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

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Coed-y-Caerau (Enclosure) — Fieldnotes

Visited 17.2.18

This month's YAC meeting involved trying to locate several 17th C boundery stones. The event was run by Mark Lewis (who works for the National Museum of Wales) who gave us a running commentry of all the things of interest during our walk. One of the first things he pointed out is the camp/enclosure at Pen-toppen-ash. This was easily seen from the lane which runs along its southern side. Mark said that although the site was built over by the Romans it is of an Iron Age, possibly Bronza Age origin. Mark added that limited excavation work had taken place at the site which showed that the stone walls are very well preserved beneath the turf. The turf covered ramparts of the Roman site were easy to make out.

COFLEIN states:
Site Description There are three co-joined earthwork enclosures at Coed-y-Caerau, Pen Toppen Ash. They are set along the summit crest of a steep ridge above the left bank of the lower Usk. The south-western enclosure is roughly oval, about 84-94m in diameter, defined by a single bank, with an apparent inturned entrance, having traces of an outer circuit on the south and south-west. The central enclosure is sub-circular, about 74-80m in diameter, defined by what appears to be a partially spiralling bank, within a roughly concentric outer embanked enclosure, that springs from the south-west enclosure circuit, about 136-142m in diameter, counterscarped on the north-west and having inturned entrances on the south-east and north-east.

The north-eastern enclosure is possibly a Roman fortlet, though an Iron Age date seems more likely given its association with the other Iron Age features. It is rectangular, about 96m north-east to south-west by 108m, and defined by a single bank with rounded angles. An outer, roughly concentric circuit, generally 166m square, appears to respect the central enclosure

Garrowby Hill Top and Garrowby Wold (Round Barrow(s)) — Miscellaneous

The other nearby barrows are Cot Nab Farm SE813567 and South Wold Farm SE821570. None of which I could see during a 'drive by' due to the hedge and the fields being in crop (wheat)

Kitty Hill (Round Barrow(s)) — Miscellaneous

Drive by

A short distance east of Stamford Bridge along the A166.

Despite EH reporting that this barrow is 2.5m high by 26m in diameter I couldn't spot it due to the hedgerow. Time prevented me from stopping for a proper look.

Woodhouse (Cairn(s)) — Miscellaneous

Drive by 29.7.17

On the western side of the A68, north of West Woodbury.

The cairn was easily visible as a rough grass covered mound. Approximately 1m high.

Skipsea Castle (Artificial Mound) — Fieldnotes

Visited 5.8.17

In the village of Skipsea. Signposted as it is an English Heritage site. You can park near the field gate which gives access to the site. You walk across a field and then through a second gate. The field had a herd of cows in it.

My main reason for visiting was to knock off another English Heritage site. I have been to many motte and bialy castles over the years but this is one of the most impressive. Both the motte and bails are very large. The views from the top of the motte are impressive over the surrounding flat countryside. I would heartily recommend visiting the site - just watch out for the cow pats!

Pockley Gates (Round Barrow(s)) — Miscellaneous

Drive by

A short distance east of Hensley along the A170

As per the nearby Low Common barrows I couldn't see any sign of the barrows due to the hedge and the field being in crop. The A170 is a very busy road and parking is problematic at best. Perhaps it would be easier to spot the barrows in the winter?

Low Common (Round Barrow(s)) — Miscellaneous

Drive by 31.7.17

On the northern side of the A170, west of Pickering.

Due to the hedges and the fact the field was in crop I could see no sign of the three barrows my OS map shows are here. EH have nothing to add on the subject.

Westow (Long Barrow) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.7.17

Along a minor road, east of Kirkham Priory (EH site). OS map required.

The long barrow is in the field adjacent to Westow Grange farm. There is no public access into the field which is overlooked by the farmhouse.

The barrow is visible from the edge of the field as a grass covered mound approximately 1.5m high by 30m long.

Collinswood Farm (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.7.17

East of Sledmere on the B1253

The field was in crop (wheat). The barrow could still be made out as a low, long mound. It is only a matter of time until it has been completely ploughed out.

Sands Wood (Round Barrow(s)) — Miscellaneous

Drive by 30.7.17

I didn't have time for a proper visit so was hoping to spot the barrow via a 'drive by'. Unfortunately the wood is quite dense with plenty of vegetation so I failed to spot it. Nice spot though for someone to have a proper look.

