The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

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Garth Hill (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 21.6.2017

Three years later I find myself back on Garth Hill. This time however I am here on the Solstice to see the sun come up and not go down - minus Dafydd who I left in bed as he has school later this morning and he is one crabby boy when tired!

I arrived at the usual parking spot at 4.15am ready for a sunrise at 4.55am. I headed up the rough track and was soon joined by an elderly chap who informed me that his granddaughter was at Stonehenge so he thought he would join her in spirit by watching the Solstice from somewhere nearer home. I said I would rather be here than Stonehenge today!

Upon reaching the barrow we surveyed the scene around us. Although the sky above us was clear, it was hazy with some cloud on the horizon. Why is it that when you hope for a clear sky to see the sun rise/set it is usually like this? On the plus side we were treated to a crescent moon and the planet Venus shining brightly above it. It was a bit windy but cool rather than cold - no doubt it will get a lot warmer as the day unfolds during this current heat wave.

We were soon joined by 3 other people and then a little later by a lady walking her dog. By now the sky and surrounding countryside was starting to lighten, changing from blue to purple to lilac. The clouds being under lit by the still unseen sun changing the clouds from rose pink to bright orange and eventually to bright white. Several jet airliners sped high overhead, leaving a trail of white in their wake.

At 5.00am the sun made its brilliant appearance, breaking through the clouds as a bright red orb - a wondrous sight and well worth getting up for. All was quiet except for the sound of birdsong all around us. We were all deep in our own thoughts contemplating everything and nothing.

Before long the sun had risen sufficiently enough to make looking directly at it impossible. Time to head back down the hill, home, breakfast and get ready for work. I may be the most tired one in the office today but I will probably be the one feeling most fulfilled.

St Augustine's Abbey (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited April 2017

As part of my ongoing quest to visit every English Heritage site I found myself having a week in Kent and a visit to the abbey. I certainly wasn't expecting anything of a prehistoric nature in my visit. However, whilst walking around the ruins I came across two stones which are described as 'standing stones'. Apparently the stones are not local to the area and must have been brought to the site from some distance. The guide book I bought states that they are possibly re-used prehistoric standing stones?

One for the 'disputed antiquity' list I think!

Woodbury Castle (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

Visited 23.10.2016

There is plenty of parking either side of the B3180 immediately adjacent to the hillfort.

There is a badly worn / vandalized information board at the edge of the car park, on the approach to the steps which take you up the inner rampart. From the bottom of the ditch I would guess it was perhaps 8m to the top of the inner rampart. From inside the hillfort the rampart was about 3m high in places. The whole area of the hillfort, both inside and outside the ramparts is covered with large, mature trees of various type.

It was a beautiful autumn day. An azure sky with the warm sun filtering through the reds, golds and browns of the leaves, which were falling like confetti over our heads.

I was really taken by this site, it was a really lovely place to visit. Particularly in weather as fine as today. In fact I would say it was even better than the not-to-distant and more famous, Blackbury Camp. This is no slur on Blackbury Camp (a fine site) but more a high recommendation of Woodbury Castle. In my humble opinion a 'must see' when in this part of the world. And it couldn't be easier to find and access.

The B3180 follows the contours of the ramparts as it passes through the site. Which leads to an obvious question - which numpty decided to build a road right through the site instead of around it?

Hangman's Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 23.10.2016

On the southern verge of the busy A3052 at the junction with the minor road turning south to Branscombe. You can pull in on the grass verge next to the stone for a quick visit.

The stone is very small but was easy enough to spot in the short grass. If the grass had not been cut for some time (must play havoc with the council grass cutters!) it could be difficult. A non-descript stone which would pass you by had you not been specifically looking out for it. Not one to go out of your way for.

Aylesbeare Common (Round Barrow(s)) — Miscellaneous

Drive by 26.10.16

A short distance east from the Half Way Inn (B3180 / A3052 junction) to the north of the A3052.

I could only spot one of the barrows as we sped along the busy A3052. The barrow appeared as a gorse covered mound surrounded by gorse covered heath.
Parking would be difficult.

E.H. state:
Two bowl barrows near the summit of Harpford Hill. The western barrow is 2m high by 16m in diameter. The eastern barrow is 1.6m high by 20m in diameter.

Colaton Raleigh Common (Round Barrow(s)) — Miscellaneous

Drive by 23.10.16

A short distance north of Woodbury Castle Hillfort along the B3180.

