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

Fieldnotes by drewbhoy

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Dun Doir A'Chrorain (Hillfort)

The A846 isn't the only road on Islay, there are roads to Keils, Inverlussa, Knockrome and Lealt (the walk to Corryvreckan). It does, however, have only one A road, the A846.

The dun at Doir A'Chorain, just the east of Gate House (north on the road) and south of Lagg can be reached by parking near the passing place, there is plenty of room.

A short walk south reaches the site which is 14m long by 9m wide. It is surrounded by walls some of which still remain in a built condition, at their widest they reach 2m. However an annexe, 18m long and 11m wide also surrounded in walls contains the main front door in the north east with perhaps another smaller entrance on the south side of the dun.

An interesting place and a place that you can easily be spied on. Deer, at least 50 or 60 of them watched nervously from Cnoc A Doire Dharaich to the east, their antlers dark on the hilltop.

Visited 26/07/2021.

Ardlussa (Standing Stone / Menhir)

The standing stone at Ardlussa like many standing stones appears to indicate a natural harbour and is situated on the north side of Ardlussa Bay, a short distance east from the road.

It stands at about 1 meter high and has no markings. The only thing to disturb its peace was myself and a few cows.

Nice site.

Visited 26/07/2021.

Carn An Seirmonaich (Cairn(s))

This must have been a huge cairn at some point, it still is despite being much reduced in size. However it is difficult to photograph thanks to trees growing on it and the very high ferns, seemingly commonplace this year on Jura.

Take the Keils minor road from Craighouse heading west following it as it heads north, at the next sharp corner stop. From here head east down the hill which leads straight to an entrance to a field. Look up the small hill, the cairn is amongst the trees.

After jumping the fence be careful as you'll land in the beginnings of the stonework. Kerbs can be seen on the north and south after a good tramping down of vegetation.

Apparently the cairn was used as a type of kirk or meeting place during 1847.

Could be a very good site if the vegetation went away.

Visited 26/07/2021.

Crackaig (Stone Fort / Dun)

Parking is available to the south of Craighouse at the crossroads with the main road and two tracks. To the west leads the stone row at Carragh A' Ghlinne, to the east is Crackaig Farm.

Head east along this track, for about 200 metres, then look for a gap in the dry stane dyke to head south west. The dun is on the north side of the hill so head for low point between the two high points of the hill, then head north. Dry conditions made the climb fairly easy.

Remnants of defences can be seen on the south and north west as large well placed stones, some of these stones being 3m in length. The stone on its edge marks the forts front door to the south. A much reduced rampart surrounds the interior which is approximately 15m by 10m. Steep slopes on three sides complete the defences.

Superb all round views, north to the Bay Of Small Islands and on a good day Ireland to the south.

Visited 26/07/2021.

An Aird (Cairn(s))

After the battering from Druim Loisgte we retraced our footsteps back to the standing stone at Cnocan Soiller, this time leaving the path to go straight west, which leads to a gate. Climb over this and head north west to the second clearing in the trees/bushes - the cairn rests to the west side of this.

The site sits at almost 6m wide and is 1m high, farmers from all ages have taken advantage and dumped stones onto the east and south sides. Tremendous views of the Bay of Small Islands, my favourite, the smallest, is called Useless Island and to the west Jura's most famous sight, The Paps of Jura. Whoever was placed here certainly had a decent view.

To get back to the car park simply head straight north, there is a gate in the north east part of the field.

Nice wee site to finish the afternoon.

Visited 25/07/2021.

Druim Loisgte (Hillfort)

This fort might appear fairly low and it might appear to be easy to reach. It isn't, our attempts, and there were several yielded no reward.

Our first attempt was to head straight across and batter our way through head high ferns, brambles and various other obstacles. A and B battled their way through and climbed the first part of the cliff. However the climb was to steep and their legs not long enough. However I did manage to climb up and eventually made it to a clearing near the cliff's edge. This was between the hill to the south and the fort, there appeared to be a hollow way and a tracks end not listed Canmore. Tightly packed trees and various other plants made entering the fort from the south impossible. Heading west I made it back to the bottom of the hill on the An Aird side, only to fall into ditch which was fortunately dry. Following this north for about 20 meters I had another attempt thwarted, having climbed half way there nowhere to go but back down. Trying the headland proved equally futile.

