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Fowlis Wester Standing Stones

October 2002.

Visited here with my 2 oldest friends Norie of the photos and George. We didn't tell George where we were going - but anyway.

Asked permission from the old couple at Crofthead Farm and went to the stones.

The higher up, north pair of standing stones sit quietly at the side of a stream. I read on the Ancient Scotland website that the tip of the tallest of these two stones may mirror a distant peak in the Lomond Hills on the Southern horizon above the Keillour Forest.

A hundred yards to the south, down the hill are two large boulder type stones which may be the remains of one stone which has been split.

The megalithic culture remained strong in this area - you can visit a giant pictish carved stone inside the church in the village - there is also a full sized replica of this stone which stands in the village.

We headed out towards Perth.

Dalchirla (Standing Stones)

We parked and asked permission at Dalchilra farm.

The stones sit low on the Machany Water Valley downstream from the Dunruchan Hill stones.

The solitary north-western stone stands proud about 12 feet from the level of the field although it's hard to judge it's true size as it looks as if it may be propped up by the pile of stones which surround it. This looks as if it might be a re-erection job although it's hard to say. If this is the original state of the monument then it's pretty unusual.

The two other stones sit in a nearby field to the south-east.
The larger of the two stones has weathered cup markings on it's east face near to the base of the stone.

Kinnell of Killin (Stone Circle)


We walked from the village car park, over the disused railway bridge over the Dochart and then into the estate. We got permission at the house and cautiously walked passed the cows and calves.

The sun was hot but the field the ground was heavy as it had been raining heavily the previous day.

What a place though. It's such a well preserved, compact little circle. The River, just a few hundred yards to the west of the circle, flows northwards towards Loch Tay.

I sat down in the middle of the circle and heard kids playing by the house, the peacock and a chainsaw up in the woods above the field with the rocky, Sron a Chlachain looking down from the west.

The Caiy Stane (Standing Stone / Menhir)

I visited this site with an old friend who was doing the driving. We spent the best part of an hour driving around housing schemes in the rain and would never have found the stone without the directions of some helpful locals (should have checked out Martin's directions properly before setting out).

We found the stone standing, still proud at the side of the street - and what a presence it has!

And then you go round the back and there, along with some cup markings, is the paint. I dont know what cup markings are all about and I don't know what function graffitti serves - given the absence of young male passage and identity rituals in our small, small world, maybe it's the same!? And then again......

It could do with being cleaned up though.

The Auld Knowe (Stone Circle)

Big mistake.

Myself and Norie visited this place during lambing season during post-foot and mouth paranoia. Norie's brother Robert, who can't walk too well, chose to sit in the car.

The lambs weren't bothered, in fact they kept wandering up to us with their families and bleating - loads of them - and that noise can be a bit scary. It bypasses all defences and goes straight to the soul.

We got to the stones eventually after some map confusion (see miscellanious section).

This is a sad remains and was surely something more grand before the farmers got thier hands on it. There are now 3 main stones which seem to have been dumped a couple of hundred metres away from the original stone circle site. However, it still sits in a beautiful place near the south bank of the Teith a few hundred metres south of the Auld Knowe. The Auld Knowe is a natural and no doubt sacred hillock which has iron age remains.

We climbed the knowe and enjoyed the view whilst having a smoke.

Then on the road below a pick up truck stopped and the guy driving started shouting at us from the bottom of his bastard soul about the lambs and how we should not be there. I thought he was going to kill us and we walked towards him, I was thinking "we come in peace" and Norie was muttering about how there were no signs up and how there are no tresspass laws in Scotland. With no solicitors present, try telling that to a rosy cheeked farming psycho! I feared a messy confrontation. It didn't happen though and the guy drove off still calling us all the bastards of the day.

Yup, we shouldn't have gone there and I'll maybe seek permission the next time I go into farmland. This was a couple of months ago now and those cute wee curious lambs are probably lying in bits in the refridgeration section in a supermarket somewhere far away (£6.00 per kilo).

With that in mind and with me being aware of my own bouts of greed, I think I now understand the anger.

We drove to Callander and chilled out with a couple of Guinness.

