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Callanish via Perthshire with surprise guest stones – Part 2

PART 1 is here

The blokes from the pub poke about in and around KillinThis one's got rocks in
As you may know, I've decided to break the account of my trip into instalments to make it more 'readable'. Part 1 was more whys, wherefores and hows – it didn't really have rocks in. This one has.

At the house of the strangely-trousered man
Wednesday 30 April 2003 (continued)
Just before reaching the Falls of Dochart on the way into Killin from the West, I had gleefully pointed out the Acharn Standing Stone on the edge of the road on the right.

Repositioned and not the most spectacular monolith in the world, the important thing was that it's a STONE!! The sight of what was, after all, the first stone of the trip heightened our giddy state, but we were able to remain calm enough to check in at our B&B before doing anything else.

Here we were greeted by a pleasant, rather earnest chap dressed permanently (at least for the length of our stay) in those elasticated, baggy, boldly-patterned 'pants' much beloved of muscley-types and some hikers and climbers a few years ago. Don't know why I mention this, but I do. His weren't very baggy actually.

After a short scuffle over who had which bed*, John and I dumped our stuff in our small but comfortable twin room.

*That's not actually true, but I thought it added to the atmosphere of playful camaraderie. What really happened was I said 'Which bed do you want?' John said 'Not bothered.' I said 'I'll have this one then.' John said 'OK.' (If you need more information on 'Ginger' John, please see Part 1.)

As it was still only between 2 and 3pm, we took a moment to think about what to do before abandoning ourselves to the varied delights of the local 'rockeries' as my Dad uniformly refers to them. Ha-ha, Dad! Good one. (Now you can see where I get my 'sense of humour' from.)

As the designated 'specialist' (ahem, not all at once please!) for the area, I pointed out that 'just about everything we want to see is east. If we go east we'll have to retrace our steps tomorrow.'

I think it was looking at the map at this point that made us decide to stay in Killin on Thursday night too. Even without working it out clearly I could 'see' an apparently perfect route and the shape of an itinerary that would just about be perfect for a vigorous, but not rushed, FULL stone-spotter's day-out from Killin.

Back to the 'present'. I already knew John was mad keen to see Kinnell of Killin having looked for it but, as happens to us all once in a while, he'd missed it. On the Landranger map I spotted a chambered cairn a bit off the beaten track (as far as I knew) and NOT to the east! It was south, just past Lochearnhead, pretty close to the A84 and not too far to travel.

(It meant driving past some cup & ring marked rocks, but I must admit although I find those things interesting, I don't generally seek them out. Luckily John feels the same.)

So, unperturbed by the threat of rain, brisk walk to Kinnell (avoiding cluttering up the town with an unnecessary steel box). Have a look at stones. See how much time seems to be left before food and beer monsters are likely to wake. If time and weather allow, brisk walk back to B&B, jump in car, drive to lane near chambered cairn. Find chambered cairn. Have a look. Drive back to B&B. Go to pub. Perfect planning.

Just don't use the 'k'in' 'ell gag! Used it once but I think I got away with it….
It turned out that on his previous (by his own admission rather half-a**ed) visit, John had (unwisely and inexplicably) disregarded the driveway that leads directly to the Kinnell circle, and had gone up the next lane on the left after the 'Falls' Inn.

In every effort to show support and friendship, I patted him amicably on the shoulder while looking skywards and muttering 'dozy pillock' just loud enough to make sure he heard….

Kinnell of Killin — Images

<b>Kinnell of Killin</b>Posted by Moth<b>Kinnell of Killin</b>Posted by Moth

Kinnell of Killin — Fieldnotes

Wednesday 30 April 2003
The weather had declined from ‘fine’ to ‘OK’ up until around the time we were halfway up the driveway to Kinnell, where it started to drizzle. But it remained reasonably bright and the fine spray was actually quite refreshing after around 6 hours in the car!

We walked round to the yard at the back of the farm to ask permission. As anyone who has been there will know, the drive passes very close to the circle (I had to drag John away) and you can have a good stare in the process of going to ask.