A winter time visit would probably help find a way up, tantalising but no cigar this time.

Visited or attempted 25/07/2021

An Dunan (Promontory Fort)

From the standing stone on Cnocan Soillier head south following the track, part human, part animal, part quad and follow it as it swings north into a flat area called An Aird, situated between to secluded beaches. Head north to find a way round the headland which is the Druim Loisgte, a fort (more of which later) until you reach a natural causeway. The causeway has pebbles then beaches at both sides.

Entrance to the fort is on the south west and is about a metre wide, superbly defended by several standing stonesque rocks, then clamber up the east side. On the forts western side several facer stones give protection, on the east there are hints of a rampart. These defend an area of around 40m by 15m. The south end has been described as a dragon's tail by locals, a reasonable assessment. Superbly located it can see both the entrances to the Bay of the Small Isles to the south, and much closer Lowlandman's Bay to the north. Vikings are said to have taken keen interest here and at Ardmenish to the north, as these inlets made superb harbours.

To the east is the Sound of Jura, and whilst on the way to the whirlpools at Corryvreckan was lucky enough to take a couple of photographs from the watery side.

To west is Druim Loisgte...............

Fantastic site.

Visited 25/07/2021.

Cnocan Soilleir (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Head north from Craighouse on the A846 and take the minor road heading east towards Knockrome, home to three standing stones and at the roads end Ardfernal, home to another standing stone. At the end of the road as it veers north there is a track heading towards Cnocan Soilleirs highest point, before this there is a gate and the track, man and cattle made heads south. Follow this until it starts to head downhill. In a clearing there are some rock plates and glacerial, just beyond this and immediately east stands the hill's standing stone.

The stone stands at just over 1 meter high and has a square top, having no markings. Some chokes lay hidden in the grass, ferns and heather It has clear views into the Bay of Small Islands and to the west, the famous Paps of Jura.

This is also the route to the two forts further on and a cairn to the west.

Great wee site, spectacular views.

Visited 25/07/2021.

Carn Liath (Stone Fort / Dun)

The dun Carn Liath is very close to Jura's only village of Craighouse. Opposite the island's shop there is a track that heads uphill and west going behind the sacred Isle of Jura distillery. Keep going until the track swerves north towards masts of various description. Instead of heading north, head straight on, west, into the trees and follow a hardly used track, tree lined but full of cleggs (horsefly). Luckily I take so may drugs (legal), they ignore me but they had fun with A.

Keep looking north until you see where there is a circle of higher ferns, in winter this mound will be reasonably easy to spot. Despite a good covering a small part of the dun had no ferns allowing this visitor to spy some stonework on the western side. Plenty of nearby dry stane dykes have benefited from their builders robbing stones from the site.

Still, beautiful views into the Bay of Small Isles, everywhere in fact, and this gives the idea that this position was used to keep an eye on the bay, just like its two friends at Knockrome and another at Ardmenish.

Visited 24/07/2021.

Ardrishaig, Robber's Den (Hillfort)

From our accommodation in Ardrishaig we headed down to the Crinan Canal and walked north along West Bank Road until to come to the Kilduskland Burn. Follow the path west, climbing steadily, cross two wooden bridges looking for a small waterfall near a reasonably sized pool. The fort is on the northern side, then head east.

Sadly vegetation has taken over much of the fort. Outer defences are reached or tripped over on the west side. Both sides of the fort are protected by sheer drops falling into two steams. Buildings in the fort are almost impossible to make out but are there.

A winter time visit needed to really see what's going on here. Still a very nice, cool walk amongst the trees after a long car journey. Even better a pub on the shore at the bottom of the hill.

Visited 23/07/2021.