Rudston Monolith (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 1.8.17

Looking at my previous fieldnote I am back here exactly 2 years later - I had no idea!

When you are anywhere near the area of this hugely impressive stone you just have to visit. And it is just as impressive the second time around (no doubt also the third, fourth, fifth etc).

All was quiet in the churchyard (we were the only visitors), the sun was shining, the birds chirping - very peaceful on this late summer evening.

The stone still dominates the church, as it has always done. Rudstone is one of those special places that everyone should try to visit at least once in their lives.

*** Don't forget to check out the cist and Roman coffin lid in the corner of the churchyard under the trees.

Maelmin Henge Reconstruction — Fieldnotes

Visited 26.7.17

Signposted from the village of Milfield, on the A697. There is a free carpark immediately adjacent to the site. Access is via a gate or the site can be viewed via a raised viewing platform.

This is an excellent place to visit. Access couldn't be easier and there are several information boards which have rather amusing cartoon-like drawings on them. You basically follow the path, reading the boards as you go. This reconstruction really gives a feel for how a henge would have looked like when originally built.

Alas the Mesolithic hut has now gone, although the information board relating to it is still there.

Scarborough Castle (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork) — Fieldnotes

Visited 31.7.17

I guess a Summer holiday rainy day out in Scarborough is as close to being typically British as it is possible to get? Even down to the two smiling ladies enjoying their ice creams whilst sheltering under a brolly during a torrential down pour with thunder and lightning added as a bonus!

On the walk up to the castle myself and Dafydd sheltered in the porch of St Mary's church - during yet another down pour. Whilst there I spotted the grave of Anne Bronte - one of the famous writing sisters - although the closest I have ever come to any of their work is listening to the classic Kate Bush song!

Anyway, upon reaching the castle and looking around there is a series of information boards showing the history of the site. The first board shows an artistic impression on a Bronze Age settlement which was discovered during excavations. There is a well within the castle (also called St Mary's I think) which is thought to have been a water source for the Bronze Age folk. (From my experience of Scarborough all they would have had to do was tilt their heads backwards and open their mouths if they felt thirsty!)

There is also the remains of a Roman lighthouse at the castle -if you like that sort of thing?

Great coastal views to be had in all directions. No wonder the ancients set up home here. I wonder if they had problems with the seagulls nicking their chips as well? :)

Dunstanburgh Castle (Promontory Fort) — Fieldnotes

Visited 28.7.17

To be honest the real reason I visited the site was in order to knock another English Heritage site off the list. From the castle sweeping views along the coast are to be had and it comes as no great surprise that this was once the site of a promontory fort.

It is a fair old walk to the castle from the car park in Craster (about 1.5 miles) but well worth it, particularly on a bright and breezy day.

As we passed the lifeguard station on the way back to the car the alarm went off and the RNLI sprang into action. A tiny tractor pulled the RIB out along the beach and into the water. Within minutes the rescue craft was roaring out of the harbour and out into sea. Apparently a swimmer had gone missing further up the coast. Hopefully it was a happy ending?

Duggleby Howe — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.7.17

This impressive barrow stands next to the village of the same name. Despite its size we somehow managed to drive past it on first approach!

Access was no problem as the field had been harvested although the barrow itself was covered in fairly high rough grass so had an 'unkempt' look about it - a bit like me really - and only a bit older! ;)

Kemp Howe (Long Barrow) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.7.17

A short distance east of Sledmere, next to the B1253.

Although the field was still in crop (wheat) it was just about possible to spot the barrow as a long, low 'bump'. No doubt that within a few years it will have been completely ploughed out.

If you are in the area take time to visit the fantastic First World War memorial in Sledmere. It is also next to the B1253. A superb piece of stone masonry which tells an important story.

The King's Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Miscellaneous

Drive by 28.7.17

The stone can be easily seen when driving past along the A697. It certainly looks 'old'. A reused prehistoric standing stone? If it is it doesn't appear to have been 'tarted up'. Requires an expert visit - which isn't me!