Incidentally, is it just me who finds this amusing? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind at all. In fact I quite like it. As other people have remarked on this website, specific permission guarantees a relaxed visit – not that I’m very timid anyway. It just tickles me.

Anyway, we were, as usual, kindly granted permission. By a person of the male persuasion for a change!

I really like Kinnell of Killin. I liked Julian’s pic and description of it in the big ‘papery’ TMA. And ever since it came into sight as I ran up the drive on my first visit, I’ve really liked it. (It was time to head home really that day and I didn’t want to ‘push’ my partner at the time too far!)

Every time I’ve been there the weather has been ‘changeable’ at best, but I always find it pleasant place. Although it’s a small circle surrounded by big hills, it’s in a wide graduated valley and, for me this reinstates a feeling of space. If you imagine it without the imposing farm buildings and the field wall that passes too close for comfort, I find that the little site really ‘opens-up’.

I wonder if at some stage someone will add some notes about this circle and not mention rain?

After around 15 minutes of relatively static contemplation and discussion on the circle, John and I agreed easily that we should 'go for' the chambered cairn.

Fallen rainbows and cairnage
My (laughable) research since our return, confirms that the chambered cairn is known (and scheduled as) Edinchip Chambered Cairn.

We made an abortive approach via the lane off the A84 south of Lochearnhead to Edinchip itself, on the right when travelling south. Very unfriendly notices at an apparent dead-end with very little turning space. So we turned (carefully!) and continued down the A84.

In no time we were pulling up at a little access road on the right of the A84 (still heading south) at the foot of Auchtubhmore Hill.

Edinchip Chambered Cairn — Images

<b>Edinchip Chambered Cairn</b>Posted by Moth<b>Edinchip Chambered Cairn</b>Posted by Moth<b>Edinchip Chambered Cairn</b>Posted by Moth

Edinchip Chambered Cairn — Fieldnotes

Wednesday 30 April 2003
We made an abortive approach via the lane off the A84 south of Lochearnhead to Edinchip itself, on the right when travelling south. Very unfriendly notices at an apparent dead-end with very little turning space. So we turned (carefully!) and continued down the A84.

In no time we were pulling up at a little access road on the right of the A84 (still heading south) at the foot of Auchtubhmore Hill.

There are a couple of very pleasant looking little cottages at the main road end of it, and access stops at a gate after around only 20 yards (guess!) or so. Map ref approx NN578212. It had stopped raining and the sun was coming out!

We parked by the cottages, walked a few yards up the lane and turned right up a track that the OS map shows clearly as a path following a disused railway embankment. (Sorry, can’t remember if there’s a gate or style at the bottom of the path or what….)

After a very short distance we reached the embankment and our hearts sank at the sight of an apparently very new, certainly very high, gate and fence, barring the track. It continued up the embankment and down the other side. (I don’t remember any signs by the way.)

As we stood dejectedly contemplating our next move, John looked north east along the valley and pointed out that the moisture from the earlier showers was still hanging in the valley, lit by the sun.

It was very pretty and lifted our spirits enough for us to become ‘philosophical’ about it. Confident statements such as ‘We’d never have found it’ and ‘It’s probably crap anyway’ were exchanged.

Before turning on our heels however I nipped up the embankment ‘outside’ the fence, for a better look at the view of the misty valley.

I had taken no more than a glance at the view when I realised that the construction of the accursed fence I was standing next to had been misconceived as it reached the top of the embankment. It was considerably lower than elsewhere. And fairly easily get-overable, even for a non-beanpole like me! (‘One’ hesitates to use the word ‘climbable’ of course)

With a whoop of delight I summoned John. Confident that I knew exactly where we were on the map, I spent a few moments reassuring John on the ‘right-to-roam’ in Scotland and the legal ‘no-damage = no crime’ principle of which I have an in-depth knowledge (ie I read something once…).

This was itself followed by a few moments reassuring the Moth underparts that they were safe from sharp, pointy, tearing, rending bits of metal. And (DEEP breath Moth) over we went. John of course just stepped over. Gangly freak.

We walked for a very short time and looked again along the valley running off to our right. We both came to an immediate halt.

