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Argyll and Bute (Islands)

<b>Argyll and Bute (Islands)</b>Posted by RhiannonDun Ara © Rhiannon
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Skyscapes and Landscapes in Prehistoric Scotland


Taken from 'Past Horizons'
moss Posted by moss
10th June 2014ce

Latest posts for Argyll and Bute (Islands)

Showing 1-10 of 1,350 posts. Most recent first | Next 10

Dun Bhuirg (Broch) — Folklore

By the Rev. Thomas Hannan.

The recent announcement that the proprietor of the small estate of the Burg has given or bequeathed it to the National Trust for Scotland recalls to my mind many journeys which I have made from my summer quarters at Lochbuie, on the south shores of Mull, to the wild and interesting peninsula on the west side of the island which bears the name of Ardmeanach. The western end of that peninsula is easily the wildest part of Mull - rugged in the extreme, in many parts terrifying in aspect; the last and almost inaccessible home of fairies, glaistigs, and grugachs. The Burg is on the southern side of the peninsula, very near the western end; Tavool or Tapul, another house famous in fairy lore, is on the way to Burg from Tiroran, the residence eastward of Brigadier General Cheape; and the wonderful fossil tree is about the middle of the western end of the peninsular.

... At Tavool the farmer's wife was much troubled by the officious help of the fairies, who seem to have lived at Dun Burg; and "the rhyme of the goodman of Tapull's servants" - that is, the fairies - is a testimony to their desire for work -
Let me comb, card, tease, spin;
Get a weaving loom, quick;
Water for fulling on the fire;
Work, work, work.

Of course, all that is in Gaelic, which is the language of the fairies as well as of the people, and the results of their work were seldom equal to their zeal.

An example of this unfortunate trait is associated with The Burg, which is nearer than Tavool to Dun Burg. The good lady of the house had seen her husband and family to bed, and had sat up to do some weaving in the quiet of the night. But she had already spent a busy day with the farm and the cows and the hens and the children, and was tired. So she sighed and said - "Oh that some one would come from land or sea, from far or near, to help me with the work of weaving this cloth." This was quite enough, for the fairies are inveterate eavesdroppers.

A knock came to the door at once, and a voice said - "Tall Inary, good housewife, open the door to me, for so long as I have, you will get." Inary opened the door, and a woman in green entered and sat down at the spinning wheel and got busy. That was satisfactory enough; but knock after knock came, and fairy after fairy entered and set to work, until the room was full of fairies, all making the most awful noise. Then they wanted food, and the more they ate the hungrier they became, so that Inary was veritably being eaten out of house and home. At last, when she had baked the last of her flour and meal, she went and stood on a hillock outside the door, and cried - "Dun Burg is on fire." That fetched the whole tribe out of her house to save their own.

As they rushed out, she rushed in and barricaded the door. But they came back, very angry; and she had a terrible business to prevent the spell-bound spinning wheel, distaff, wool cards, fulling water, and other things which the "good people" had used, from admitting the crowd again. As fully told it is a very long story.
In 'The Scotsman', 2nd April 1932.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
29th April 2019ce

Achnancarranan (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

The last site of this visit was also one of the best and also one of the saddest.

Of the four stones that once stood at Achnancurran, Canmore says three, once again one of the locals said four, local knowledge, I find, is always a good thing, only 2 stand, with 1 fallen and another lying just to the south dumped and smashed to pieces.

Stone rows seem to have been reasonably popular in this part of the world and this can easily be compared to Carragh A' Ghlinne on Jura.

The northern stone stands at 2.7m and the south stone would stand at 2.8m if it was upright. This stone needs help as it stands at a very jaunty angle, without help it will end up like the central stone. This stone would have stood at around 3m in height. A great site but in dire need of help.

Head back to Ballynaughton Chamber Cairn from An Dunan then head west, till a tractor track is found then head south. Go over a wee hill then head west again, the site will be straight in front of you situated at the end of a field.