Prudhoe Castle (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Fieldnotes

Visited 29.7.17

This is what I call a 'win - win', the chance to visit a new English Heritage site and see an 'old stone' at the same time!

The stone is just outside the door you pay to get into the castle (gratis for me due to my trusty CADW card!). There is a metal sign next to the stone which gives basic information. The cup and rings are quite worn but as far as I could tell (the light was not ideal) the top two cups had two rings around them whilst the bottom one had a single ring?

Well worth visiting if in the area - as is the castle. If you only wanted to see the stone you could get away without paying to get into the castle!

Innerleithen Parish Church (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art) — Fieldnotes

Failed visit 25.7.17

How many churches can one (relatively) small place have? Clearly one too many for me as I failed to find the right church!

I visited 5 - one converted to appartments, one in the process of conversion and 3 wrong ones!

If you happen to know which is the correct church perhaps you can provide the name and directions on how to find it - for people like me! :)

Cardrona Mains (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 25.7.17

Immediately south of the A72 - signposted Cardrona.

The stone was visible from the road - just! Access is over an old wooden field gate.

Since the photos were taken nature has taken over and the entire field is now covered in chest height vegetation, including brambles, thistles and nettles-far from ideal when wearing shorts! (at least I found some wild raspberries to pick - although the children ate them all!)

The stone is a decent size, approximately 4ft high x 1.5ft wide. The stone has a pronounced lean and is covered in white and yellow lichen. A large yellow snail clung to one side.

Worth seeking out when in the area.

The White Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 25.7.17

The stone is easy to spot being on the main road out of Peebles. Parking is also easy.

It is nice that this stone has been respected and cared for all these years. It says something that there was no sign of any graffiti or litter spoiling the stone. I would put the stone at approximately 1metre round.

Well worth looking out for when visiting Peebles - which is a very nice town. (and has an Historic Scotland site - that's another one off the list!) :)

Old Harestanes (Stone Circle) — Miscellaneous

Drive by 25.7.17

Just south of the junction of the A72 / A701. Signposted Kirkurd.

The circle is not visible from the road. It must be in the garden behind the house. There is a field which runs along the side of the house which I would guess you could peep over the hedge to espy the stones? However, this was not something I had time to try - it would also have been rather obvious!

Garth Hill (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 21.6.2017

Three years later I find myself back on Garth Hill. This time however I am here on the Solstice to see the sun come up and not go down - minus Dafydd who I left in bed as he has school later this morning and he is one crabby boy when tired!

I arrived at the usual parking spot at 4.15am ready for a sunrise at 4.55am. I headed up the rough track and was soon joined by an elderly chap who informed me that his granddaughter was at Stonehenge so he thought he would join her in spirit by watching the Solstice from somewhere nearer home. I said I would rather be here than Stonehenge today!

Upon reaching the barrow we surveyed the scene around us. Although the sky above us was clear, it was hazy with some cloud on the horizon. Why is it that when you hope for a clear sky to see the sun rise/set it is usually like this? On the plus side we were treated to a crescent moon and the planet Venus shining brightly above it. It was a bit windy but cool rather than cold - no doubt it will get a lot warmer as the day unfolds during this current heat wave.

We were soon joined by 3 other people and then a little later by a lady walking her dog. By now the sky and surrounding countryside was starting to lighten, changing from blue to purple to lilac. The clouds being under lit by the still unseen sun changing the clouds from rose pink to bright orange and eventually to bright white. Several jet airliners sped high overhead, leaving a trail of white in their wake.

At 5.00am the sun made its brilliant appearance, breaking through the clouds as a bright red orb - a wondrous sight and well worth getting up for. All was quiet except for the sound of birdsong all around us. We were all deep in our own thoughts contemplating everything and nothing.

Before long the sun had risen sufficiently enough to make looking directly at it impossible. Time to head back down the hill, home, breakfast and get ready for work. I may be the most tired one in the office today but I will probably be the one feeling most fulfilled.

St Augustine's Abbey (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited April 2017

As part of my ongoing quest to visit every English Heritage site I found myself having a week in Kent and a visit to the abbey. I certainly wasn't expecting anything of a prehistoric nature in my visit. However, whilst walking around the ruins I came across two stones which are described as 'standing stones'. Apparently the stones are not local to the area and must have been brought to the site from some distance. The guide book I bought states that they are possibly re-used prehistoric standing stones?

