of the same name then almost double on the farm track walking next to the Shields Burn through a narrow strip of trees. At some point about 300m down track climb the fence, jump the burn and head south through the boggy field. Climb over the next fence and the hut circle shouldn't be to hard to find. Sadly nearby small cairns seem to have vanished.

A fine way to spend a spare hour near Portlethen, at least this time I didn't land in the burn.

Visited 4/1/2018.

Glenton North (Cairn(s))

Glenton North is about a mile north from it's southern neighbour. Luckily a lot of the heather and trees have been taken down or burnt making walking conditions, apart from the boggy start, much easier. Sadly a lot of small cairns and probably a hut circle or two have been trashed beyond recognition. I went into the wood at the top of Glenton Hill (calling it forest might be an exaggeration) and like Tara didn't see very much. However keeping heading north and on the downslope a cairn overlooking the very small village of Rickarton will be found.

It has also survived a bit better than its southern neighbour with possibly two kerbs still in place and the remains in of cist in it's houked centre. It stands at over 6m wide and is about 0.6m high. To the north is the wonderful view of Cairn Mon Earn.

A nice way to spend a sunny afternoon near Stonehaven.

Visited 3/1/2018.
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Still doing the music, following that team, drinking far to much and getting lost in the hills! (Some Simple Minds, Glasvegas, Athlete, George Harrison, Empire Of The Sun, Nazareth on the headphones, good boots and sticks, away I go!)

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