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Fieldnotes by drewbhoy

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Tayandock (Standing Stone / Menhir)

The last stop of a busy day which started by getting battered at Frachdale led to a gentler afternoon ending at Tayandock.

Sadly the standing stone, which would have 1.5m tall, has fallen.

Leave the A847 taking the minor road Borichill Mor, pass Tayandock Farm and site is just before the corner which veers north. No sign of the chapel.

Visited 1/8/2018.

Uiskentuie (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Another tremendous site, more stunning views and another gigantic standing stone on Islay, this time at Uiskentuie.

It stands at 3m tall with no markings except for the lichen giving the stone a stately person type look.

Easy parking on the main road, up a wee hill, through a couple of gates, job done.

Visited 1/8/2018.

Port Charlotte (Chambered Tomb)

From Cultoon we headed south to the beautiful village of Portnahaven before heading north east towards Port Charlotte. Just the the south of the village pull in the campsite. Whoever constructed the football pitch, campsite and restaurant should congratulated on doing a cracking job. Good to see some children taking interest in the site when we arrived, as soon as I started looking and taking photographs they asked questions, Aberdeenshire kids from Insch, very intelligent :-)

The site does seem to be looked after slightly better than in the past and it was litter free.

Canmore Description

This chambered cairn is situated in a field at the edge of the raised beach 750m SW of Port Charlotte; the chamber and much of the cairn were excavated between 1976 and 1979, and the following account makes use of the interim report and further information supplied by the excavators (Peirpoint and Harrington 1978). The cairn, which is aligned NNE and SSW, measures 22m in breadth and is now about the same length, but the SSW end has been destroyed, and it would originally have been much longer. The chamber, at the NNE end, is entered from the centre of a concave facade of which only the stump of one stone and a fallen second stone now remain. Immediately in front of the entrance there was a pit, some 0.6m deep, from the bottom of which charcoal provided a radiocarbon date of ad 90+- (HAR-2405), but this may have been a result of contamination. The large slab in front of the entrance has been erected as if to form a portal stone. The sill-stone, only part of which is shown on plan (RCAHMS plan A), is 0.8m long, 0.23m thick and 1.16m high, and was held in position by two jamb-stones; the septal stone is 0.9m long, 0.96m high and 0.15m thick. The second compartment (1.5m long and 1.3m broad) comprises two massive side-slabs up to 0.9m high supported from behind by large slabs, which can be seen protruding through the cairn material. The third compartment has been destroyed, and the fourth is now represented only by the W side-slab. The missing slabs appear to have been removed for use as culvert-covers in the last century, but the slots from which they had been removed were discovered in the course of excavation.

Now I liked this site, tremendous views to Kintra and Bowmore as well as the nearby hills, which hopefully will see my feet reasonably soon.

Visited 1/8/2018.

Cultoon (Stone Circle)

After some activities not involving prehistory or distilleries (I know unbelievable) we headed to Cultoon Stone Circle. From Port Charlotte on the A847 take the minor road heading west and keep on it as it veers south leading straight to the stone circle.

The mound beside the site I'd say was a cairn with some kerbs still in place, one or two rabbit holes seem to hint at artificialness.

No need to describe the site as that has been done before, however what a weird place this is. Why did the people of the time cart all of these stones to the top of a wee hill only to put two up. Some theories are discussed in the Misc. post.

Visited 1/8/2018.

Ballinaby (North) (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Just to the north of the very tall stone at Ballinaby sits another standing stone, originally three stood but two remain. Attempts have been made to move this stone but it still stands. Sadly these attempts have done damage.

It has been broken and now stands at 2m in height, fair enough, but Canmore says the stone is 3m wide, I would say no more than 1.5m. Perhaps something has fallen and it has been removed. One thing for sure was that these stones indicated a safe harbour which there is - Traigh Fleisgein Bheag.

Once again a beautiful place.

Visited 1/8/2018.

Ballinaby (south) (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Just slightly to north of Carnduncan take the minor road heading west which skirts the north side of Loch Gorm. Pull in at Ballinaby Farm, plenty room.

The huge standing stone is just to the north east of the farm. Follow a well used path up a wee hill and follow some well built dry stane dykes. It is a stunning stone standing 4.9m tall with tremendous all round views west to Saligo Bay, east to Loch Gorm, north to An Carnan and south towards the hills at Turnaichaidh.

Most people turn round at this point, we didn't as in the distance to the north, well hidden, I spied another standing stone.

Visited 1/8/2018.

Carnduncan (Cairn(s))

After the mornings battering at Frachdale it was good to get back to base camp at Cragabus and get patched up. The afternoon would be spent heading towards Cultoon in the north west of the island with a few stops either side, some of which were nothing to do with prehistory.

The first stop of the afternoon was the excellent cairn at Carnduncan. Sitting next to the B8018 just beyond Carnduncan Farm this cairn is very easily spotted.