Balnakeilly (Stone Circle)

Just before the big brae heading through Moulin & Kinnaird to Pitlochry, on the A924, pull in before (Kirkmichael side) or after (Pitlochry side) the Knock Barrie wood. Head straight north from the gatehouse, you'll find a track, to what looks like the area's highest point. An ideal place for a prehistoric site, in this case a Four Poster Stone Circle.

Arrangement of boulders in rectangle, 5m between stones N/S and 2m between stones E/W. Largest stone A 1.6 x 1.4 x 0.8m glacial erratic, B 1.3 x 0.6 x 0.45m rounded glacial erratic, C flat stone covered by moss 1.3 x 1.30m, D covered in moss 0.8 x 0.8 x 0.25m. Small outlier on E and W sides. Located on low flat raised piece of ground.

Pinched from Canmore, the site details. Coming down from Braemar, it was a scorcher, by the time we'd almost reached Pitlochry an atmospheric mist had descended.

A great wee site to start proceedings.

Visited 23/07/2021.

Coire Bogha Choinnich (Cairn(s))

At Coylumbridge, take the road the heads to the Cairngorm Ski Centre, Glenmore etc before taking the road to the Badaguish Outdoor Centre.

I walked north eastish over the outdoor cycle tracks to outskirts of a wood and followed the Allt Feithe Moire burn back to near its beginnings in the east somewhere above the Coire Bogha Choinnich cairn. Fairly treacherous underfoot due to bog, fallen trees and deep holes lurking filled with water. Thankfully I didn't have any falls.

The site is 7m wide and 1m tall appearing to houked. However due to the vegetation it is impossible to see what is in the cairn's centre, it is possible to see what appears to be kerbs on the south west arc.

Being in the Cairngorms, the views are tremendous even over to my pointy friend Castle Hill, which had some of the darkest clouds I'd seen during summer. Naturally as I made my way back down I was drenched, no waterproofs would have been able to cope. As I made my way back along the A95, the car was just about able to cope. Two hours later, it wouldn't have, as water from the hills and streams had flooded the road, flood alerts concerning the Spey had also been broadcast.

Great views, nice wee site.

Visited 10/07/2021.

Delbog (Cairn(s))

Delbog is one of these lovely cairns found often in the Grantown on Spey area, most of which are on the North or West side of the River Spey. This site, like Coire Molach, is to south of the river and the south west of Nethy Bridge. Getting here is complicated but here goes.

On Nethy Bridge's west side is Duackbridge, take the road that heads south, keep going ignoring the first minor road as the (wider road) veers south west, however take the next minor road south then take the next road that heads west. Just before this comes to a stop, take the road heading south before finally stopping at a cattle grid. Plenty room to park.

Go on the track heading south, then take the first grass track heading west, when I was there the first deer gate was open, follow the small fence till its end as its meets another deer fence, jump this, head south south, jump the Allt Ruigh Challich burn to immediately jump another deer fence. From here head south west through a clump of trees , a bog until you see a gate, follow the field until the end of the small promontory, head south east and another gate appears. Over that then head south, climb a small fence and jump the Craiggowrie Burn. Climb the small ridge in front and a further 200 meters south will take you to the cairn.

Sheltering underneath Craigowrie, the mountain, Delbog Cairn has fantastic views over to the Aviemore, Carr Bridge and Grantown on Spey areas. Plenty of stone work can be seen at the site which is 10m wide and 1m high. There appears to be the remnants of a cist in it's centre.

It also has company, several cairns are nearby, however a return visit is required as somehow I managed to delete the photos of those nearby sites.

Still, no damage done, back by same route I arrived.

Visited 10/07/2021.

Coire Molach 2 (Cairn(s))

I headed north and uphill from the main cairn at Coire Molach. The first thing I spotted, apart from numerous canes, was an odd shaped tree growing in the middle of a cairn. The site's footprint surrounds the odd shaped tree which appeared to me to be half dead and half alive.

