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

Pitcur Souterrain



Pitcur Souterrain, Perthshire
Sunday 16/9/01, 11:30am
I'm sitting here at the end of the only remaining roofed section of this massive souterrain writing by the light of my caving helmet. The stillness in here is breathtaking. It's not really as cold as other sites I've been to- I'm sitting in my T-shirt and waterproof trousers. This whole site is, unfortunately, in a bad state. I've read in "The Souterrains of Southern Pictland" by F.T. Wainwright (1963) that there were two botched excavations (i.e.- treasure hunts) and that all of the finds have been lost. The whole place is in need of some clearing- along the unroofed sections I found it impossible to walk due to trees growing in the structure, weeds up to my neck and precariously balanced roof lintels still in place at certain parts. Even back in 1963 in the aforementioned book it was described as "site is most depressing, waist deep in nettles, and with trees and bushes growing in the souterrain". However, this roofed part that I'm in just now is pretty well preserved- and big- about 17 m long and high enough to stand in at sections. At this end the earth floor rises up to meet the roof lintels, but I'm sure this is a recent feature- other souterrains I've been in have all ended with solid stone. I've carefully placed some candles along the length of the chamber, but it's not really too dark in here. There are also many remains of some not too carefully placed candles! Time to go back outsideƉBack at the entrance to the remaining roofed section- it looks as if there was a gate or even iron bars barring the entrance at one time. Whoa! I've just noticed an amazing cup marked stone on the left of the roofed section. There are also two small side chambers off to the right, one just before the roofed section which is blocked with earth and the other just inside- stone lined and v. small. Back up on ground level and to the right of the roof there is a 1 by 1.5 m approx. cup and ring marked rock lying horizontally with about 30 cup marks, many with associated rings. This is a really huge and complex site, but the condition and overgrowth make it doubly difficult to get an idea of- a case of not seeing the souterrain for the trees!
Note- another souterrain- more cup (and ring) marked stones. Most of these sites I've visited have rock carvings, yet, I've read that these were places of storage. Why go to the effort of carving (probably magickal) symbols in a cellar? Doesn't ring quite true with me.

From Coupar Angus (North of Perth on the A94), take the A923 towards Dundee. Just after the second crossroads (signed Collace and Newtyle) look out for Pitcur farm and cottages on the right hand side. Stop off here and ask permission- I spoke to a manny in the second cottage who said the farmer was quite happy for folk to visit- "aye they get school kids and even folk from as far awa as Fife visitin"! He also said he's always meant to have a look at the 'caves', but never gone up with his torch. Back out of the farm road turn back left again and just down the road on the right hand side there's a line of fence/wall/bushes/telegraph poles separating two fields. Walk up this and the souterrain in is the fenced off area- you can't miss the weeds n trees!
Posted by Martin
20th September 2001ce

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