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




<b>Ardross</b>Posted by postmanImage © Chris Bickerton
Nearest Town:Elie (2km SW)
OS Ref (GB):   NO50370095 / Sheet: 59
Latitude:56° 11' 54.6" N
Longitude:   2° 47' 59.84" W

Added by Rhiannon

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<b>Ardross</b>Posted by postman <b>Ardross</b>Posted by postman <b>Ardross</b>Posted by postman <b>Ardross</b>Posted by postman <b>Ardross</b>Posted by postman <b>Ardross</b>Posted by tiompan <b>Ardross</b>Posted by tiompan <b>Ardross</b>Posted by tiompan <b>Ardross</b>Posted by tiompan


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Worst souterrain in the world!

There's a small layby below the hill, a straight line will take you to the worst souterrain in Scotland, if there are no crops in the field. Probably best just to have a quick look at the castle then go and see a really good site.
I'd regrettably chosen this place to visit because it was close to the sunrise site of lundin links and because the pictures on here and elsewhere made it look quite good, scant though they are.
Thankfully, the kids were still in "it's too early" mode so I had the place to myself, I walked up the hill making for a rough patch of low scrub, I was hoping for a footpath, a sign, something to let me know I was going the right way. Behind me I could see the Firth of Fourth with Big Bass rock shimmering in the morning haze.
I'm at the top now standing right next to the malignant heartless beast that is Ardross, the worst Souterrain in all of Fife.
I've done a bit of research and know there is a hatchway that must be accessed to enter the, you know what. After a summer of Fogouing on Land's End I was quite excited and a little eager to get into this Iron age stone womb, so I quickly walk round the edge of the scrub expecting to see a formal entrance of some kind, but there wasn't one, a swear word slipped uncharacteristically from my crest falling face.
I could see there were some quite large boulders on the top of the low mound so I mount the low mound and stride through the long grass. For a second or two I was thinking I'd got mixed up and come to the wrong Souterrain, this one was obviously an ex souterrain, the good souterrain Id seen inexpertly photographed must be elsewhere. As I approached the large boulders I suddenly and quite unexpectedly began falling, down, not over, straight down, I only stopped falling when my body had filled the gap I was falling into, my left foot was still dangling, free of contact with a floor, my right foot was half way up my back. After the initial surprise I decided now should be the time to express the pain flooding through my left leg, no words would come, not even a bad one, just a long groan that morphed into a whimper. My hankey had fallen from my pocket, so I carefully tucked it back in, I had dropped my compass too but couldn't quite grab it, I was fairly stuck. Then some words came.
In the end I had to wriggle and push upwards until I was finally free, my leg was throbbing from knee upwards, but you know what I thought, so there is something here after all.
Then as I was fumbling with my compass it fell down the hole.
More words.

I had a look at my leg, it was hurting enough to prompt thoughts like is it broke? There was a long graze up my outer thigh, but not much bruising. My thoughts went back to the souterrain, worst souterrain ever.
I pulled the grass back from the hole I'd fallen into, expecting to see part of a souterrain, instead it was just a rabbit hole, a deep, perpendicular rabbit hole, they have now exceeded there evil beyond that of the dreaded gorse, and earned the moniker of M****r F****r.
And there well out of reach was my compass, a choice word or two and a second later..... screw it.
I carefully raised myself to my feet and carried on inspecting the low mound, almost immediately I found the man hole cover that lets you in, I wasn't feeling particularly strong but I gave it a tug or two, dug through the dirt with my fingers trying to find an edge to get under and pull up, but it wouldn't budge. Worst souterrain this side of Elie.

At least I knew I was in the right place, but it wouldn't let me in, is it locked? has no one been there for ages? the man hole cover was getting buried. What a disappointment, this is Es Tudons levels of disappointment, you wont know what that means, imagine a child's face
on a burglarised Christmas morning.
The walk back to the car was a nightmare, every footfall exquisite agony, still got the rest of my list to go at too, limping and groaning all the way.
Worst souterrain in the world.
postman Posted by postman
23rd September 2018ce


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The souterrain here is right on top of the hill. The RCAHMS record says it has 10 steps down to a sandy floor. The walls and ceiling are pieces of sandstone, with no mortar. There is a carved stone '6" square, marked by thin concentric lines, with a circular hollow in the centre, 3" in diameter and 1 1/4" deep', but it's said not to be in the cup-and-ring 'class', so make of that what you will.

Supposedly, the souterrain was discovered in 1878, although '1200' is said to be engraved on a stone, with the implication made that this was a date of previous discovery. Whatever, this spot is surely the place of the following folklore (the hill is now 'Coalyard Hill' on the map) and maybe a dim awareness of the souterrain added to its strange reputation.
Calliard Hill - A gradually rising eminence betwixt St Monance and Elie, reported in tradition as the principal arena where warlocks, witches, kelpies, and other imaginary beings, hold their midnight revels, and carry on their incantations, seizing the benighted travellers, dragging them off their course, or tossing them in the air like feathers in the whirlwind. Even in the nineteenth century, a man was taken from that enchanted eminence and carried nine times round Kilconquhar Loch, without the use of any of his locomotive faculties. Such is stated to have been the declaration of the spell-bound individual himself.
From An Historical Account of St. Monance Fifeshire by John Jack, 1844.

There was also supposed to be another souterrain, now gone, at NO 5027 0094.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
8th October 2012ce
Edited 8th October 2012ce