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

Fieldnotes by drewbhoy

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Middleton Muir 2 (Kerbed Cairn)

Middleton 2 is only a short distance from its near neighbour being much harder to spot.

It is close to 13m wide and in parts 0.4m tall, a lot of it has been flattened entirely. Once again a lot kerbs are to be found, once again 32 but I counted 20, almost all of them are covered in turf and heather. Most are in the south west arc.

Visited 11/07/2020.

Middleton Muir 1 (Kerbed Cairn)

After a good look round Carnashach Wood I headed west staying south of the dry stane dyke on mostly dry land, wooded areas, jumping a couple of fences before reaching the heather of the Middleton Muir. Follow a fence as it heads north west, this almost leads to two cairns.

It must have been a large cairn at some point but after being well robbed it is now about 11m wide and 0.6m tall. Many kerbs remain in place, many turf covered, I counted 17 just about visible out of a 32 still in place.

Good views south including the Lomonds in Fife.

Visited 11/07/2020.

Carnashach Wood (Cup Marked Stone)

The first major hike after the easing of the lockdown for us sheltered types in Scotland found me in Perthshire getting permission to park at Middleton Farm.

Walk through the farmyard and onto the Cateran Trail, at the first corner there is a gate which goes onto a long disused track. Follow this until the trees at the top of the hill are reached then head west. The stone is sheltered by a large tree.

The large slab has 12 cup marks, the biggest of which are 6cm wide by 1.5cm deep.

Visited 11/07/2020

Pitscurry (Cairn(s))

The Pitscurry Cairn is situated on top of the hill overlooking the Glenlogie and Pitscurry farms. The Pitscurry farm is now uninhabited.

I parked near the Damhead Quarry and walked north west on the track towards Glenlogie Farm, this follows the old railway line. Just before the farm I headed uphill following the dry stane dykes at the edge of the fields. Once over the dyke you make your way through trees and head high ferns until a clearing, of sorts, is reached. At least you can see north.

The cairn does remain in place. It is 6m wide and 0.5m high. There also appears to be a couple of kerbs on the east side. In amongst the ferns cairn material can be seen on top the site. Great views of Bennachie, in particular Mither Tap can be glimpsed between the trees to the south.

Great site for a cairn, winter time visit required.

Visited 4/07/2020.

South Balnoon (Cairn(s))

The Balnoon area near the Glendronach Distillery (a sacred place to us Turriff people) has had a lot of cairns removed due to agriculture and forestry. However one cairn does remain on the Drumblair Hill which neighbours the Hare Moss (home to the remnants of a stone circle).

Take the minor road marked South Balnoon on the B9024, this overlooks the distillery, and head south east until the first wood on the east. There is enough room to park a car on a down slope.

Follow the track uphill, this is quite steep, until a small gap in the trees, at the this point leave the track, head through the trees, jump a wee ditch and the cairn is in front.

As usual Mr Shepherd's descriptions are very short in Canmore. The cairn is just over 6m in width being 0.75m high. It is turf and heather covered but appears to have a bit of houk damage. Also there appears to be a ditch to the north and west sides. It also has a clear view over to the Raich Four Poster.

Not much to look at, at least the site hasn't vanished altogether.

Visited 27/06/2020.

Elliot Water (Promontory Fort)

After leaving the rain soaked Kirkbuddo Cairn we headed further east following the B9127 until the sharp corners at the Black Den bridge. The Black Burn flows under the bridge and it meets the Elliot Water nearby, both were bursting their banks.

For some reason I got completely lost by following a track which eventually vanished, however after finding a well built wall I found myself near a folly / temple overlooking Elliot Water. This made life easier, by sticking to ridge overlooking the burn and heading east I headed straight into the promontory fort.

An earthwork or rampart defends the west side of the fort stretching for about 52m being almost over 1m high in most most places. It is crescent shaped. Nature provides the rest of the other defences with steep slopes going down to the two burns.

Sticking to high places overlooking the Black Burn and following a type of track we made our way back north towards were I had parked the car. If anybody finds car keys here, they belong to me.

Visited 14/02/2020.

Kirkbuddo Cairn (Cairn(s))

The Kirkbuddo or Gallows Hill Cairn is a very easy site to find sitting on an easily spotted mound next to the B9127 near Kirkbuddo House. I asked permission to park and visited the site in the pouring rain. Thankfully it's a short walk.