My O/S map shows two barrows. One to the left of the road (next to the turning for Woodbury) and the other a bit further east along the road. Whilst driving past I couldn't spot the first barrow but I did spot the second barrow. It appears as a gorse covered mound in an area of gorse covered heath. Parking would be problematic and I guess this is not a site to visit wearing shorts!

E.H. state:
Two bowl barrows on Colaton Raleigh Common, situated about 500m apart. The eastern barrow is 3.5m high with a diameter of 21m. The western barrow is 4m high with a diameter of 31m.

The Valley of Stones (Natural Rock Feature) — Miscellaneous

A view from upon high - 23.10.2016

On our way back home to South Wales we made a quick stop-off to have a look at the Valley of Stones.

There is room for one car to park next to the sign post directing you to the valley. There is an information board giving an overview of the valley and how it was formed.

I was hoping to see a 'river of stones' flowing down the valley. I was hoping to use this to help explain to Dafydd and Sophie how the Ice Age helped shape the landscape etc. Unfortunately from our lofty perch we couldn't see any stones! No doubt had we had the time to have walked down the valley we would have seen plenty! However, I was still able to use the landscape to help aid my talk. At least Dafydd found it a bit interesting. Sophie was more interested in the four horses we had passed and was desperate to try to smooth them!

The Grey Mare & Her Colts (Long Barrow) — Fieldnotes

Visited 23.10.16

When visiting the Kingston Russel stone circle you simply must take the short detour off the bridleway to visit this ruined, but nevertheless impressive burial chamber.

Despite the cold wind myself and Dafydd spent a fair bit of time here looking over the stones. Needless to say we had the place to ourselves. I think you would be quite unlucky to find someone else here the same time as you.

To be honest I think this is a better preserved more interesting site than its more famous nearby stone circle. I note that it was nearly two years to the day since my last visit. A lot of water has passed under the bridge in that time! Although these sites are a bit out of the way (O/S map recommended) they are well worth the effort.

Kingston Russell (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 23.10.2016

Whoo-hooo.......... Found it! How I managed to NOT find it on my last visit is now a bit of a mystery!

Park in the small lay-by just before the cattle grid leading to Gorwell Farm (room for two cars). All you then need to do is follow the signposted bridleway, remembering to go through the wooden gate in front of you as the graveled track bends round to the right. Stay on the bridleway (starts a bit rough but eventually flattens out) and it will take you straight to the stone circle. (In a signposted field on your right)

I am sooooo pleased to have finally got here. This has been something of a 'monkey on my back' for the last two years and something I have wanted to put right. The late afternoon weather had a very late autumn/early winter feel about it. Grey overcast clouds, with a cold, biting wind. It took me 25 minutes to walk from the car to the circle.

As for the stone circle itself, I counted 18 stones of various size and shape. I have no idea if these are 18 different stones or represent fragmented parts of fewer stones? In all honesty the circle itself isn't a 'classic' by any means but at least it is still with us and it does occupy a 'classic' stone circle location - a level area in a prominent position. If the nearby trees and hedges were removed there would be decent 360 degree over the surrounding countryside.

That's another English Heritage site ticked off the list - only 119 to go! It also feels good to get rid of that monkey................ :)

The Rollright Stones (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited (again) 29.8.16

It's funny how sometimes fate lends a hand and you end up being back at a place a lot sooner than expected!

Following an overnight stop in Northamptonshire (to visit a couple of English Heritage sites) I had planned to take a different route home but fate (or my poor map reading!) led us past the Rollright Stones again.

Dafydd was happy with this as he stayed in the car yesterday as he was having a bit of a 'temper tantrum'. Once he had calmed down he really wanted to see the circle but by them we were miles away heading north.

This time we first crossed the road to see the Kings Stone (I told him the story) and then back to the stone circle. Luck was on our side again as most people were either on their way back to their cars or heading over to the Whispering Knights. There were only a couple of people at the circle. I showed Dafydd the entrance and we walked anti-clockwise around the circle (why do I always seem to go anti-clockwise when walking around a stone circle?)

The sun was still shining and despite a few more fluffy white clouds in evidence the weather was even warmer than yesterday. The added bonus was there was no 'boom, boom, boom' to be heard! Wlaking around I spotted many coins pushed into various holes and several ribbons tied to the branches of nearby trees.

It was an unexpected treat to be back so soon. It goes to show - you never kniow................. :)

Visited 28.8.16

Only two years since my last visit? Seems longer.
Some sites have that affect.
The more I visit the Rollrights the more I like them.

