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Giant's Grave (Sma' Glen)

Standing Stone / Menhir

<b>Giant's Grave (Sma' Glen)</b>Posted by BigSweetieImage © Andy Sweet
Also known as:
  • Clach Ossian
  • Ossian's Grave
  • Sma' Glen
  • Saddlin Mare
  • The Mare Stane

Nearest Town:Crieff (9km SSW)
OS Ref (GB):   NN905296 / Sheets: 52, 58
Latitude:56° 26' 44.87" N
Longitude:   3° 46' 35.39" W

Added by BigSweetie


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<b>Giant's Grave (Sma' Glen)</b>Posted by markj99 <b>Giant's Grave (Sma' Glen)</b>Posted by markj99 <b>Giant's Grave (Sma' Glen)</b>Posted by BigSweetie <b>Giant's Grave (Sma' Glen)</b>Posted by BigSweetie <b>Giant's Grave (Sma' Glen)</b>Posted by BigSweetie

Fieldnotes

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This impressively large stone stands 90m to the NW of the cairn circle variously known as Sma' Glen or Giant's Grave. The stone itself seems to be named the Giant's Grave, but on the 1867 OS map it is called Clach Ossian. What is now called Clach Ossian is a couple of kilometres further up the glen, however, there appears to have been some confusion regarding these names over the years. Clach Ossian, Giant's Grave and Soldier's Grave all seem to have been used by different writers and historians for different sites, and seem almost interchangeable. The names Clach Ossian and Giant's Grave are supposed to relate to Ossian, while the name Soldier's Grave is supposed to represent the grave of one of Wade's road builders. Given the confusion writers seem to have had in the past identifying these sites correctly, who knows what the correct name for this stone is. BigSweetie Posted by BigSweetie
29th July 2003ce

Folklore

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'Near to the entrance to the Glen were the grassy embankments of a Roman Camp, but a feature of the valley that interested me more than this relic of the dim past was a great boulder about a mile beyond. It stood a little aside from the highway, and a much used path leading to it was evidence that it had many visitors. What the attraction was, I could not have conjectured, had I not heard its story previously. It had a smooth, rounding top, and rose above the ground to a height of seven or eight feet. At its base lay three heavy stones, the largest about the size of a peck measure.
It was a common custom among travellers who happened into Glen Urtach to try 'Saddling the Mare' that is, to attempt putting the stones up on the boulder. They slid off with surprising ease, and few persons had the strength or cleverness to lodge all three. Still it was allowable to boast, even if you only succeeded with the two smaller ones. That the sport was a popular one was attested by the battered whiteness of the top of the boulder.' The Land of Heather. Clifton Johnson (1903).

The above quote attests to the tradition of Saddlin the mare when passing through the Sma' Glen. There were three stones of increasing weight to place on the top slope of the stone without it falling off. The route through the sma' glen was a drovers road so the tradition may derive from ancient times.
There is a moderately sized stone at the base of the rock so it may be one of the original 'saddles'. It is interesting that a stone is 'saddled' on top of the rock in Andy's pictures so the tradition appears to be continuing.
Posted by markj99
24th October 2020ce
Edited 22nd January 2021ce

Miscellaneous

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Directions - Head W from Perth on the A85 towards Crieff. Before reaching Crieff is the village of Gilmerton. Turn right here onto the A822 (sign-posted Dunkeld & Aberfeldy) and head up the hill. Approximately 8.0km after leaving Gilmerton, and approximately 1.5km after passing a turn-off to the right for Harrietfield, there are a couple of small lay-bys on the right of the road. Park here, and you walk a few metres N by the edge of the road. It's impossible to miss the stone, and also the low cairn behind it, in on your right, not far from the road. BigSweetie Posted by BigSweetie
29th July 2003ce

Links

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Megalithic sites of Perthshire - Giant's Grave standing stone page


Photos & information.
BigSweetie Posted by BigSweetie
29th July 2003ce
Edited 29th July 2003ce

Scottish Megaraks' Perthshire extravaganza - June 2003


see the Megaraks investigating this stone
BigSweetie Posted by BigSweetie
17th July 2003ce