From An Dunan we pondered about heading to Cnoc An Altair, another chamber cairn, common sense for a change won as the sun was beginning to set. A perfect setting for Achancarranan and perfect way to end, this visit, to Islay.

Visited 3/8/2018.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
20th March 2019ce

An Dunan (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

An Dunan is a superbly situated fort with superb all round views, equally good was the wind direction taking the wondrous smells of the Lagavulin Distillery to our noses :-)

From the Ballynaughton Chamber Cairn head north using the rough track cut into the hill. Keep going north and head downhill, jump the small burn onto the boggy land then go north east to the easily spotted site. Fortunately the mornings heavy rain had missed this area so underfoot conditions were reasonably good, dryish.

By pure chance we found the entrance in the south west so the climb to the top was easy. Traces of wall surround the fort, its builders making good use of the natural rock face as well. The wall can be best seen to east and west sides, I disagree with Canmore as I found tumble down wall on the north side swinging east protecting the site which is 50m by 20m.

A great site!

Visited 3/8/2019.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
20th March 2019ce

Ballynaughton (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

After fair time at Druim Mor we kept heading north to head of the dyke, then headed west following a fence till it met a dyke which headed north. Follow this until it ends and keep heading north over slightly rougher ground. Look for a gap in hill in front, the chamber cairn is just to the west.

One of several Clyde type chamber cairns, hardly any of the cairn material remains, presumably why there are dry stane dykes in the area. Better than me explaining I'll let Canmore explain :

This cairn is situated 300m w of the ruins of Ballynaughton More on a relatively narrow strip of almost level rough

grazing bounded by arable Fields to the SE and by a rocky ridge to the NW. Only a little cairn material remains, now

almost completely overgrown, but as shown on the plan it appears to extend intermittently over an area measuring

about 20m from NE to sw by a maximum of 10m transversely; whatever its precise size may originally have

been, it seems likely that the cairn was trapezoidal in shape, with a breadth of not more than 16m at the broader (NE) end and a length of at least 20 m.

Entered from the NE, the roofless chamber is about 6m long and up to l-5m wide internally, and is divided by

transverse septal slabs into four compartments. Immediately N of the entrance there is a pointed stone, I m high above

ground level, which may be one of a pair of portal stones; what appears to be its fallen partner would, if erect, occupy a corresponding position at the s side of the entrance. Most of the slabs forming the chamber are massive blocks, now-

exposed up to 0-9 m above ground: during excavations carried out in 1901 ' it was found that the surviving side-slabs

of the two outermost compartments were standing to a Ileight of as much as 1 -42 m above the floor. Although at least

two side-slabs are missing, it can be seen that the chamber decreases in width towards the rear. from a maximum of

about l-5m to 0-6 m at the back of the innermost compartment. Likewise the compartments contract both in

length and height, and the innermost is evidently a less substantial structure than the others, only the tops of its

stones being at present visible at turf level. The septal stones rise almost to the same height as the side-slabs they support and the disposition of the side-slabs shows the successive overlapping (or imbrication) characteristic of chambered cairns of Clyde type.

The chamber contains a layer of debris about 0.6m deep, but when emptied in 1901 it was filled with stones and soil from which were recovered a chert flake and one tiny fragment of burnt bone; the discovery of a hoard of coins, dating from the mid-15th to mid-16th centuries AD, which lay hidden in the E corner of the third compartment, suggested to the excavator that the chamber had already been disturbed and rifled by the time the hoard was deposited. All the finds are lost.


Now I liked this site, it has atmosphere with superb views to the south, east and west. Like a lot of these places it would worth a trip back in time to see what they really looked like.

At least the chamber remains, after a good look round it was time to press on.

Visited 3/8/2018.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
20th March 2019ce

Druim Mor (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

From the Lagavulin Stone keep heading east until you reach some farm huts, follow the track north over the wee hill and keep going. The huge stone set in what is now a dyke line is called Druim Mor, certainly by the locals who we spoke to. Canmore also call this stone Lagavulin.