The sun was shining brightly and there was not a breath of wind. It was very warm as I approached the gate. Luckily a coach load of American tourists were just leaving so when I got to the circle there was only a couple of people there. Luck was certainly with me as they too shortly left and I managed to have the circle to myself for about 5 minutes.

The surrounding fields had been harvested and in the distance the sun painted pretty patches of light and shadows across the fields. All was picture perfect.

The only thing to spoil the occasion was some muppet in the lay by who obviously thought everyone wanted to hear his/her 'boom, boom, boom' type of music blasting from his/her car. Grrrr.

All too soon other people arrived so I headed back to the car and away from the 'boom, boom, boom'. Hopefully things will me more tranquil and atmospheric on my next visit - whenever that is?

If you have never visited the Rollrights, make sure it is somewhere near the top of your 'to do' list.

Churchill Three Stones (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 28.8.16

Near the sign for 'The Old Rectory' at the start of the lane as previously described by others.

Since the photos were taken the stones have become completely overgrown with ivy and several large bushes are soon to swallow them up. Despite knowing about the stones and where to find them (thanks Jane) I still managed to walk past them 3 times before spotting them! I fear that in a few years you won't be able to see them at all - unless someone comes along with a sharp pair of shears!

Churchill Standing Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Miscellaneous

Drive by 28.8.16

The hedges clearly haven't been cut for some time and I couldn't spot the stone. Parking would be a bit tricky even if I had the time for a proper hunt - which I didn't!

New Street Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 28.8.16

Whilst looking around the pretty town of Chipping Norton I made the short walk from the town centre to this stone (follow the blue car park sign)

The stone is easy to spot on the right (as you approach the car park) but it had a row of various coloured wheelie bins lined up alongside it. I don't know what was in the bins but it stunk to high heaven in the warmth of the day. We didn't linger too long - unlike the smell.

Cultoon (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.7.16

Adjacent to a minor road leading north out of Portnahaven. A short distance south of Kilchiaran cup marked stone. The stones can be seen from the road to the west. Access is via the usual rusty metal gate.

This is a fine stone circle with good sized stones. This is a good place to build a stone circle with fine views out over the sea. Other than having to walk across boggy ground this is a very easy site to access. It is very unlikely you will have to share your visit with anyone else that's for sure!

Islay is a nice Island with plenty to offer the visitor. Friendly people, lots of interesting places to see, some fine beaches and lots of wildlife. I am really pleased to have finally got here. It's not the sort of place that many people get chance to visit so I do feel very fortunate. Some people I know think I am mad taking my summer holidays in such places but I know who the lucky one is. Give me an Islay over a Costa Del Sol every day of the week! :)

p.s. I agree with Merrick - that is definitely a cairn next to the stone circle.

Kilchiaran (Cup Marked Stone) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.7.16

Next to the ruined St Ciaron's Church which is alongside the minor road north of Portnahaven. The church is sign posted and parking is easy enough.

Even by Islay standards this is pretty remote.

I like old churches and this is a lovely, ruined old church situated in a lovely spot overlooking Kilchiaran Bay. The fact it has a cup marked stone immediately next to it obviously adds to its attraction!

The various cup marks are of different sizes and depths. The largest one has worn right through the stone.

It's a nice enough stone and worth stopping off for however I must say the church was my biggest thrill. Inside and overgrown were several medieval grave stones. The rocky shore of Kilchiaran Bay only a short distance away. No doubt this must have been a place of pilgrimage. It is a very atmospheric place and one I would highly recommend visiting.

Achadh-Chaorann (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Miscellaneous

Achadh-Chaorann is a short distance to the east of the Carse stone row - along the same road.

The rain was by now coming down hard and we were running late for the ferry so I had to settle for a 'drive by'. The stone is visible from the main road.

I was initially disappointed not to have a closer loot at the stone and its cup marks but as it turns out we only just made the ferry so it turned out to be a blessing in disguise :)

Hopefully I will get a proper when next in the area?

Carse (Stone Row / Alignment) — Fieldnotes

After visiting the Kilberry sculptured stones (H.S. site) we stopped off on the way to the ferry to have a look at these fine stones, which are visible from the road.
Both fields are easily accessed via metal gates.

There is a single stone in one field - approximately 7ft high. The two other stones are in the field next door. These stones are approximately 8ft and 10ft high respectively. The tallest stone has large lumps of quartz veined throughout it.

There are fine views over Loch Stornoway.

