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Cnoc Mor Ghrasdail (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

The walk from Dun A Chail west to the cairn at Cnoc Mor Ghrasdail comes in three sections. The first is easy enough except for the steepish climb up to the level overlooking the fort, next comes a wee flat bit before a climb amongst trees/bramble bushes which eventually is ended by a fence. From here head to the top of the hill bouncing on the spongy heather. Hot work considering the temperature.

Once at the top views are stunning, north to Port Charlotte, the Paps of Jura are clearly visible to the east, south is the Oa and to the west the Atlantic.

The cairn stands at over 10m wide and is 1m tall at its highest. The probable cist cover remains in the centre of the site with its debatable cup marks still in place. Canmore suggest that this might have been an anvil at some point. Also on the site is a climber's or shepherd's cairn. I counted at least 10 stones of the kerb still in place.

Another truly stunning location.

Visited 1/8/2018.

Dun A Chail (Stone Fort / Dun) — Fieldnotes

From Kintra follow the track heading west and keep going until it veers south, keep going until the first corner then head west. On a gorgeous early morning the Kintra coastline is a wonderful place to be. Even better, the local green keepers i.e. the sheep had done their job perfectly keeping the grass very short. Even better still, it was warm!

After a fairly short walk a beach will be seen with an easy slope to leading down. Beautiful views north towards Port Charlotte can be seen with the hills beyond. To the east side of the bay is Dun a Chail, probably the most beautiful place I'd been to in 2018.

The dun is overshadowed by a small pointy hill which probably helped its eastern defence. A small grassy covered stairway leads to the entrance which was being used when I arrived by exiting sheep. Cleverly the Iron Age peoples made use of the natural walls incorporating them into the man made walls. Sadly some of the walls have collapsed on either side of the dun. It is approximately 12m in length being just over 6m wide. To the west there is the perfect natural harbour called Laggan Bay, to the east a somewhat rockier effort.

Not many people come here nowadays and maybe that is a good thing as it is a truly remarkable place. It was also is the first place I'd been to for a long time where I'd seen no rubbish.

Wonderful, wonderful site.

Visited 1/8/2018.

North Uist, Benbecula and South Uist — News

'Incredibly rare' find in Western Isles prehistoric forest

Archaeologists have found evidence of early human activity at a submerged prehistoric forest in the Western Isles.

More info :

Craigiehowe (Cairn(s)) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Craigiehowe</b>Posted by drewbhoy<b>Craigiehowe</b>Posted by drewbhoy<b>Craigiehowe</b>Posted by drewbhoy<b>Craigiehowe</b>Posted by drewbhoy<b>Craigiehowe</b>Posted by drewbhoy

Highland (Mainland) — News

Bid to build replica Iron Age tower in Caithness

An archaeological charity is pushing ahead with an ambitious plan to construct a full-size replica of an Iron Age broch.

More info :

Craigiehowe (Cairn(s)) — Images

<b>Craigiehowe</b>Posted by drewbhoy

Creag A' Chaisteil (Stone Fort / Dun) — Images

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Bogallan Wood (Cairn(s)) — Images

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Carragh Bhan (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

After a fantastic day in Jura and relatively easy walks it was time for a 'drewbhoy special' but before I got to Kintra there was the Carragh Bhan to visit.

It can be found on a tiny wee hill, west, next to the minor road. A large slab, almost like the Millplough recumbent near Inverbervie (Aberdeenshire), it stands having magnificent all round views and is 2.2m by 2.2m, almost square.

A good start on a beautiful day.

Visited 1/8/2018.

Camas an Staca (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Many people would visit the standing stone of Camas an Staca first when they arrive on Jura, we decided to visit it last to leave a stunning impression on the island, to be fair all of Jura is stunning!!

The Camas is a huge standing stone probably put there as a marker to safe nearby landing places to ancient seafarers. It is the biggest standing stone on Jura.

We parked at the large passing place to the north west of the stone beside a wood. Walking back towards Craighouse there is a large deer gate, go through and walk south west. After about 200 meters the standing stone appears from nowhere . A lot of people say the stone is built on a cairn but once again I agree with Canmore and think its field clearance. I'd love to be wrong.

The views are simply stunning as Islay's steep mid east coast line can be seen, the famous McArthur's Point Lighthouse gleaming in the distance with the island of Am Froach Eilean in the bay.

So that was Jura, roll on 2020!

Visited 31/7/2018.

Camas an Staca (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Miscellaneous

Apart from another Iona-related chapel at Tarbert, much of the settlement activity, old and new, is in the south-east corner of the island, nearest to Islay. Here, the enormous Camas an Staca Standing Stone rises out of the peat twice the height of a man, surrounded by further rocks and outcrops which Canmore (Scotland’s inestimable archaeological database) includes two conflicting and rather confusing accounts of. The feel of the place – the lines of sight and the general atmosphere – gave me a strong feeling that Camas an Staca could be another Callanish under several thousand years of peat deposit, with the single stone still visible the monstrously high centrepiece of something far greater and more impressive. Who knows if an archaeologist may yet have time – and funding – to take a closer look. [Calanais, on the Isle of Lewis, one of the most impressive and largest stone circles and ritual landscapes in the whole of the British Isles, erected around 3000BC, was almost completely buried under 1.5m or so of peat for (at least) 1500 years, only first recorded in the early 17th century, and the peat finally all dug away to reveal it in all its glory in the mid-19th century.