As if a rainbow itself had drifted down to nestle in the bottom of the valley, the moisture still suspended in the air at the foot of the surrounding hills had now taken on rainbow hues! It was breathtaking!

I quickly fired off a few photographs with rapid variations in exposure, depth of field and zoom. But as is so often the nature of hastily grabbed pictures of a natural lighting phenomenon, although worthwhile, they only partly capture the feeling. I’ll post one or 2 here when I have the facilities!

Onwards. The (gated and locked) track that I mentioned follows along the bottom of the embankment on the left, and very soon the path along the top of the embankment (which was still clearly trodden, by the way) made its way down to the track.

After following the track for around 5 or 10 minutes we were beginning to think our ‘we’d not have found it’ comments were going to come true. Some thin-ish woodland had started to develop to the left of our track and the ground there was rising to meet us as we progressed.

Just as we approached some 5-6 ft high metal framey-sheltery-type structures on the left, we spotted what seemed to be one or more ‘extra-distinct’ (you know what I mean!) mounds behind them….

John spotted a big stone and we went to look. Oh yes!!! Good spot Mr Eagle-eye John!!!!!

It’s a mess! But for us at least, WHAT a mess!!!! There is a special delight in a site that you’ve visited ‘on spec’ that exceeds (even low) expectations.

Many of the retaining kerbstones are visible through the groundcover (or perhaps uncover?). And much of the mound is treacherous to walk on when damp because the ‘fill and cover’ stones of the mound are so near (or through) the surface. Mind your ankles!

There are lots of pretty big lumps of (disturbed) partially buried stone. And yes, several bits that are unmistakably parts of a chambered cairn, most obviously a capstone still raised on one side by one of it’s supporting stones.

It’s strange, I guess that to anyone who knows even a bit about burial chambers and cairns, the site was almost like a rather muddled ‘exploded’ or ‘cut-away’ diagram! The relatively tiny bit of knowledge I have left me fascinated but confident of what this site once consisted of.

We liked.

Edinchip Chambered Cairn — Miscellaneous

CANMORE calls it a ‘Clyde-type long chambered cairn’ and puts its overall dimensions as 56 metres long and 16 wide. Sounds about right. Full description is well written, very detailed and of course accurate, but possibly makes it sound a bit less impressive? Or perhaps not.

Anyway, it’s at

An aside…
While writing this, at around 2am just before giving up for the day, I searched ‘Auchtubhmore Hill’ on the web, looking for info on Edinchip. The search returned various documents on the HMSO site, relating to restriction of movement, slaughter etc of possible ‘radioactive sheep’ as a result of the Chernobyl disaster.

Honestly – I was afraid I’d fallen asleep and was dreaming of the person currently known on TMA as Atomic Mutton…!

OK, we walked back to the car and by then the food and beer monsters were just starting to yawn and rub their little eyes….

He's the Firestarter, 'Ginger' Firestarter…
Back in Killin we nipped back to the B&B to change (posh or WHAT!) into less muddy boots (oh!) and nipped into the friendly bar at the Coach House Inn recommended by 'our man in wacky pants'. It was also 'recommended' by being the first one we came to.

After a couple of pints, we carried on through the town for food, rather predictably ending up at 'The Falls' Inn. Once John saw the enormous (and much too hot as far as I was concerned) blazing log fire we were not going anywhere else! Fiery by hair, fiery by preferred heatsource it would seem….

While at the bar, I glanced across to see John with his hoof up on the high stone hearth armed with a poker, digging happily and vigorously away at an unfeasibly large blazing chunk of wood. Bless (?) 'im.

We ate a pleasant but slightly overpriced meal (each, obviously) from a menu not TOO impressive for non-flesheaters like me, but not TOO bad either.

Couple more pints of serviceable ale. Wander back through the returned drizzle. One for the road in the Coach House (I think!). Back to our room for a couple of single malts and a brief planning session for the next day's adventures.

Part 3 will follow (soon as I can manage). That's a very real threat. And it will have LOADS of stones in!!!! That's a promise!

Moth Posted by Moth
27th June 2003ce
Edited 25th November 2005ce

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