These stones are very easy to access and are a 'must see' when visiting this fairly remote part of mainland Scotland.

Giant's Graves (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Visited 27.7.16

There is a signpost for the Glenashdale Falls and the Giant's Grave is then signposted off this path to the left - all zig zag uphill. On the way up you pass a tree that has been planted in memory of Terry, and photos, who passed away in 2013.

It takes 30 minutes to walk to the tombs and you need to be fairly mobile to be able to make it but the path is easy to follow. Once you reach the site there are good views over to Holy Island and the Scottish Scotland.

It was amazing the difference in the weather from when I started to when I got to the top. When I started there was little wind and although overcast it was fairly warm. At the top it was windy, misty and cold!

The two tombs are well worth the effort to walk up the hill. The first tomb you come to is the better preserved and it was good to be able to clamber about the stones and look inside to see how it was constructed. The remaining upright stones are of a good size. The nearby second tomb is not as extensive but obviously still worth checking out. It was no great surprise to find I had the hilltop to myself. I have found that when visiting any site on the Scottish islands / highlands you are virtually guaranteed to get the place to yourself. Orkney and Callanish excepted of course!

It is surprising how some very good sites are not under the care of Historic Scotland etc yet lesser preserved sites are. This site is well worthy of such recognition.

Cnoc Seannda (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

This very large mound is right next to the visitor centre. You can't possibly miss it! In the museum they have the Time Team episode playing on a loop when they visited and excavated the mound in 1994.

Also outside the visitor centre is another smaller stone. I asked the lady in the museum if she knew anything about the stone. She said that it was unknown at present if the stone is prehistoric or connected to the time of the Lord of the Isles. She added that a chap was due to visit the site later this year to carry out a dig. It was hoped that more can be discovered about the stone then.

The Time Team dig revealed animal bones, a flint arrowhead of Bronze Age type and a bone disc within a stone-lined chamber on top of the mound. There was found a Bronze Age cairn next to the chamber.

Finlaggan (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 31.7.16

Finlaggan is sign posted off the A846 south of Port Askaig. There is a visitor center and adjacent car park.
The stone is in a field overlooking the visitor centre. Access is via a metal field gate above the stone.

The stone is a good size and overlooks and predates the famous Finlaggan - home of the Lord of the Isles. The visitor centre and museum is well worth visiting and some prehistoric flints etc are on display. The walk down to the island and ruins, across a wooden walk way is well worth it.

A great place to visit - my favorite place on Islay.

Camas an Staca (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.7.16

Upon arriving on the lovely island of Jura take the A846 (the only road) towards Craighouse. As you start to reach the southern end of the island you will see a wooden sign directing you to the stone on your right (south). You can park near the sign. The top of the stone can just about be seen from the road.

You need to walk back down the road a bit to find the stile to get over the fence. Just to confuse you the sign doesn't align itself to the stile! (It's an 'island thing' a local told me!)

Once over the stile it is only a short walk but very boggy, particularly near the fence where the ground is at its lowest. It gradually dries out as you get higher. The whole area is covered in chest high ferns. This is of little relevance to the stone which dominates its surroundings. The stone is huge, a real whopper. Given its size and location I would assume it was erected as a marker to be seen by those travelling by boat?

Whatever the reason for its erection it is a very fine stone and well worth visiting if you are lucky enough to be able to visit Arran.

Holm of Daltallochan (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.7.16

Driving north out of Carsphairn on the A713 you shortly come to a minor road to your left (west) which runs past a farm house. The stones can be seen in a field opposite the farm house.

I would suggest you park at the turning and not do what we did which was to drive up the 'road' which rapidly becomes narrower and very rough. There is no way of turning around and you have to drive all the way to the end of the track which ends at a farm - and then all the way back - all the time giving your suspension and tyres a bit of a kicking!

I viewed the stones from the track as the field was full of cows. It's not that cows bother me too much but when I looked at the stones I had the distinct impression that this wasn't a stone circle. I am not expert by any stretch of the imagination but it just didn't look or feel right.

I have visited many stone circles over the years, all over the country, but have never seen one built on such uneven ground. It just didn't look right. Even my O/S map has them marked as 'stones, and not as you would expect 'stone circle'. I have checked Canmore who also only state that this is a possible stone circle. Reading Canmore's comments they too have their reservations about this site.

Perhaps another TMAer can visit when in the area and give their views?

Ossian's Mound (Round Barrow(s)) — Miscellaneous

Drive by 27.7.16

Driving west out of Kilmory this barrow can be easily seen as a rough, gorse covered mound.

