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Lagg (Chambered Tomb) — Fieldnotes

How shocking are the differences in site preservation.

This is a monument of the same age and type as Torrylin, so close you can almost shout to it, and they're lumped together with one 'Chambered Cairns' on the OS map, yet Torrylin gets signposts from the road, an info board and bought for posterity while this is lost among gorse and the wallstones are being pulled out by cows clambering to the summit.

A round mound about 2m high and 10m across, only two stones are visible, a pair of uprights in the chamber sticking up about 6 or 8 inches out of the grass. This is enough to show that it definitely doesn't align on Ailsa Craig, nor Torrylinn, nor anything else so neat and romantic.

The chamber's on a roughly NE/SW axis.

The view today has the Scottish and Irish mountains, the tip of Kintyre, Sanda and Ailsa Craig.

Directions. It looks a bit tricky to find, but it's not that bad really. From Kilmory and Lagg, head west for half a mile. There's a sign 'Cart Track Cleats Shore'. Go down this track. After the gate, it bends right. The sharp cliff-drop in the land comes in to join the track 200m further on. It's between the gate and the cliff-join that you want to head east. Go down the slope to the open flat fields, cross the stream, and halfway between that and the big buttressed wall, head uphill. It's a cleared mound among gorse just at the top of the slope.

visited 11 June 05

Lagg (Chambered Tomb) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Lagg</b>Posted by Merrick<b>Lagg</b>Posted by Merrick

Largybeg (Standing Stones) — Images

<b>Largybeg</b>Posted by Merrick<b>Largybeg</b>Posted by Merrick<b>Largybeg</b>Posted by Merrick

Largybeg (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

What an arresting position! As you walk down the hill the stones are glaring back up at you, set out on a flat promontory surrounded by sea. This looks like the kind of setting standing stones have in Victorian paintings of druids but never in real life.

Once down here, you find two stones on a north-south axis. The northern, leaning at about 20 degrees, is about 3 foot high, the southern one's about 4 foot. Both are heavily pocked with great rounded gouges of weathering.

At this place, Ailsa Craig has come into view. The stones are aligned on a straight line between Ailsa Craig and the mountain of Holy Island.

Furthermore – although I'm not sure how much is me wanting to see this – the contours of the top of the southern stone approximate the shape of Ailsa Craig whilst the northern are similar to Holy Island.

This is a beautiful place. Dramatic rock formations act as a plinth to idling cormorants, we watch a hare career back up the hill, and a gang of gannets wheel in the air and dive for fish.

Once more, I'm thankful for the amazing places stones bring me to and I could sit here all day.

Directions: Park on the road. Follow the track between the houses down. After 500m or so, once you're on a similar elevation to the stones and just before the steps down to Shore Cottage, there's a stile on your left.

visited 10 June 05

Monamore (Chambered Tomb) — Images

<b>Monamore</b>Posted by Merrick

Cultoon (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>Cultoon</b>Posted by Merrick<b>Cultoon</b>Posted by Merrick<b>Cultoon</b>Posted by Merrick<b>Cultoon</b>Posted by Merrick

Cultoon (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

From the mini-circle of Adilistry yesterday to this catering size mutha today. Both the scale and the setting of this circle are utterly breathtaking.

Set on the dome of a small hill with intermittent views down to the Atlantic for 180 degrees, with the strange knobbly mountain of Beinn Tart a'Mhill bearing down from the east, the sense of centrality and grandness is almost overpowering.

It seems to have originally been about 15 or 20 stones, from 5 to 8 or 9 feet tall. It's 35 big paces across. Sadly, only two stones still stand (although greyweather's field notes suggest some were never erected in the first place). Oddly, of the two that remain standing, facing each other east-west, the western seems to have been one of the very smallest.

While many lie fallen, some stones at the edge seem too wrongly proportioned to have been circle stones.

Strangely, a kerb of smaller stones – fist size to head size – runs between all the standing stones.

A hundred metres or so to the west, the main sea view, is a peculiar round barrow type mound. Though not marked as a cairn on the OS map the shape is certainly anomalous and eye-catching, and Greywether's photo caption unequivocally calls it a cairn.