This stone stands at a massive 3.5m in height and a dry stane dyke has been built to incorporate its ancient friend. I love these stones especially when covered lichen, this chap appeared to have had a shave at some point. Now we approached from the east side of the wall and did't notice it had a fallen friend of similar size.

However we didn't know so onwards we marched towards our next site. So far walking conditions were excellent!

Visited 3/8/2018.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
20th March 2019ce

Lagavulin (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Rumours that I park only near distilleries are true as we finally parked for the final walk of this trip at the magical Lagavulin Distillery.

From here it is an easy walk following the track east until the stone becomes visible sitting on top of what looks a small cairn. It looks more like stones have been cleared from the field and dumped beside the standing stone. Over the years the gaps have filled in and it now almost appears to a small kerb cairn. Canmore also appear to be confused.

The stone stands at 1m tall having no markings. Worth a visit as it is the gateway to more prehistoric sites.

Visited 3/8/2018.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
20th March 2019ce

Dun Dearg (Stone Fort / Dun) — Fieldnotes

Dun Dearg must have been some place when it was used as there is a huge amount of stones still partially built, some strewn, some made into a modern cairn and some have fallen over the southern cliff. It was from the south I made my ascend, a short but very steep climb up slippery rocks. However after about 15 minutes from the bottom I was looking south to the glorious view of Ardbeg Distillery.

The normal entry, nowadays, to the dun would have been from the north were the remains of walls can be still be seen. Some of the wall is made from massive blocks which lead to a small gap in the south east. In Iron Age times this would have been the most likely entry and it provided my path down, much safer than the path I took up. These walls protect the interior which would have been 21m by 14m.

This must have been a tremendous place, it still is. From the distillery at Ardbeg take the farm track to Callumkill. Pull in just before the farm, look north behind the houses and the modern cairn can be seen.

How you get up is up to you :-)

Visited 3/8/2019.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
20th March 2019ce

Kilbride (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Kilbride Standing Stone marked the start of the final of hike of this Islay/Jura trip. From Port Ellen head east and take the first minor road heading north, this takes you past the Port Ellen and Branhunisary Standing Stones, keep going until the road ends at Kilbride Farm.

Look south, through the gate, up a small slope and the site with its glorious views south. Kilbride stands at almost 3m tall proving to be a superb starting point for the final evening hike.

Visited 3/8/2018.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
20th March 2019ce

Cnoc Nan Nathrach (Barrow / Cairn Cemetery) — Fieldnotes

On the way back from Ardnave we rejoined the B8017 and headed east until the 2nd minor road which heads straight east, the b8017 takes a sharp turn south. Keep going until the minor road heads south, take the first track which heads west to the farm at Lagostan, plenty room to park.

From here its follow the track past some ruined 'ferm toun' houses, head south westish over the heather, boggy in parts but on this occasion no falling in.

There are two barrows here :

NR 2982 6462

The largest barrow at 9m wide being almost 1m tall. There does appear to be some kerbage. The stones at the top might be the remains of a cist.

NR 2583 6465

The smaller of the two barrows is almost 5m wide and 0.5m tall.

Not much to see except the glorious views all round, stunning place. Nearby forts can wait till next year as we had an appointment with an old friend at Bowmore.

Visited 3/8/2019.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
19th March 2019ce

Ardnave Loch (Crannog) — Fieldnotes

I love driving to the end of roads, especially on the islands. After having some lunch we headed north leaving the B8017 at Gruinart, near the nature reserve following the minor to its end at Ardnave Loch.

The 40m wide crannog can be reached by a causeway, almost 6m wide. A mound near the centre measures at 10m wide 0.6m tall. I couldn't see any of the cists or slabs mentioned by Canmore and I didn't see any of the stepping stones. Nobody here can see them either, as once again I proceeded to get to the site only to discover that I'd left the camera in the car.

The walk from the info boards at Ardnave is very easy and flat, the causeway clearly visible. Wear wellington boots. When heading south make sure to visit the Kilnave Chapel and it's eerie shaped cross.

On we go.

Visited 3/82018.
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
12th March 2019ce
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