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


Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art


August 1998, Achnabreck Cup-and-Ring Marked Rocks, Argyll.
About 15 years ago I started becoming interested in stone circles, monoliths, cairns etc. and one of the first books I bought was a small paperback (which still goes everywhere with me!) called "Scotland Before History" by Stuart Piggot. I was only really familiar with the ancient monuments around Perthshire's country and often read about and gazed at many of the photos of other sites. I tried to imagine positions of the monuments in the land in which they are found- Achnabreck is described as a "spectacular area of cup and ring markings on the edge of a forest".
Now its August 1998 and I find myself in the magickal country of Argyll. We're battling through clouds of flying ants (believe it or not) up a well trod path next to some fine forest. We made it through the insects and now the country around starts to open up and we are greeted with beautiful views down to the Crinan Canal and the fields and forests around us. Ahead of us I can see them- the area is made just a bit obvious due to the massive stone outcrop being surrounded by the Hisoric Scotland-grey fence and wooden walkways. At first all the designs are half-hidden in the late summer sun, but once I move along the path the shadows start to pick out the circles in the stone and then its as if a great veil is lifted and the whole great stone slab resonates with circles and cup-marks. Before I know it I'm over the fence and crouching beside the rock. I know I should really not be on this side but these places belong to us as much as they are cared for by Historic Scotland. Of course I'm extremely careful not to tread or kneel on the rock face but I manage to stretch across the rock from my crouched perch on the grass. I need to feel the rough stone with my own hands and to trace a circle with my fingers.....
Posted by Martin
1st April 2000ce

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