Glenhead Standing Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

This stone sits about 600 metres directly to the north of the stone row. It sits right at the edge of a wood just east of Glenhead farm. The stone is over 7 feet high and about the same wide and has a broad, strong presence. The stone looks to have patches of very fragile, light coloured quartz and has very weathered cup markings on its eastern face.

There is a rusty old metal fence post which has been driven into the stone and secured with what looks like concrete.

It is not in alignment with the stone row and it's now hard to tell if it would have been visible from the stone row.

Glenhead Stone Row (Stone Row / Alignment)

The monument sits in a field between Doune and Dunblane and are just visible from the B824.

There are three (*possibly four stones) in a clear NNE - SSW alignment. There are good views to both horizons along the alignment. The southernmost stone sits at an angle and would have been around 7 or 8 feet high when upright. The middle stone is about 4 and a half feet and is short and stubby with nearly 30 cup markings on it's flat surface. The north stone is also at an angle and would have been about 6 feet high.
*There is another stone which lies prostrate, to the immediate north of the alignment. If this was a seperate standing stone, the way it looks to have fallen suggests that it was not in alignment with the rest. Of course this stone may have been moved. It is generally thought that the prostrate stone is actually a broken piece of the northern most standing stone which it lies beside.

The stones are set in gently undulating countryside about a mile north of the River Teith carselands.
There are good views of the Gargunnock and Touch Hills to the south and the Ochils to the east and the mountains around Callander to the north west. When we visited Ben Ledi to the north west was snow capped and looked fierce and volcanic, like Mount Fuji.
Dumyat to the south west of the Ochils also looked prominent.

There was a strange modern stone sculpture being erected at the entrance to the field. There was also loads of building materials which suggested someone was building a house with the stone sculpture as a centrepiece - will check this out at a later date.

There was freezing wind and we left to find the other stone near Glenhead farm.

Auchterarder (Standing Stones)

I spent the walk from Gleneagles railway station moaning about golfers, golf courses, enormous houses, the lack of pavements, the unfair distribution of wealth, blah blah blah.....and the kids rightly had other things to think about and enjoyed the walk.

The monument sits right on the junction of Easthill Road and Tullibardine Road on the outskirts of Auchterarder. There are three standing stones, one in the middle of the junction and two on an embankment opposite.

This isn't a relaxing place - it's a bit like the Leys of Marlee in the sense that you're always on the look out for the next Range Rover to come flying round the corner. I took the photos quickly and we didn't hang around as the kids wanted to go to the pub in Auchterarder.

There was snow on the hills at the other side of Strathearn to the distant North.

The roads dont look new and there were roadworks present at the junction when we visited - here's hoping that the stones are treated with more sympathy than they have been in the past.

Auchenlaich Cairn (Chambered Cairn)


I visited this site with no real idea of the scale of the place. Auchenlaich is the longest megalithic burial cairn in Britain.

Today, Auchenlaich Cairn consists of a ridge of grassed over stones which stretches for over 350 metres in a perfectly straight line, from a field adjacent to the Auchenlaich camping site and well into another field to the north. A farm track cuts right across the middle of the cairn. Auchenlaich runs in a NNW to SSE direction and sits in the flat valley of the Keltie Water, less than a mile east of the town of Callander.
The highlands rise from the central lowlands immediately to the north and west , with the mighty presence of Ben Ledi just a few miles to the west.

There is one burial chamber opened in the south section of the monument and there are also small piles of what looks like recently excavated stones along the south section.
It's hard to take in the sheer size of this place and almost as hard to get a good photo - the place is crying out to be photographed from the air.

There must have been so many burials and possibly cremations here, that a walk along this 350 metres must have been a linear journey of legend, pain and joy of life - a life shared with the spirits.