Canmore states:
A turf covered mound with several large protruding stones which occupies the top of an overgrown hillock. The spread mound has merged with the hillock.

North Sannox (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 27.7.16

Just to the north of Sannox is a signposted turning for a forestry commission picnic / camping area. Follow this narrow road until you reach the car park at the end. The cairn is right next to the car park - can't miss it.

Strangely enough the info board at the car park makes no mention of the cairn.

The cairn is approximately 3 metres high x 25m across. The mound has many large stones scattered all around and on top of it amid the long, rough grass. One of the stones lying on top looks like a giant arrowhead! On top of the cairn is a 'standing stone' made up of lots of pretty pink quartz pieces.

This is a nice cairn in a nice spot. Dominated by the surrounding mountains of north Arran.

Druid Auchencar (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Miscellaneous

Drive by 27.7.16

Just to add that this large and very pointy stone is easily visible from the A841.

Unfortunately a lack of time (the great enemy) prevented a closer look :(

Deer Park (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 28.7.16

Driving north out of Brodick you soon come to the Arran cheese and Arran aromatic centre on your left. Park here (free). Directly opposite is a rough track. Walk along the track (past a house on your right and a lake on your left) until you reach the tarmac road. Turn right and you will shortly see two metal field gates opposite each other. The 3 stones can be seen in their respective fields from these gates.

I left Karen and the children to browse the shops, sample cheese and sniff smellies whilst I walked along the track to the see the stones. The day was dry but it was cloudy and rain threatened - as it often does on the Scottish islands.

I first peered over the gate to my left and easily spotted the single stone, the smallest of the three. There was no crop in the field but it was like a bog all around the gate and getting any closer to the stone would have meant trudging shin height in mud. I settled for the view from the gate.

I then crossed over to the opposite gate and was rewarded with a stunning vista. The field was golden, full of wheat, and out from it stood the two tall standing stones. The stones were surrounded by hills which had clouds of mist swirling around. It was all very atmospheric. No wind and no noise other than a bird of prey shrieking somewhere in the trees and mist in the distance.

I walked along some tractor tracks to get as close to the stones as possible without damaging the crop. Once I got as close as I could I just stood and stared and tried to take it all in. Wonderful, simply wonderful. This is what makes Scotland the special place it is and why I save up all year in order to make my annual pilgrimage to sample some of its delights.

The sign at the visitor centre proclaims that you can 'experience' of Scotland by buying the cheese or the smellies. No my friend, you get a real 'experience' of Scotland by crossing the road and visiting the stones and taking in the wonderful scenery.

As an aside, the cheese is very nice! :)

Machriewater Foot (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Failed visit 27.7.16

Somewhere near the first and second tee of the golf course, next to a house.

This is an odd place. The road goes through the first / second tee and the house provides a further challenge to those of a golfing nature. Fortunately there was no one playing golf so we parked up next to the tee!

When we were on Arran last year I distinctly remember spotting the stone as we drove past. This year I couldn't find it! I walked around the first / second tee and house several times but couldn't see the stone. Although the area is surrounded by chest high ferns (another challenge for the golfers) I didn't think they were high enough to obscure the stone?

In fact I returned the next day for another quick look but again failed to find the stone. Therefore it is either shorther than I remember and swamped by the ferns (but surely that would have applied last year?) or I was looking in the wrong place or the stone has fallen or been removed?

In all probability it is still there - but I couldn't find it. One mystery for the next TMAer to visit Arran to solve!

Bowes Barrows (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 4.8.16

Immediately west of Bowes Castle (E.H. site)

The O/S map shows 4 barrows. They can be observed as slight 'bumps' in a grass field.

The village of Bowes is small but very pretty. The nearby castle is worth a look and the church also looks interesting. Unfortunately it was locked on my visit.

Stanwick Fortifications (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Fieldnotes

Visited 5.8.16

Almost 6 years since my previous visit - where does the time go?

We were heading home after our latest adventures in Scotland and as we were in the area ish..........

The site is pretty much as I remembered although the E.H. information board is now looking the worse for wear. The depth of the excavated ditch is very impressive. From the top of the bank I would guess it must be 5-6 metres to the bottom. The bank itself is still about 3 metres high compared with the surrounding countryside.