Far flung but well worth it. Imagining this place with all the stones up is really intense.

visited 16 June 05

Glenreasdale Mains (Chambered Cairn) — Images

<b>Glenreasdale Mains</b>Posted by Merrick<b>Glenreasdale Mains</b>Posted by Merrick

Glenreasdale Mains (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Standing in the field a few metres behind the house and clearly visible from the road. This was only a very brief visit, as we were hurtling across Kintyre to get the ferry to Arran and had not a lot of time to spare.

As with many of the other chambered cairns we've seen on this trip, this has a feeling of uncaredness and degradation. It seems battered about, with stones leaning at an assortment of angles.

It stands on private land. We knocked at the house but got no replay, so went and had a look. We noticed we were being peered at by curtain twitchers whilst doing so!

visited 18 June 05

Finlaggan (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Finlaggan</b>Posted by Merrick

Finlaggan (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

This strikingly flat sided stout stone stands at the head of Loch Finlaggan, north-east of the Loch's islands.

The stone is about 6 feet high, four and a half feet wide and two feet deep.

The loch has three islands. Two were the seat of the Lord of The Isles, the rulers of the whole of this part of Western Scotland from the 12th-14th centuries. The ruins of the Lord of The Isles' buildings still stand and are well worth the visit if you're here for the stone. They're open any time with good info boards.

The larger island is clearly natural, but the second one, used for the Council of The Isles and proclamations, is the same small and perfectly round shape as the crannog farther down the loch.

This second island has Iron Age fort remains below the Lord of The Isles stuff. That, and the presence of this stone a few hundred yards away, says this was a power base of great significance for millennia, and why the Lords chose it in the first place.

visited 18 June 05

Gartacharra (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Gartacharra</b>Posted by Merrick<b>Gartacharra</b>Posted by Merrick<b>Gartacharra</b>Posted by Merrick

Gartacharra (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

On the hill 300m or so behind the farm, this stone is easily 10 feet tall, and 3 feet wide. It stands on a NE/SW axis, edge-on to the Paps of Jura, with a sweeping view over the Bruichladdich distillery over north Loch Indaal to Bowmore/Bogh Mor. It stands on private land with no public access – ask for permission at the farmhouse, the farmer's very friendly.

visited 17 June 05

Port Charlotte (Chambered Tomb) — Images

<b>Port Charlotte</b>Posted by Merrick

Port Charlotte (Chambered Tomb) — Fieldnotes

This sad ruin stands just south of Port Charlotte/ Port Sgiobha.

Tucked in the long grass at the corner of the football field of Kilchoman Community Park, the chamber walls have nine stones standing plus one chamber divider.

There's a lot of pebbles and other stones around in a haphazard rubbish-tip style. It's impossible for me to tell which way round it stood. The chamber's roughly north-south, and I'd guess the entrance was at the north from the hints of mound at the south. But maybe that's just cos the rest of the land's been cleared and levelled for the playing fields.

This is surely the only place where you can kick a ball wide of the goal and have it land in a 5,000 year old death monument. We certainly didn't have that in the park where I grew up.

I've seen places in worse condition, but something about this place depresses me beyond its state of preservation. It's the way it seems tipped out of a dumper truck as mess at the edge of a municipal sports ground. The (surely expensive) marbled info board is generic and says nothing about this site. It shows an intact cairn and says it's a Neolithic monument but nothing about its use. I cleared assorted plastic and broken glass from the chamber floor.

To add to the uneasy vibe, two grey navy ships came up Loch Indaal as we approached, and they're now passing back out between me and Laggan Point. The view across the water to Beinn Bhan and the mountains of the east, round to The Strand and The Oa are rich and impressive, somehow simultaneously imposing and soothing, but this site is a sorry place indeed.

Visited 16 June 05

Uiskentuie (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Standing on a ridge of low hill overlooking Loch Indaal, barely 300m from the sea, this blue stone stands 10 feet tall, 5 feet wide at the base, and 2 feet thick.

On a SE/NW axis, with the flat side facing NE. The stringy lichen has bald patches revealing white quartz lumps in the stone. There's a tremendous view down the loch with Beinn Tart a'Mhill jumping in on the SW and a sweep of mountains to the east. On a clear day the Paps of Jura should be staring down over this, too, but today there is the prevalent Islay mist.