The Hills of Dunipace (Sacred Hill)

I've been here before, sometimes just sitting in the parked car in the rain. I came here this morning, walking from the town of Denny 2 miles to the west. It was a bit overcast, but so warm, and you could smell the soil and the grass for the first time this year. It felt like the first day of spring and my serotonin was doing it's feel good best.
The smaller, less conical hill is fenced off, and I left it there as there were cemetery workers keeping a suspicious eye on me. I walked around the larger more formed hill to the SE and took it in from all angles. What a site!
It's over 20metres high and 60 metres diameter at the base and has steep sides and a flattish top.
I climbed on top of the larger hill and watched the maturing Carron flow east and listened to the rushing of the motorway behind me. Despite all the pylons, the M-way and b-roads there is something very special and calming about sitting up on the flattened summit. I sat for ages until a funeral procession arrived in the modern cemetery below me, and at that I left.
I crossed the bridge and walked down the south side of the Carron for a few hundred yards to try and figure where the old ford was. I found an old industrial wier, so I gave up on the ford.
Walking on to Larbert on the B905 I turned back and realised that this was the direction I should have travelled from. Coming from Larbert on this road, you turn a corner and the valley floor opens up before you with the SE hill resting magically and with prominence, like a small Silbury.

Gogar Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Visited here in 2000 when a friend was working at nearby Roddenlaw. I'm sure I'd seen this stone before that day - from the train maybe??

Dumgoyach Stones (Stone Row / Alignment)

Came here with Martin and Norie in late 2000. After walking through the woods past Dumgoyach Hill, we sat and watched the comings and goings of a gardener at Duntreath Castle and the ramblers at the summit of Dumgoyne Hill, through the binoculars. This alignment (of which only one stone remains standing)is set on top of a shallow raise in the green Strathblane, between the Kilpatrick Hills to the west and the Campsies to the east. I didn't feel at all well that day, but typically did not tell anyone.

Newgrange (Passage Grave)

We went on a family holiday in about 1978 or '79 in Tulliallan, near Drogheda, and during the holiday we visited Newgrange.
I remember thinking that day that the surrounding wall looked a bit like the Battle of Bannockburn memorial rotunda which is an odd modernist, 60's stylised thing which is a few hundred yards from where we lived at the time.
I definitely remember squatting down with my Dad who was trying to explain something about the sunlight coming through a passage on a certain special day.
I want to come back here and try to see past all the touristy stuff.

Pathfoot Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

At the other side of the man-made Loch Airthrey from the Airthrey Stone (about 800m W of it) stands the Pathfoot Stone.
This 11 ft giant sits on top of an embankment at the side of Hermitage Road close to the Stirling University student blocks. When you stand at the bottom of the embankment, the stone imposes itself over you with trees behind it. It really has a huge presence.
Despite it being a bit patched up with concrete and the surrounding university building and landscaping(see misc.), its a great place to just come, sit, chill out, people watch and have your lunch, as I've done a few times before.

Hill of Airthrey Fairy Knowe (Cairn(s))

I've been up here once before , in November 2000. I walked up through the old copper mine wood from Bridge of Allan. The old copper mines possibly made this whole place a place of added power during the bronze age.

The cairn sits at the edge green 11 of the Bridge of Allan golf course. It is a lot smaller than it used to be according to Faechem's Prehistoric Scotland - a lot of the stones were removed for the usual dyke building. I think there were some goodies found by the victorian robbers, although I'll update this when I get Faechem's book from the library again.

The view sitting on the cairn is amazing - the hills rise up slowly from the other side of Strathallan and then further away to the NW the higher highland mountains are THERE. The Forth Valley and Stirling town are spread out down to the west.

I made my way back down to Bridge of Allan, following the old cattle droving road.

I'll be back here with a camera.

03/02/02 And back I came. Well worth the climb from Bridge of Allan.

Stone of Mannan (Standing Stone / Menhir)

I first saw this stone when I was still at school and used to hang around here with a friend who lived nearby.
This sturdy, giant, 12 foot stone stands in the centre of the small county town of Clackmannan.
The stone almost certainly doesn't sit in the original landscape but has been revered in history and folklore throughout different ages and now is a symbol of the fierce independance of the old county of Clackmannanshire.
You wont usually find this a particularly serene place, but it is worth the visit, if for no other reason, than to check out the extraordinary phallic nature of this monument - the main part of the stone is at a slight angle and has a large and seperate boulder sitting on top.
It's an absolute rager, sitting right in the middle of this traditional and sleepy looking Scottish town centre.