One for the 'disputed antiquity' list I think!

Woodbury Castle (Hillfort) — Fieldnotes

Visited 23.10.2016

There is plenty of parking either side of the B3180 immediately adjacent to the hillfort.

There is a badly worn / vandalized information board at the edge of the car park, on the approach to the steps which take you up the inner rampart. From the bottom of the ditch I would guess it was perhaps 8m to the top of the inner rampart. From inside the hillfort the rampart was about 3m high in places. The whole area of the hillfort, both inside and outside the ramparts is covered with large, mature trees of various type.

It was a beautiful autumn day. An azure sky with the warm sun filtering through the reds, golds and browns of the leaves, which were falling like confetti over our heads.

I was really taken by this site, it was a really lovely place to visit. Particularly in weather as fine as today. In fact I would say it was even better than the not-to-distant and more famous, Blackbury Camp. This is no slur on Blackbury Camp (a fine site) but more a high recommendation of Woodbury Castle. In my humble opinion a 'must see' when in this part of the world. And it couldn't be easier to find and access.

The B3180 follows the contours of the ramparts as it passes through the site. Which leads to an obvious question - which numpty decided to build a road right through the site instead of around it?

Hangman's Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 23.10.2016

On the southern verge of the busy A3052 at the junction with the minor road turning south to Branscombe. You can pull in on the grass verge next to the stone for a quick visit.

The stone is very small but was easy enough to spot in the short grass. If the grass had not been cut for some time (must play havoc with the council grass cutters!) it could be difficult. A non-descript stone which would pass you by had you not been specifically looking out for it. Not one to go out of your way for.

Aylesbeare Common (Round Barrow(s)) — Miscellaneous

Drive by 26.10.16

A short distance east from the Half Way Inn (B3180 / A3052 junction) to the north of the A3052.

I could only spot one of the barrows as we sped along the busy A3052. The barrow appeared as a gorse covered mound surrounded by gorse covered heath.
Parking would be difficult.

E.H. state:
Two bowl barrows near the summit of Harpford Hill. The western barrow is 2m high by 16m in diameter. The eastern barrow is 1.6m high by 20m in diameter.

Colaton Raleigh Common (Round Barrow(s)) — Miscellaneous

Drive by 23.10.16

A short distance north of Woodbury Castle Hillfort along the B3180.

My O/S map shows two barrows. One to the left of the road (next to the turning for Woodbury) and the other a bit further east along the road. Whilst driving past I couldn't spot the first barrow but I did spot the second barrow. It appears as a gorse covered mound in an area of gorse covered heath. Parking would be problematic and I guess this is not a site to visit wearing shorts!

E.H. state:
Two bowl barrows on Colaton Raleigh Common, situated about 500m apart. The eastern barrow is 3.5m high with a diameter of 21m. The western barrow is 4m high with a diameter of 31m.

The Valley of Stones (Natural Rock Feature) — Miscellaneous

A view from upon high - 23.10.2016

On our way back home to South Wales we made a quick stop-off to have a look at the Valley of Stones.

There is room for one car to park next to the sign post directing you to the valley. There is an information board giving an overview of the valley and how it was formed.

I was hoping to see a 'river of stones' flowing down the valley. I was hoping to use this to help explain to Dafydd and Sophie how the Ice Age helped shape the landscape etc. Unfortunately from our lofty perch we couldn't see any stones! No doubt had we had the time to have walked down the valley we would have seen plenty! However, I was still able to use the landscape to help aid my talk. At least Dafydd found it a bit interesting. Sophie was more interested in the four horses we had passed and was desperate to try to smooth them!

The Grey Mare & Her Colts (Long Barrow) — Fieldnotes

Visited 23.10.16

When visiting the Kingston Russel stone circle you simply must take the short detour off the bridleway to visit this ruined, but nevertheless impressive burial chamber.

Despite the cold wind myself and Dafydd spent a fair bit of time here looking over the stones. Needless to say we had the place to ourselves. I think you would be quite unlucky to find someone else here the same time as you.