The sky above was dark blue, the sun shone warmly and as far as the eye could see the fields were golden with wheat ready for harvesting. Across the other side of the ditch were two women training dogs to run over and through an obstacle course. I wonder what the builders of Stanwick would have made of that? :)

All in all, Stanwick is a good place to visit. Particularly when the weather is as fine as it is today.

Buchlyvie (Broch) — Miscellaneous

Drive-by 4.8.16

Immediately to the south of the A811, a short distance east of Buchlyvie which is at the junction with the B835.

The broch is next to the road and looks (in passing) for all the world like a Norman motte.

Canmore states:
The broch measures 19m in diameter, with a wall 1m in height and 5m wide. It occupies the site of an earlier timber round house.

Craighead (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 4.8.16

South West of Doune. To the north of the B8031 - next to Craighead Farm.

The cairn is easily seen from the road as a large tree covered mound. As the rest of the field was in crop I settled for a view from the road.

Canmore states:
The cairn measures 14m x 1.5m in height. Surrounded by a dry-stone wall, surmounted by trees.

Brodick (carvings) (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Fieldnotes

Visited 29.7.16

A short distance out of Brodick - along the B880.

We parked next to the metal barrier at the entrance of the forestry track and while Karen and Sophie stayed in the car, myself and Dafydd headed into the trees on another mini adventure.

There was mist in the air with a hint of light drizzle. Very atmospheric in a forestry setting. We simply walked along the track (passing a sculpture of a face carved out of a tree and someone's camping gear (although no sign of the person) All very 'Blair Witch'!

Once we reached the end of the track (10 minute walk) we carried along the 'path' for a short distance and soon spotted the large, flat rock outcrop.

The carvings were covered in pine needles and we had to brush them off as best we could. However the rock face was slippery in the wet and we had to take care not to fall. The light was far from ideal to see the carvings although we managed to make out several easily enough. Looking at the photos there were clearly many more we couldn't make out properly.

Dafydd then asked me 'what do they mean?' You can imagine the conversation which followed!

This is a fine (and relatively easy) site to visit and well worth the effort although (in my opinion) the carvings are not in the same league as the Killmartin ones - but then again - what is?

Dun Doir A'Chrorain (Hillfort) — Miscellaneous

Drive By 30.7.16

On the eastern side of the A846 - the only road on the island! The site is easily seen as a small flat-topped rock outcrop near the road.

Canmore states:
The dun measures 14m by 9m with walls up to 3m wide. Several stretches of outer facing wall is visible on the western side, in places up to 1m in height. A narrow entrance-passage is on the SW side.

Port Ellen (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 31.7.16

Drive east out of Port Ellen, past the school, and take the first track to your left (north). The stone is a little way uphill on your right. Access over the drystone wall via an old wooden stile.

It was our last day on Islay and we had to be up to catch the early morning ferry. However, I couldn't resist a quick 'cheeky visit' to one more 'old stone' before departing.

The stone is huge (well over 2m) and covered in the 'hairy' lichen I have become so fond of. This is a lovely rugged part of Islay with fine coastal views. I have really enjoyed my brief visit to Islay and Jura and would highly recommend others to do so if possible. The scenery is great, the people friendly and excellent places to visit. It was even sunny! (and they have a mobile chippy on a Friday and Saturday night in Port Ellen) - what more can you ask for!

I can see the ferry coming into port. Quick run required back to the car to make sure we don't miss it! :)

Avinagillan (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 31.7.16

From Tarbert take the A83 south and then the B8024 turn off. The stone is found about 2 miles along the B8024 on your left (east). Easily seen from the road.
Access is by hopping over a rusty metal gate.

The wooden fence is still there and this 2m stone is further protected by waist high nettles. Not good when wearing shorts! The surface of the stone is covered in green lichen.

This is a very easy stone to visit (and well worth it) if you ever happen to find yourself in Tarbert - which is in itself a nice place to visit.

Kames (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 31.7.16

As Postie says these stones are well looked after in the small but pretty village of Kames. Even the grass bank where two of the stones reside is well trimmed and neat looking. The one behind bars is also suitably manicured.

Watch out for the speed of cars on the road running through Kames - particularly at ferry departure times. As Greywether says, you pass the stones along the road if you only fancy a 'drive by'.

Nice little place Kames.

Ardnadam (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Visited 2.8.16

Follow Mr G's advice although I would add that it is not a water works you pass but in fact an electricity sub power station. If you continue walking along the track you will pass stables on your left and a field gate is immediately on your right - this allows easy access to the site.

Well, here I am again in the footsteps of Mr G - a little over two weeks since he was here. It's a small world!