Parkmill (Standing Stone / Menhir)

-In memory of Dixie and Jeanette-
This stone sits in a field just off the main Alloa to Kincardine road. Comely bank is the raised glacial beach between Alloa and Clackmannan, which overlooks the carselands of the Forth Valley to the south with a sweeping view of the [Ochil] Hillfoots to the north.
The stone is a striking slab, which leans at a slight angle, and when you see it from the main road it's 9ft sits on the horizon.
The only feature which gets mentioned is a cross which has been carved onto one side. If the intention of the christian carver[s] were to take mystery and power away from this stone, then it has worked in the sense that it is pretty much ignored nowadays (this of course, could also be a good thing in a way) as the carving makes the stone very unusual and difficult for the historians to fit it easily into any one culture - it just seems to throw everyone. The cross is pretty crude and certainly less intricate than the usual pictish/celtic stones (as has been the suggested origin of the stone) and looks pretty much like a paranoid and rushed christianisation of a previously revered and ancient thing. For these reasons, it seems, no-one wants to claim or talk about this stone. It doesn't even really have a name.
I first visited this site 5 years ago at 2 in the morning with Norie (of the photos) and 2 other night travellers Dixie and the sober Jeanette. Dixie was enthusiastic about this site, had (proffesionally) photographed it several times and that night offered to be our guide while the ever patient and benevolent landlady, Jeannette taxied us there. The guys waded through, what we christened mad grass, a thick stalky crop which took forever to get through, while Jeannete waited with the engine running. We got there eventually (although it should be easier to visit now as the field is more accessable now and folk will of course be more responsible and clearer of mind than we were).
Despite all the confusion, this stone is worth the visiting.
This stone, like Hully Hill, now has it's own nearby MacDonalds for spiritual and bodily nourishment.

Ri Cruin & the Great X of Kilmartin

We visited this site in Feb. 2000. We just wandered around this valley floor all day - you need loads of time for all the jewels that the people left us here. The great X is one of them. We wandered and wondered round this unique monument.
The overall alignment of this whole monument is approximately the same as the cairn cemetry, the valley and the river. I cant say any more - it's like much of this valley - a beautiful mystery.

Braes of Fowlis (Stone Circle)

The 2 circles here, sit high on moorland on the Braes of Fowlis above the hamlet of Fowlis Wester.
We headed for a strange looking dark, brick ruin and found the circles.
The stones in both circles have either fallen/pushed or were originally boulder like, but the circles remain obvious and tight. The 9 stoned eastern circle, once had 12 stones and has a rocked cairn mound in the centre.
There is also an outlying monolith close to the circles, which stands upright and strong, contrasting with the low lying circles.
According to the Ancient Scotland website (see links) Aubrey Burl visited this area and wasn't too impressed - the writer suggested our Aub was having a bad day.
It is a strange site. The only thing you see on approach is the monolith and you only get the whole site when it is under your nose.
I felt it was well worth coming here, and we wanted to hang about longer, but the sun was down and I was probably hungry.

Tuilyies (Standing Stones)

This intriguing site sits in a large grassed field, between the A985 on the north and a freight railway to the south. The Tuilyies stone is visible from the main road, just west of the Torryburn roundabout.
From the site, the Firth of Forth is visible through the trees near the railway to the south.
The site consists of the main standing stone, (an 8ft., stunning, worn and cup marked thing, which sits in the field like an old flipper, or praying hands), and three smaller and less weathered boulders which sit in the field nearby.
Myself and a freind visited this site in late 1999 and hung about for a while. I took a walk around the large field to see if there were any other surprises. There is what looks like an old WW2 defensive brick built thing nearby and funny, but recent looking earthworks. There were a couple of faint undulations in the field which made me wonder.
Probably the River Forth estuary (which is about a mile away) and possibly Cairnpapple (about 10 miles to the south, on the other side of the river) were important to this place. I forgot to check the Cairnpapple thing out - I'll make a poiint of this the next time I'm passing.
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