This must have been a huge monument, it still stands at 25m wide being almost 4m high. However it has been severely damaged. Obviously at some point a few people have had their lives ended here also.

Water tanks and related buildings have been built into the site, ironically the remains of the cairn look much better than the efforts built in 1905.

Still, a worthwhile visit.

Visited 14/02/2020.

Strone Hill East (Cairn(s))

Once finished with the multiple sites at the west side of Strone Hill it's time head over the top of the hill to the site on the east. This a gentle climb amongst grass and heather, nothing serious. The walk is only halted by a fence next to the field which houses the cairn.

Sadly this well sized cairn has had a fair amount of field clearance dumped on top of it as well as a bit of houking. However several kerbs remain place around the edge of the 14m wide site, standing at just below 1m.

By this time it was getting dark, Brankam and Welton Hills will have to wait for another day.

A fine end to a fine day.

Visited 4/01/2020.

Strone Hill (Stone Circle)

Certainly one of the smallest stone circles I've seen but also one of the best for being surrounded in prehistoric sites. In this case you practically trip over them.

From Mid Strone head North west into the centre of the plateau. One stone barely stands, the other three appear to have fallen.

Visited 4/01/2020.

Strone Hill Ring Cairns

Once at the Mid Strone Cairn look north and west and you'll see plenty of prehistoric sites. These are the ring cairns.

NO29181 56740
A very small ring cairn, perhaps a double kerb. One of the outer kerbs has fallen.

NO29172 56753 One larger outer kerb and an inner circle of small stones.

NO28995 56752 A small ring cairn 5m wide.

NO28976 56776 A nice ring cairn sitting at over 6m wide, some decent kerbs amongst the turf.

Visited 4/01/2020

Strone Hill Settlement (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

Once at the Mid Strone Cairn it really is a case of everywhere you look, west and north you will see ring cairns and hut circles.

NO29139 56718 A well preserved hut circle at least 16m wide, entrance on the east.

NO29144 56737 Another well preserved hut circle, also 16m wide.

NO29150 56701 The biggest of the hut circles at Strone is over 20m wide and also in pretty good condition.

NO28884 56767 A hut circle about 10m wide.

There are more hut circles of various sizes but these are badly damaged.

Visited 4/01/2020

Mid Strone Hill (Cairn(s))

Leaving Foldend Cairn follow the track north (a loose description) to several gates to get into more wilder grass, this is home to loads of prehistoric monuments - hut circles, ring cairns, a four poster stone circle and this unrecorded cairn (details sent to Canmore).

Once over the gates another track appears follow this for about 500 yards then look east. At the bottom of the hill sits this cairn. It sremains at 14m wide and is 2m tall. Several kerbs remain on the west side whilst there is the usual houking on top. An impressive start to a huge amount of sites north and west.

Visited 4/01/2020.

Foldend House (Cairn(s))

The Foldend House cairn has seen a lot a damage, the usual field clerance dumped on top , stones used to make nearby dry steen dykes, the south side has been ploughed out and a track clips the western edge. Despite everything it still has a lot going for it i.e loads of very close sites and clear views. The cairn at Lintrathen Reservoir can be easily spotted as can numerous other sites.

Some kerbs remain in place that is approximately 17m wide and 0.5m high.

We were given permission to park at Foldend House walking slightly east to the first gate, then head straight north and uphill aiming for the gap in the dry steen dyke. The site is next to this gap.

Visited 4/01/2020.

Wester Coul (Cairn(s))

Just to the north west of Lintrathen Reservoir on the B951 take the minor road heading north. Head to Wester Coul farm for permission to walk around the site.

The site itself is a very short walk west from the first corner on the minor road, the road to Wester Coul farm is an offshoot.

It looks in pretty good condition and appears to be undisturbed except for some field clearence and animal damage. Cairn material also pokes through the turf covered site which sits at 15m wide, being 2m tall.

A very good cairn in a very good area for prehistory.

Visited 4/01/2020

Kirkton Hill (Cairn(s))

Parking at the sharp corner just to the east of the small village of Kirkton of Kingoldrum we made our way up the fairly steep Kirkton Hill heading north west. We jumped a couple of fences on the way to reach the top of a small wood. The cairn is on top of hill just beyond a small dry steen dyke.

Turf covers the remains of the cairn which sits at nearly 10m wide and 0.4m tall. One or two bits of cairn material can be seen amongst the grass whilst a couple of larger stones suggest a kerb.

Impressive all round views await the visitor in an area full of prehistoric monuments. Beware the electric fence might switched on!