There is little I can add to Mr G's fine notes other than when Dafydd peered under the capstone he was convinced he could see cup and ring marks! As you can imagine I got very excited about this and eagerly tried to see for myself. Much trampling down of vegetation and lying on the floor at various angles followed. Unfortunately all I could see was the natural uneven contours of the stone. However, Dafydd is still convinced the marks are there. I think he is mistaken but his eyesight is better than mine to be fair! Perhaps another TMAer can visit and confirm I am right? :)

Either was this is a fine tomb to visit and one which is easy enough to access. The ground is likley to be boggy in wet wheather - bring yer boots.

Balliemore (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 2.8.16

Driving along the B836 you will come to a horseshoe bend at the head of Loch Scriven. At this point (next to a bridge going over the burn) is a track north leading to a farm. The stones are easily seen in the field on your right, near the farm house.

You can access the field to the stones via a gate. The field was full of sheep and cows on my visit. As well as views down towards the loch the stones are surrounded on 3 sides by hills. It reminded me of being in Killmartin Glen - reason enough to visit these stones when passing on your way to catch the ferry to Bute.

Colintraive (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 31.7.16

The cairn can be easily seen in a field next to the Colintraive ferry terminal which takes you over to Bute.

Whilst waiting for the ferry why not visit this large (if a bit mangled) grass covered cairn? As well as having good views over to Bute the cairn also has two hawthorn trees growing out of it which look quite nice.

Canmore states:
The cairn measures 13m x 12m x 1m in height. It stands on a stony platform about 1m above the level of the field. There are two possible kerb stones on the SW side. The centre of the cairn has been extensively disturbed.

Acholter (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Miscellaneous

Drive By - 1.8.16

This small stone can be seen across a couple of fields when driving south along the A884. I couldn't spot the stone when travelling north along the same road.

From a distance the stone only appears to be about 1m in height. It appears to be leaning towards the nearby field fence/hedge.

You would need to negotiate a couple of field fences to get a closer look.

Ettrick Bay (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.8.16

Visible from the B875 (south) on Ettrick Bay.

We parked outside a rather run down house and I walked back up the road, hopped over the metal field gate and walked over to the stones. Access to the circle is via a weathered wooden kissing gate. The stones being fenced in for their protection no doubt.

Looking at Mr G's photos a lot of growth has occurred since his visit. The stones were surrounded by tall rough grass. In fact, the two small 'stumps' of stone were only visible once I had trampled the grass down.

To concur with Mr G, I also liked this circle - a lot. The views over to Arran are lovely. I am sure this point wasn't last to the builders of the circle. The 'modern' large old tree now sharing the scene with the stones merely adds to its charm.

Ettrick Bay is a very popular beach destination on Bute (we also liked it - superb views over to Arran - at the risk of repeating myself) and it is well worth paying a visit to this circle at the same time.

East Colmac (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.8.16

Visible from the B875 (south) on Ettrick Bay.

We parked next to the field gate and I simply hopped over the gate and walked over to the stone. The field had already been harvested so no problems with access.

The stone is about 2m high and has a chunk missing from its shoulder. It looked natural to my untrained eye. Surprisingly enough it didn't have the usual 'hairy' lichen on it you usually find on the Scottish islands. Ettrick Bay stone circle can be seen in the distance, with the sea beyond that. Nice stone.

Glecknabae (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.8.16

From the delightful Ettrick Bay take the minor road north along the shore. Just before you reach the parking area (where the road narrows) you will see a metal field gate on your right. The chambered cairn is visible from this gate - 2 minute walk away.

It appears I an following in the footsteps of Mr G with these reports. I am sure there are worse people to follow!

I have to disagree with Greywether about this site. I think it is well worth visiting, even if you don't get chance to visit the other sites in the area (like me!).
The surviving cist, in situ, with capstone, makes the trip worthwhile in itself. Once you factor in the superb coastal views over to the mountains of Arran it becomes an obvious place to seek out.

After spending a glorious day on the beach in the warm sunshine (a rarity no doubt) it was a great way to end the day. My last site on Bute before heading back to the mainland. Bute is an easy island to visit and small enough that you could see all the main sites in a day if you so wished. We had two nights which seemed just about right. I also managed to knock another 3 Historic Scotland sites off the list for good measure! :)

Blackpark Plantation (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.8.2016

At the southern end of Bute take the minor road south off the A844 near Kingarth. This is signposted for St Blane's Church (Historic Scotland site). You will drive past trees to our left. Take the first turning you come to on your left which leads to a small parking area next to the trees. From the parking area follow the 'path' through the ferns, into the trees, to discover the circle.