This site is about 7 metres wide and is 1m tall, and has been houked. Some larger stones might be a displaced kerb. Stones are clearly visible to east and moss/green leaf covered in the north west.

I headed back to car in a circuitous route spying three more cairns. It is a safe bet that the whole ridge might be covered in prehistoric monuments.

Visited 10/07/2021.

Coire Molach (Cairn(s))

As you are about to enter Nethy Bridge from the east side, B970, take the road signposted Tomintoul heading south, keep following this past the school, past the houses veering east. Keep going until you reach the signpost marked Dorbrack. Just after Muckerach there is a gate with plenty room to park.

Luckily for me this gate was open so I followed the track heading east until the trees came to meet it. At this point head north west. The cairn, well disguised by heather, is next to the beginnings of a stream. It can also be identified by the small cane stuck in the houked out centre.

Despite some damage the cairn still sits at ten metres wide and is 1 metre high. Tramp hard enough and you will feel stones beneath your feet.

Glorious views of the Cairngorms and to the North West. Canmore say there are several more possible burial cairns. I spied 4, one of which was easily identified.

Visited 10/07/2021.

Brae of Revack 2 / 3 (Cup Marked Stone)

There are two other rocks with cup marks at Brae Of Revack :

NJ0364524514 Slightly to the east, Canmore days 5 cups, I think there 6, one very slight mark near the group.

NJ0361924518 To the north westish of the main stone, Canmore says 2, I say three. 1 well preserved cup mark with two that are hard to spot.

I would think there is a lot of rock art in the area, yet to be discovered Not to far away on the north side of the Spey, is Laggan Hill, home to 3 cairns and on its western flank, loads of cup marked rocks.

Visited 10/07/2021.

Brae of Revack (Cup Marked Stone)

I was given permission to park at Auchernack Farm by the owner, she was very proud of the site and certainly knew all about the cup marks. From the farm I headed south east following track until a small stables. Once past the gate keep following the track until you see a track heading up into the wood. Take this track and follow it until it's end. Over the gate, look east and over the next gate.

The pylons are actually good for directions, head east in their direction, once the land evens out the cup marked rocks can be seen.

This rock has 23 marks, I counted in the hope of finding more but. Superb views over the Cairngorms.

Visited 10/07/2021.

Creag An Sgor (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

Taking the circular route back to Glenbuchat I followed the minor road at Bellabeg until I reached the sharp corner which sees the road and Water of Buchat head south. Just before the corner there is plenty room to park near the ford that crosses the burn.

From there I headed north passing Upperton Farm on the track that follows the Waulkmill Burn. The track heads straight north then veers north west. After about 500 meters heading north west head north east, jumping the Waulkmill Burn, and this should straight to the ring ditch houses described with the photos.

Great views, especially of Ben Newe.

Visited 12/04/2021.

Tom Breac (Souterrain)

Sadly there is not to much to be seen of the souterrain on Tom Breac as it has been backfilled. However some stonework can be seen and the outline is reasonably visible. It is a fairly safe bet that the site is in good condition underneath the earth and turf.

With it being the Easter holidays I parked at Strathdon Primary School. Follow the track that heads north on the west side of the school, veer west, when the track reaches a dyke, then north on a track that is just about visible. The site is in the biggest clearing that looks east over to the Hill of Cummerton.

Not much to see, but at least it is there.

Visited 12/04/2021.

Ben Newe (Sacred Well)

I parked on the west side of Ben Newe, where two forestry roads meet to get onto the minor road, just to the south of Eastertown.

Heading east I jumped the burn, near the dam, and followed the track as it headed north as it ends it turns into a walkers track and heads east. This section for about a 200 meters was tricky as it was covered knee deep in snow.

Keep going uphill, following a fence and old dry stane dyke until you meet a larger track. Cross this and follow the track to the summit.

Unluckily for me the water in the well was frozen. Stunning views especially to the west where the Cairngorms were covered in snow. When the wind dropped it was warm, when windier it was freezing.

Good to return to Ben Newe via a different route.

Visited 12/04/2021.
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