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


Hill O'Many Stanes

Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue

<b>Hill O'Many Stanes</b>Posted by markeystoneImage © Mark Vernon
Also known as:
  • Mid Clyth

Nearest Town:Wick (14km NNE)
OS Ref (GB):   ND295384 / Sheet: 11
Latitude:58° 19' 43.02" N
Longitude:   3° 12' 14.09" W

Discussion Topics0 discussions
Start a topic

Show map   (inline Google Map)

Images (click to view fullsize)

Add an image Add an image
Photographs:<b>Hill O'Many Stanes</b>Posted by Nucleus <b>Hill O'Many Stanes</b>Posted by Nucleus <b>Hill O'Many Stanes</b>Posted by Nucleus <b>Hill O'Many Stanes</b>Posted by Nucleus <b>Hill O'Many Stanes</b>Posted by Nucleus <b>Hill O'Many Stanes</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Hill O'Many Stanes</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Hill O'Many Stanes</b>Posted by carol27 <b>Hill O'Many Stanes</b>Posted by Moth <b>Hill O'Many Stanes</b>Posted by Moth <b>Hill O'Many Stanes</b>Posted by Moth <b>Hill O'Many Stanes</b>Posted by Martin <b>Hill O'Many Stanes</b>Posted by Martin <b>Hill O'Many Stanes</b>Posted by Martin <b>Hill O'Many Stanes</b>Posted by Martin <b>Hill O'Many Stanes</b>Posted by Martin <b>Hill O'Many Stanes</b>Posted by markeystone Maps / Plans / Diagrams:<b>Hill O'Many Stanes</b>Posted by Nucleus


Add fieldnotes Add fieldnotes
Visited 24.7.14

We followed the signs from the A9 and soon arrived at the small car park where there were already several cars parked up. In fact we had to park on the verge as there were no parking spaces left.

I have to say I found the site to be a little disappointing. I was surprised by how small both the stones and the area they covered were.
I don’t think the fact the grass around the stones was long helped matters.

It was hard to make sense of the stones and I suspect an aerial view would be most beneficial. Everyone who was visiting could be heard expressing their opinions on what it could all mean. Dafydd asked me what they were for?
I simply replied I don’t know!

There are good views to be had and when I visited sea mist was rolling in from the coast. It was like being in an aeroplane above the clouds – fab!

Although, as I said, I found the site a little disappointing it is certainly still worth visiting when in the north of Scotland.

Another Historic Scotland site off the list!
Posted by CARL
12th August 2014ce

I didn't expect mighty megaliths or a Caithnessian Carnac, but I was mildly disappointed at first view that each stone was so very teeny.

But what they lack in size, they make up for in numbers. Mighty numbers! Rows and rows poke up through the heather, some a bit wiggly and knocked off course now, but many still running in straight lines down the hillside pointing in the direction of the coast.

It took me a while to like it here, but in the same way as one mackeral isn't very impressive but a great shoal of fish all dancing together become beautiful, so did this place.

I had high hopes I'd be able to 'do a Dorian' (see page 424 of the big papery TMA) among the little stones here, but I was disappointed. The weather was too cold even to take ones gloves off, let alone reveal one's cherry muffins.
Jane Posted by Jane
5th July 2004ce
Edited 5th July 2004ce

Apart from the stones in the rows knoan as The Hill O Many Stanes there are several otherfan shaped rows up the hill from the Cairn of Get monument. they were uncovered after a heather fire just a few years ago. They do not appear on any maps or are in any books. The Caithness filed club members measured them out and have diagrams of their layout. Posted by Bill
23rd January 2002ce

Hill o' Many Stanes, Caithness
Saturday 17/8/96
Jeez- yer not joking- there's loads of 'em! This place (and the weather today) is just fab! We've made a detour here (and to the Grey Cairns) on our way down to Killin from Orkney where we had to get up at 6:30 am to catch the ferry! "Scotland Before History" (Stuart Piggot) says there's over 200 stones here in a fan shaped pattern of rows from approx N to S. I brought my dowsing rods up here too and did a spot- there's shit happening all over the place. The stones are real small too- the tallest can only be a couple of foot or so and some are flat with the earth. Great place.
Posted by Martin
8th September 2001ce

Driving round the north east coast of Scotland feels like nearing the end of the world. Devoid of the gigantic scenery that makes its opposite highland coast so popular, it has a less obvious appeal - its charms much subtler.