David Kreps blog 2016

The Paps of Jura (Sacred Hill) — Folklore

John Francis Campbell’s ‘Popular Tales of the West Highlands’, concerning “the Old Woman or Witch of Jura” and her “magical powers.

There was a Caileach (old woman) in Jura who had a magic ball of thread by means of which she could draw any person or thing towards her. MacPhie (or MacDuffie) of Colonsay was in her clutches, and was not allowed to leave Jura; on several occasions he tried to escape to his native Colonsay in his boat, but always the Caileach would spot him, throw the magic ball of thread into his boat, and so bring him back to shore. Eventually MacPhie found out that the magic of the Caileach’s thread could be broken, but only if it was cut by an equally magic hatchet; thus he pretended to be content with his bondage until he found the chance to steal the Caileach’s magic hatchet, and then he made his escape from Jura in a small boat. When the Caileach noticed his absence, she rushed as usual to the top of Beinn a Chaolis, [the tallest of the Paps] and … hurled the magic ball of thread into MacPhie’s boat, but he cut it with the Caileach’s magic hatchet and made his escape. She was distraught … [and] in despair she slid down the mountain to the sea shore, pleading with MacPhie to return. But he would not, and the marks left by the old woman’s heels as she slid down Beinn a Chaolis can still be seen. They are called Sgriob na Cailich – the slide of the old woman.” The best view is from the ferry from Port Askaig to Colonsay.

Carragh a' Ghlinne (Stone Row / Alignment) — Fieldnotes

Heading south from Craighouse go past some warehouses and then park at tghe first track heading towards the north west. Plenty room to park as their appears to be cemetery for old vehicles.

However the track is a wonderful and atmospheric walk through some fairly flat countryside until a sole standing stone can be seen. Sadly three of its friends have long since fallen and the well used phrase 'gentle restoration' entered my head as they are all clearly visible. It would create a momentous site if it happened.

The remaining stone stands at 2.4m with a well weathered cup mark near its base with the other stones appearing, to me, to be of similar length.

It must have been some place, it still is.

Visited 31/7/2018.

Knockrome 3 (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

The third of the Knockrome standing stones is quite difficult to see but not to difficult to find.

After walking back from the second stone I headed back to the landing strip and headed back up the track to the minor road. About two-thirds of the way up I headed east into the fairly long grass which has clumps of gorse/furze and small trees dotted about. Pick your way through these whilst gradually heading north, about 20 metres north of where the standing stone hides is the minor road, the other side of a hedge.

Beautiful views out to Loch Na Mile and the island of Eilean Bhride. If you look through the branches of the tree you'll catch glimpses of the Paps Of Jura. A well shaped stone it stands at 1.35m tall.

4 standing stones in a small area, not bad. Another standing stone at Leargybreck and nearby forts will have to wait till 2020 to feel my boots.

Visited 31/7/2018.

Holmhead (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Heaven knows how Les and myself didn't see this when traipsing up and down the tracks to Pittenderrich and Pressendye. Heaven knows how anybody else didn't spot the circle despite the OS having a type of blob on their maps. One thing for sure is that the farmers (and their families) have looked after the circle, secondly they have all managed to forget to tell the relevant archaeological people up here in The Shire, maybe no bad thing.

I took the minor road north near West Tillylodge from the B9119 until we reached the entrance to track heading up Pressendye. Plenty room to park. Walk back, east, down the road to the Holmhead track, head towards the farm, then go through the gate to the field in the north and simply follow the animal track through the field to the hole in the wall. The circle is bang in front.

The first time I (and the dog) visited it was a howling gale, freezing temperatures, freezing rain and dangerous roads. Obviously, when joined by Ashley and Les, the temperature was about 10, it was perfect light and sunny. Holmhead Circle looked the same.

8 small stones huddle round, with the small recumbent having one flanker up, one flanker down, which means it is complete. There doesn't appear to be any central cairn. Fortunately field clearance has been piled all around but not on or in the circle. Even gorse, furze and jabby stuff seem to be keeping clear. Comparisons obviously abound but the closest I can think of is the Strone RSC near Alford for size of stone, but the circle is much larger and Nether Dumeath, near Glass, for size of circle, the stones there being much much larger.

It is stunning how nobody has noticed this circle, both Les and myself recalled how it was unusual to see a clump of gorse in the middle of field a couple of years ago, we didn't go look.

Stunning setting, stunning circle!

Visited 15 & 28/12/2018.

Knockrome 2 (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

The second of the Knockrome stones we visited is quite easy to find. From Burnside we walked in a westerly direction until the track that leads down to the islands airstrip which looks directly into the beautiful Loch Na Mile.

Walk west along the airstrip and keep looking towards the Paps of Jura. The stone can clearly be seen a about 100 metres to the north on the edge of a small ditch.

It stands at over 1.5m tall and with its near neighbour does mark a place for the prehistoric peoples to land their small boats. Who knows?, they are certainly in the right location.

Visited 31/7/2018.

Meikle Tom (Cairn(s)) — Images

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West Davoch (Cairn(s)) — Images

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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!)

(The Delerium Trees)

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