We camped the night just the other side of the road on the flat grass by the beach and awoke to cows, lapping waves and a view to the Bowmore and Bruichladdich distilleries. Perfect.

Visited 15 June 05

Uiskentuie (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Uiskentuie</b>Posted by Merrick

Ardilistry (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

You never know what you're going to get when a map says 'stone circle'.

This is the smallest stone circle I've ever seen. Four tiny stones, ranging from 6 inches to 30 inches high – though of course there may be a little more under the peat – in a circle about 8 feet across. Lying across it, I can touch one side with my toes and the other side with my finger tips!

The stones are rich local blue stone, and the east and west stones have defined grooves in the top, possibly aligned on the striking breast hill Cnoc Rhaonastil to the south.

The circle is hidden among the grasses. Coming from Port Ellen/Port Eilein, after the track on your right to the house called Ardilistry, about 400m on there's a passing place lay-by. Park here, walk straight into the field perpendicular to the road (waterproof boots strongly advised!). The long outcrop in front of you levels out for about 100m before another outcrop starts on the right near the house. The stones are at the right hand end of the left hand outcrop, on a flat ridge at the same elevation as the road.

Visited 15 June 05

Ardilistry (Stone Circle) — Images

<b>Ardilistry</b>Posted by Merrick

Druim nam Madagan (Torradale) (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

This stands (or rather, leans) adjacent to a natural rectangular area of rocks that suggests a very ruined chambered cairn, all stones on end and right angles.

The stone is 6 feet tall, 3 feet wide, less than a foot deep, on an ESE/WSW axis. It leans at about 30 degrees and is propped up by a mound.

There's a clear line of sight uphill to the Kilbride stone.

Visited 14 June 05

Druim nam Madagan (Torradale) (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Druim nam Madagan (Torradale)</b>Posted by Merrick

Kilbride (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Another of the deep glowing rich blue stone monoliths, standing on an unusually level field above the bay. On a roughly E/W axis, it is about 10 feet tall, 18 inches deep and 3 feet wide.

Looking to the east, the eye is caught by the odd lump of the peak of Cnoc Crun na Maoil (I think).

Just over the brow as you head downhill, at the left in front of the little copse is the outline of the walls of the Kilbride chapel, and beyond a clear line of sight to Druim nam Madagan (Torradale) standing stone. There's also a view to the loch where the water for Laphroaig whisky comes from down to the distillery itself and the sea.

Visited 14 June 05

Kilbride (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Kilbride</b>Posted by Merrick

Port Ellen (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Port Ellen</b>Posted by Merrick

Port Ellen (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Monstrously tall, roughly 14 feet high, 3feet wide and 18 inches thick, on a WNW/ESE axis, and about ten metres from a rocky outcrop (possible ur-sacred site?).

The material is a dark blue stone covered – above the level of livestock using it as a rubbing post – in that stringy green lichen that you only find in places with very clean air. There is a fabulous view out to the open sea.

Clearly visible on your left as you go along the A846 from Port Ellen/Port Eilein to Ardbeg. Don't bunk the fence – there's a stile by a dip in the wall beside the minor road that runs up from opposite the new water treatment works into the hills.

Visited 14 June 05

Monyquil (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Monyquil</b>Posted by Merrick<b>Monyquil</b>Posted by Merrick

Monyquil (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

As with all the chambered cairns we've seen on Arran, this one's suffered a lot of damage but is still well worth a visit as the size of the mound is still well defined.

Around 30m long and 5m or 6m wide standing in a flat clear field, it makes a big impression. To sit here and superimpose this scale of mound on Torrylinn and the others we've seen makes them even more impressive.

It's orientated on a roughly WNW/ESE axis. The top has been much dug into, and indeed it's not clear to me which end is which. At the east end there are several uprights poking up in the centre which strongly imply the chambers. At the west end there's a Batman ear shaped stone, the classic 'doorpost', recumbent. Plus, the mound seems a bit wider at the west end.

In the field boundary to the west lies a large stone possibly removed from the monument (or a former standing stone?).

About 25m to the north of the mound stands a stone, 7 feet high, Batman ear shaped, on a NW/SE axis, flat side facing NE. Less than a mile to the east, the ridge of the hill of An Tunna points straight at us, with an ancient earthwork a third of the way up marked 'fort' on the map.