There is an information board at the car park showing the circle (and other sites) but the sign from the roadside has fallen down (hence the reason we drove past the parking area - twice!) It is only a 1 minute walk to the stones.

it has to be said, there is something special about seeing standing stones in a woodland setting - even if it is a plantation. The sun was shining brightly but the density of the trees left the circle in a sort of twilight. The first stone you come to has a metal bar helping to keep it standing. It is covered by the wet spongy moss you find in this environment. The other two stones are studded with quartz chips - some quite large. The smallest stone is built into a mound which allows all the stones to be of a similar height. This is something I can't remember seeing before? Was this part of 'restoration work' in the past or is this original? The large stone which has split in two reminds me of the stones forming the Ring of Brodger for some reason.

Either way, this is a cracking site to visit and one I would highly recommend. Once you find the parking area this is a very easy stone circle to access. Enjoy!

Tarbert (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.7.16

Once off the ferry head north along the only road on the island - A846. You will eventually come to Tarbert and a turning to the east with a large sign informing you this is a private road! Although you may not be able to drive down the road you can of course walk down it!

This large 2m+ standing stone is next to the turning in a field of sheep. Accessed via the usual field gate. The stone is covered with 'hairy' lichen and stands on an obvious low mound. There are lovely views out over Tarbert Bay.

A short distance along the 'private road' can be seen the old cemetery. Unfortunately I didn't have time to explore this. I did however see several deer - the only ones we saw on our visit to the beautiful island of Jura.

The Paps of Jura (Sacred Hill) — Miscellaneous

The 'Paps' are a magnificent sight to behold. Not only do they dominate the Jura skyline, they also dominate most of Islay. Even though we were blessed with beautiful weather the Paps summits were mostly covered in clouds although they did occasionally permit us to see them in all their glory.

They must be difficult to climb but I imagine there must be an incredible view from the top? Top marks to anyone who achieves that feat!

Knockrome (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Failed visit 30.7.2016

From the ferry terminal take the A846 north (it's the only road on the island!) When you reach Knockrome take the minor road towards Ardfernal. You will shortly come to a rough track leading south towards the shore - park here. The stones are either side of this track.

At least that is what my O/S map shows! I couldn't spot either stone. The terrain here is poor. In addition to the normal bog-like wet conditions underfoot you also have to content with chest high vegetation and many small trees and large bushes. I traipsed around, fighting my way through the very long grass, vainly hoping to spot the stones. The smaller stone (said to be 1.3m high) is shown right next to the track but I couldn't see it amongst the bushes and trees. Neither could i see the stone a little further away (said to be 1.8m high) No doubt the stones are here somewhere - but unfortunately they got the better of me!

Port Charlotte (Chambered Tomb) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.7.16

Head south out of Port Charlotte along the A847. You will shortly come to the Kilchoman Community Park / camp site on your left. There is a large car park. This ruined tomb can be seen in rough grass between two football pitches, surrounded by tents.

Although there is an information board giving details about the tomb I would imagine that most of the campers were oblivious to this ancient tomb in their midst. As Merrick correctly states, this site has the feel of being unloved, uncared for and largely forgotten. At least the unkempt long grass affords some protection? Also of course, at least it is still with us!

Although it is worth viewing when in the area, the tomb at Cragabus is a much better visiting experience.

Uiskentuie (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.7.16

This fine stone is easily seen when driving along the A847, just west of the junction with the B8017. There is plenty of room to park on the wide grass verge. Access to the field is via a metal field gate - so an easy stone to visit. There are fine views to be had across Loch Indaal.

Was this stone erected as a 'marker' for sea-going travelers? It would make sense?
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I have visited both historic and prehistoric sites for a number of years but since 'discovering' this website my visits have spiralled out of control!
I am now out 'exploring' as often as possible and have been to many wonderful places I didn't even know existed before using this website.
Having visited all the CADW sites I am now trying to visit all the E.H. sites and as many H.S. sites as possible.
In trying to achieve these goals I get to travel all around the country and with it the chance to visit as many sites as possible mentioned on this fine website. I hope some of you find my contributions a little helpful?
I have certainly found the contributions made by others to be both very informative and often quite amusing!
I must also mention the lovely Karen whom without her help, encouragement and understanding I would not be able to visit half of the places I do.
I am forever grateful.

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