Visited 4/01/2020.

Dalrossach North (Cairn(s))

It took three visits to eventually get photographs anywhere near worthy of posting. We parked just to the west of Dalrossach Farm and made our way back up the hill via the kerb cairn at NJ 4148 1479 and continued to the summit which houses a more modern cairn. From there we followed the track north beside the deer fence.

Just beyond the track heading west look for a clearing in the woods, the cairn is housed underneath the trees just beyond.

The cairn has taken a severe battering but still survives, just. Sitting at 9m wide and 0.3m tall the trees now protect the remnants. I thought there might be two possible cists, then again they simply could be displaced stones.

Various smaller cairns are nearby, some of which we found as we took the long way back to the car via the Bridge of Buchat.

Visited 3/1/2020.

Battle Hill (Hillfort)

Battle Hill is the scene for quite a few prehistoric monuments, the hut circle and ring cairn are there but have been covered in turf until more digs later this year. What can be seen is the remains of a fort on top of the small hill.

Take the first road heading north east, on the A97 heading into Huntly near the petrol station, which leads to a small car park. Head up to the woodland walks taking a good look at the info board as the grid refs in Canmore are miles out. Follow the track that also heads north East, look for the the second gate in the deer fence. This path leads to a hut which leads to the top hill. Signs of the archaeological dig can be seen. Hopefully more info to come later in the year.

Visited 3/1/2020.

Clashmach Hill (Cairn(s))

Having climbed Clashmasch Hill several times looking for the nearby ring cairn and the cairn much further on at Allrick I was always surprised that the cairn near the trig wasn't mentioned in Canmore.

That has now been corrected after the Christmas Day (2019) visit. Some of the stones have been used to erect a walkers cairn next to the trig. The ancient cairn still has at least 4 kerbs in place in a footprint at least 6m wide being 0.4m at its highest.

Tremendous views all round views to the Tap O Noth, Bennachie, Knock and the town of Huntly in the valley below. Unlike the 2017 visit when it was snowy, Christmas 2019 was mild.

Visited 2/1/2017

Re-visited 25/12/2019.

Dun Garbhlaich (Stone Fort / Dun)

As the crow the flies it is 1.5km from Breakachy Cairn to the stunning fort at Dun Garbhlaich, there is a certain amount of 'aye right' at the distance.

The trek from the cairn includes the climbing of several small hills, picking the way through bogs, jumping a fair amount of streams, avoiding falling into peat cutting holes and, today, an ever increasing wind. However the sun remained out till we reached the final climb.

The first view of the fort shows the well preserved walls of the south west, follow the ridge up which leads the southern entrance. As soon as we entered the fort the heavy snow from the west arrived. To the north and south east the wall has tumbled over the edge. However the entrance does remain in place with upright slabs still in place. The forts interior wall to the east is also in a ruinous state. After a good look round in conditions that were atrocious we headed back to the valley below.

After crossing the first marsh the weather relented but not on the fort, it was shrouded in snow. On the hill to the west a row of about 30 deer watched us as we picked our way through the bogs. Eventually we made it back to the track near the Breakachy Cairn, drenched but intact.

We retraced our steps back to Leanassie and the car. Behind was white with snow in the higher places, we'd probably got down just before a complete whiteout.

Another great day in the hills around Beauly, safe bet a few more coming up.

Visited 2/11/2019.

Breakachy Burn (Kerbed Cairn)

After returning to the car we headed west via a few twists and turns ending up at Upper Leanassie where we were allowed to park, even better there is a sign saying walkers welcome.

Follow the track west going through several gates, jumping a couple of streams until the trees finish. Look west and the tremendous Dun Mor can be seen. Unfortunately reaching the fort from this north east point is almost impossible thanks to the Breakachy Burn. However that is a target for another day, looking west we could see the weather had plans for us as well.

The cairn at Breakachy has an impressive kerb consisting of 11 stones to the south west. It is 9m wide and 0.5m high. Sadly the site has been affected by the scourge of depopulation and the remains of a depopulation steading.

Still, despite this, this is a superb site, the views are stunning, across the burn Dun Mor and further west, snow covered mountains. We were going to head North East.

Visited 2/11/2019.
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Still doing the music, following that team and getting lost in the hills! (Some Simple Minds, Glasvegas, Athlete, George Harrison, Empire Of The Sun, Nazareth on the headphones, good boots and sticks, away I go!)

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