The Monyquil monuments are on private land – ask at the house for permission.

Visited 12 June 05

Torrylin (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

It's worth mentioning that this is one of the few wheelchair accessible megalithic sites. The track up from Kilmory post office is 800m, untarmacked and on inclines so you'd probably want a push, but nothing horribly steep. No steps, no gates (except a wide one at the stones).

Incidentally, when the path forks 300m in from the post office, take the right hand one. They meet up again later, but the left goes steeply uphill and back down again to do it.

Looking along the coast to the west, there's a cairn barely 500m away just across the burn, and another chambered cairn, Lagg or Torrylinn 2, a few hundred metres beyond that just after the big buttressed wall thing.

It's got all the sanitised feel of a municipally restored showpiece, but still the view out to Ailsa Craig is wonderful, and it's well worth the visit.

visited 10 June 05

Monamore (Chambered Tomb) — Fieldnotes

On a hillside amidst vast brutal pine plantations, this chambered cairn stands on a north-south axis. The two portal stones are around 5 feet high and in the Batman ear shape like Aberdeenshire flanker stones, with one of the other frontal stones about 2 feet high beside.

The chamber is 10 feet long and about five feet deep, set 2 feet below entrance level so that the chambers would have been half above and half below ground. The vertical divider walls are intact, if heavily mossed and lichened in the damp clean air of this clearing in the forest.

There are two of the internal dividing stones recumbent on the floor of the chamber.

For all the environmental havoc wrought by pine plantations, there's a sense of stillness here so far from the roads, with the soft rushing of wind in the treetops and the occasional slow creak.

The site itself has a tremendous feeling of focus – not dark or spooky in any way, but certainly a jangler of your psyche.

Regarding the name Meallach's Grave, which is so official that it appears on the signposts instead of Monamore: Is Meallach a mythical character? Is there any connection with the twin peaks of Holy Island being called Mallach Mor and Mallach Beag ('big Mallach' and 'small Mallach')?

Directions: From Lamlash, turn on to the Ross Road. Half a mile from Lamlash, just before the cattle grid and the road goes single-track, there's a place signed 'Forestry Commission Dyemill' with a car park and picnic tables. In there, take the dirt road going straight ahead, not the one to the right. 'Kilmory 9 miles, Whiting Bay 4 and a half miles' says the sign just past the gated roadbridge. You can't drive this dirt road but you can walk or cycle. About half a mile in a green Forestry Commission signpost points off the track to the west, and a couple of hundred metres into the woods there's another one pointing south. Meallach's Grave is in a small clearing about 400m in.

Visited 10 June 05

Lamlash Stone Circle — Fieldnotes

Clearly visible on the east side of the A841 and marked merely 'stones' on the OS map, this circle's five metres across, with an outlier stone about 20 metres south-east on an east-west axis.

Three grey stones about five foot high and stout, with a smaller fallen one and several tiny stones lying around, seemingly recent additions.

Goat Fell glowers down from the north and although we're on a slightly raised bit of land here we're still sunk just below sight of the immense bulk of Holy Island.

Directions: 100m south of the circle there's a dirt road turn-off. Park here. From this point there's a footpath up to Donan Beag and Donan Mor chambered cairns, a kilometre south-east of here in the woods.

Visited 9 June 05

The Longstone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>The Longstone</b>Posted by Merrick

Parc y Garreg (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Parc y Garreg</b>Posted by Merrick

Devil's Quoit (Burial Chamber) — Images

<b>Devil's Quoit</b>Posted by Merrick

Cerrig Meibion Arthur (Standing Stones) — Images

<b>Cerrig Meibion Arthur</b>Posted by Merrick

Garn Wen (Burial Chamber) — Images

<b>Garn Wen</b>Posted by Merrick<b>Garn Wen</b>Posted by Merrick

Rhos y Clegyrn (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Rhos y Clegyrn</b>Posted by Merrick

Garnwnda (Burial Chamber) — Images

<b>Garnwnda</b>Posted by Merrick<b>Garnwnda</b>Posted by Merrick

Parc Hen Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Images

<b>Parc Hen Stone</b>Posted by Merrick
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