It still sits at 17m wide and at its highest is 1.7m tall. It has a fantastic if somewhat broken kerb of fine stones, some stones probably kerbs, also rest nearby. Good to see in Canmore's notes that children from local schools were used in several surveys.

Nearby sites at Loch Gorm, across the road, stand a fair chance of being visited next time I'm here.

Visited 1/8/2018.

Frachdale (Chambered Cairn)

The distance between Coille A'chnoic Mhoir and the chamber cairn at Frachdale might appear short, it is as the crow flies. From the standing stone it looks if you go west, in fact you go south.

The start of the walk is fine until very tall ferns are reached, there is no sign of a track so batter a way though until a fence is reached. Frachdale sits on top of wee hill, basically taunting the hard pressed visitor. I jumped the fence and landed straight into a stream up to my waist in boggy stinking water, pulled myself out and promptly tripped into other one. One good thing was that the heat meant that I dried reasonably quick, but the smell......dearie me!! I made way to the west end of the hill and climbed up to the top were I found the turf covered cairn.

Most of the cairn material has been taken away leaving just the largest of the stones that make up the Clyde Type cairn. Originally 15 metres wide some kerbs do remain but the real remnants are in the centre. Two badly damaged sections remain, in a chamber that was almost 4m long and 1m wide. One dividing stone creates the sections. Side slabs also remain in place. This must have been some place, it still is with the tremendous views east and north east.

Also from the top of this wee hill a track and the ruined Frachdale croft can be seen in the east. However to get there is a complete nightmare. Instead of going back the way I'd came I headed east quickly encountering very small trees, with no way over I crawled underneath until a small burn, crossed this, kept crawling and eventually stood up when I encountered ferns. Keep heading north east until a small burn is encountered, same one as before with the same result with the added bonus of smashing my leg against a hidden rock. Eventually I pulled myself up, climbed the fence and found the track which led past Frachdale Croft to Kintra.

Fortunately no cuts but by the time I'd got back to Kintra my legs had turned blue. Frachdale Cairn is not an easy place to get to unless something is done about the vegetation.

Well known sprays and liquidy freeze stuff were about to get used. However it had been a wonderful morning!!

Visited 1/8/2018.

Coille A'chnoic Mhoir (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Coille A'chnoic Mhoir has stunning views west, south and east (Laggan Bay and the Paps of Jura are simply stunning).

From the cairn at Cnoc Mor Ghrasdail simply walk south until a small mound, on its south side is the standing stone. No views north :-)

Quite an easy downhill walk on spongy bone dry heather leads to the 1.2m high stone. Sometimes the most simple of sites have the most stunning locations. This is one of them.

However the conditions were about to change with the walk to the fairly nearby chamber cairn.

Visited 1/8/2018.

Cnoc Mor Ghrasdail (Cairn(s))

The walk from Dun A Chail west to the cairn at Cnoc Mor Ghrasdail comes in three sections. The first is easy enough except for the steepish climb up to the level overlooking the fort, next comes a wee flat bit before a climb amongst trees/bramble bushes which eventually is ended by a fence. From here head to the top of the hill bouncing on the spongy heather. Hot work considering the temperature.

Once at the top views are stunning, north to Port Charlotte, the Paps of Jura are clearly visible to the east, south is the Oa and to the west the Atlantic.

The cairn stands at over 10m wide and is 1m tall at its highest. The probable cist cover remains in the centre of the site with its debatable cup marks still in place. Canmore suggest that this might have been an anvil at some point. Also on the site is a climber's or shepherd's cairn. I counted at least 10 stones of the kerb still in place.

Another truly stunning location.

Visited 1/8/2018.

Dun A Chail (Stone Fort / Dun)

From Kintra follow the track heading west and keep going until it veers south, keep going until the first corner then head west. On a gorgeous early morning the Kintra coastline is a wonderful place to be. Even better, the local green keepers i.e. the sheep had done their job perfectly keeping the grass very short. Even better still, it was warm!

After a fairly short walk a beach will be seen with an easy slope to leading down. Beautiful views north towards Port Charlotte can be seen with the hills beyond. To the east side of the bay is Dun a Chail, probably the most beautiful place I'd been to in 2018.

The dun is overshadowed by a small pointy hill which probably helped its eastern defence. A small grassy covered stairway leads to the entrance which was being used when I arrived by exiting sheep. Cleverly the Iron Age peoples made use of the natural walls incorporating them into the man made walls. Sadly some of the walls have collapsed on either side of the dun. It is approximately 12m in length being just over 6m wide. To the west there is the perfect natural harbour called Laggan Bay, to the east a somewhat rockier effort.

Not many people come here nowadays and maybe that is a good thing as it is a truly remarkable place. It was also is the first place I'd been to for a long time where I'd seen no rubbish.

Wonderful, wonderful site.

Visited 1/8/2018.

Carragh Bhan (Standing Stone / Menhir)

After a fantastic day in Jura and relatively easy walks it was time for a 'drewbhoy special' but before I got to Kintra there was the Carragh Bhan to visit.