However, I was eager to reach the target but have to admit to being a tad disappointed. Lured by visions of 200 stones standing proud on a hilltop I pounded up the path to reach the spot.

Instead of great monoliths (I'll do my homework next time) I was confronted with what resembled a low-rise rockery of higgledy-piggledy stones no more than a foot high at best sloping down towards the coast.

What is intriguing is that its purpose remains unearthed. Once thought to be a collection three times the size, the most likely guesses put the site down as a tool for the agricultural calender.

It's a lonely spot and not one in which I lingered (more to do with the arrival of a couple who looked close to divorce than anything else) but its very clear in my mind's eye as I write and well worth a visit and a ponder whatever the weather.
Posted by Emma
2nd October 2000ce


Add folklore Add folklore
Unique in Britain to Caithness and Sutherland are multiple rows of small standing stones set out in parallel lines or fan shapes, thought to date from the early Bronze Age. They are found sometimes in the neighbourhood of cairns, that is, burial sites, and may have had a religious function, though in the 1970s Professor Alexander Thom argued that they were used to calculate the movements of the moon.

Whatever their original purpose, such rows are still a fantastic sight. The best preserved run down the slopes of a low hill at Mid Clyth known as the Hill O' Many Stanes. They are small flat stones wedged upright with their broad faces aligned in more than twenty rows, fanning out slightly towards the southern end. Today about 200 stones remain, but it is thought the pattern could have involved 600 or more.

A popular belief that gold was hidden beneath the stones may have led to the removal of stone, and others have been destroyed by agriculture or removed for building, but as in the case of stone circles, it was said to be dangerous to interfere with them. A farmer at Bruan is said to have removed one of the Mid Clyth stones to use as a lintel above the fireplace of a kiln. When the fire was lit, the stone burst into flames but remained mysteriously unconsumed. This made him so fearful that he hastily returned the stone to the place in the row that he had taken it from.

The Lore Of Scotland - A Guide To Scottish Legends

Westwood & Kingshill
drewbhoy Posted by drewbhoy
28th January 2024ce


Add a link Add a link

Caithness Community Web Site -Multiple Stone Rows

The only theory which has been published on the purpose of these stone alignments is that of Professor Thom (Thom 1971). Of necessity, the explanation is couched in mathematical terms although this does not mean that the builders of the rows had the same mathematical knowledge that we have today. It is quite possible for the rows to have been set up solely by observation and experiment without any knowledge of the underlying mathematics........more
Posted by Bill
23rd January 2002ce

Caithness Community Web Site - Multiple Stone Rows

Of the known settings of stone rows in the north of Scotland plans of accurate surveys have been published of only about a third of them. Most of these are the results of the work done by Professor Thom. It intended in this article, and the following one, to give a description of the sites with available plans including those of Thom together with the results of recent surveys carried out by the authors which have not been published recently.

From an analysis of the diameters of circular stone settings, obtained by accurate survey........more
Posted by Bill
23rd January 2002ce

Caithness Community Web Site - Multiple Stone Rows

At a number of sites throughout Caithness and Sutherland are to be found multiple rows of small standing stones. The stone usually protrude not more than 1m above the surface, and in some cases they are either barely visible or have become submerged by the growth of peat or other vegetation. They are arranged in rows, often fan-shaped in the form of a truncated cone, or, less commonly, the rows may be parallel. Such settings of stones are often inconspicuous, sometimes hidden by heather, and may be easily overlooked.................more
Posted by Bill
23rd January 2002ce