It can be found on a tiny wee hill, west, next to the minor road. A large slab, almost like the Millplough recumbent near Inverbervie (Aberdeenshire), it stands having magnificent all round views and is 2.2m by 2.2m, almost square.

A good start on a beautiful day.

Visited 1/8/2018.

Camas an Staca (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Many people would visit the standing stone of Camas an Staca first when they arrive on Jura, we decided to visit it last to leave a stunning impression on the island, to be fair all of Jura is stunning!!

The Camas is a huge standing stone probably put there as a marker to safe nearby landing places to ancient seafarers. It is the biggest standing stone on Jura.

We parked at the large passing place to the north west of the stone beside a wood. Walking back towards Craighouse there is a large deer gate, go through and walk south west. After about 200 meters the standing stone appears from nowhere . A lot of people say the stone is built on a cairn but once again I agree with Canmore and think its field clearance. I'd love to be wrong.

The views are simply stunning as Islay's steep mid east coast line can be seen, the famous McArthur's Point Lighthouse gleaming in the distance with the island of Am Froach Eilean in the bay.

So that was Jura, roll on 2020!

Visited 31/7/2018.

Carragh a' Ghlinne (Stone Row / Alignment)

Heading south from Craighouse go past some warehouses and then park at tghe first track heading towards the north west. Plenty room to park as their appears to be cemetery for old vehicles.

However the track is a wonderful and atmospheric walk through some fairly flat countryside until a sole standing stone can be seen. Sadly three of its friends have long since fallen and the well used phrase 'gentle restoration' entered my head as they are all clearly visible. It would create a momentous site if it happened.

The remaining stone stands at 2.4m with a well weathered cup mark near its base with the other stones appearing, to me, to be of similar length.

It must have been some place, it still is.

Visited 31/7/2018.

Knockrome 3 (Standing Stone / Menhir)

The third of the Knockrome standing stones is quite difficult to see but not to difficult to find.

After walking back from the second stone I headed back to the landing strip and headed back up the track to the minor road. About two-thirds of the way up I headed east into the fairly long grass which has clumps of gorse/furze and small trees dotted about. Pick your way through these whilst gradually heading north, about 20 metres north of where the standing stone hides is the minor road, the other side of a hedge.

Beautiful views out to Loch Na Mile and the island of Eilean Bhride. If you look through the branches of the tree you'll catch glimpses of the Paps Of Jura. A well shaped stone it stands at 1.35m tall.

4 standing stones in a small area, not bad. Another standing stone at Leargybreck and nearby forts will have to wait till 2020 to feel my boots.

Visited 31/7/2018.

Knockrome 2 (Standing Stone / Menhir)

The second of the Knockrome stones we visited is quite easy to find. From Burnside we walked in a westerly direction until the track that leads down to the islands airstrip which looks directly into the beautiful Loch Na Mile.

Walk west along the airstrip and keep looking towards the Paps of Jura. The stone can clearly be seen a about 100 metres to the north on the edge of a small ditch.

It stands at over 1.5m tall and with its near neighbour does mark a place for the prehistoric peoples to land their small boats. Who knows?, they are certainly in the right location.

Visited 31/7/2018.

Knockrome 1 (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Coming back down the road from Ardfernal we turned north west to Burnside Farm. After climbing a couple of gates we spotted the standing stone in the distance.

Much to our amazement the standing stone walked away to reveal another standing stone. We had spied a cows backside.

The remaining stone, once much closer up didn't move, stands at almost 1m high. Some chokes can be seen.

Tremendous all round views, including the island of Eilean Bhride to the south in the Bay of Small Isles.

Fine wee stone!

Visited 31/7/2018.

Ardfernal (Standing Stone / Menhir)

One of the most stunning locations I've ever been to, same with nearby stones, are the standing stones at Knockrome and Ardfernal. To be fair the weather was on our side.

There is more than one road on Jura, from the A846 take the minor road signposted Knockrome and keep going until Ardfernal. After asking permission to park, at the 'ferm toun' we crossed the fields heading slightly north.

The stone stands at 1.2m high and has simply glorious views.

Visited 31/7/2018.

Carragh Chaluim Bhainn (Standing Stone / Menhir)

The standing stone, Carragh Chalium Bhainn, is a short walk on track and short grass towards Tarbert Bay, being situated in the old graveyard called Cill Chalium-chille.

It stands at an impressive lichen covered 2m in height amongst stunning all round scenery.

Beautiful place, a thoughtful place.

Visited 31/7/2018.

Tarbert (Standing Stones)

As Carl describes the stone is a beauty standing at over 2.5m tall with beautiful views into Tarbert Bay. Round the base of the stone appears to be some chokes and possibly the remains of a cairn but more likely it's some field clearance.

A great place to visit and another stone in the nearby chapel grounds to the east.

Visited 31/7/2018.
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