To be honest I think this is a better preserved more interesting site than its more famous nearby stone circle. I note that it was nearly two years to the day since my last visit. A lot of water has passed under the bridge in that time! Although these sites are a bit out of the way (O/S map recommended) they are well worth the effort.

Kingston Russell (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 23.10.2016

Whoo-hooo.......... Found it! How I managed to NOT find it on my last visit is now a bit of a mystery!

Park in the small lay-by just before the cattle grid leading to Gorwell Farm (room for two cars). All you then need to do is follow the signposted bridleway, remembering to go through the wooden gate in front of you as the graveled track bends round to the right. Stay on the bridleway (starts a bit rough but eventually flattens out) and it will take you straight to the stone circle. (In a signposted field on your right)

I am sooooo pleased to have finally got here. This has been something of a 'monkey on my back' for the last two years and something I have wanted to put right. The late afternoon weather had a very late autumn/early winter feel about it. Grey overcast clouds, with a cold, biting wind. It took me 25 minutes to walk from the car to the circle.

As for the stone circle itself, I counted 18 stones of various size and shape. I have no idea if these are 18 different stones or represent fragmented parts of fewer stones? In all honesty the circle itself isn't a 'classic' by any means but at least it is still with us and it does occupy a 'classic' stone circle location - a level area in a prominent position. If the nearby trees and hedges were removed there would be decent 360 degree over the surrounding countryside.

That's another English Heritage site ticked off the list - only 119 to go! It also feels good to get rid of that monkey................ :)

The Rollright Stones (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited (again) 29.8.16

It's funny how sometimes fate lends a hand and you end up being back at a place a lot sooner than expected!

Following an overnight stop in Northamptonshire (to visit a couple of English Heritage sites) I had planned to take a different route home but fate (or my poor map reading!) led us past the Rollright Stones again.

Dafydd was happy with this as he stayed in the car yesterday as he was having a bit of a 'temper tantrum'. Once he had calmed down he really wanted to see the circle but by them we were miles away heading north.

This time we first crossed the road to see the Kings Stone (I told him the story) and then back to the stone circle. Luck was on our side again as most people were either on their way back to their cars or heading over to the Whispering Knights. There were only a couple of people at the circle. I showed Dafydd the entrance and we walked anti-clockwise around the circle (why do I always seem to go anti-clockwise when walking around a stone circle?)

The sun was still shining and despite a few more fluffy white clouds in evidence the weather was even warmer than yesterday. The added bonus was there was no 'boom, boom, boom' to be heard! Wlaking around I spotted many coins pushed into various holes and several ribbons tied to the branches of nearby trees.

It was an unexpected treat to be back so soon. It goes to show - you never kniow................. :)

Visited 28.8.16

Only two years since my last visit? Seems longer.
Some sites have that affect.
The more I visit the Rollrights the more I like them.

The sun was shining brightly and there was not a breath of wind. It was very warm as I approached the gate. Luckily a coach load of American tourists were just leaving so when I got to the circle there was only a couple of people there. Luck was certainly with me as they too shortly left and I managed to have the circle to myself for about 5 minutes.

The surrounding fields had been harvested and in the distance the sun painted pretty patches of light and shadows across the fields. All was picture perfect.

The only thing to spoil the occasion was some muppet in the lay by who obviously thought everyone wanted to hear his/her 'boom, boom, boom' type of music blasting from his/her car. Grrrr.

All too soon other people arrived so I headed back to the car and away from the 'boom, boom, boom'. Hopefully things will me more tranquil and atmospheric on my next visit - whenever that is?

If you have never visited the Rollrights, make sure it is somewhere near the top of your 'to do' list.

Churchill Three Stones (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 28.8.16

Near the sign for 'The Old Rectory' at the start of the lane as previously described by others.

Since the photos were taken the stones have become completely overgrown with ivy and several large bushes are soon to swallow them up. Despite knowing about the stones and where to find them (thanks Jane) I still managed to walk past them 3 times before spotting them! I fear that in a few years you won't be able to see them at all - unless someone comes along with a sharp pair of shears!

Churchill Standing Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Miscellaneous

Drive by 28.8.16

The hedges clearly haven't been cut for some time and I couldn't spot the stone. Parking would be a bit tricky even if I had the time for a proper hunt - which I didn't!

New Street Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 28.8.16

Whilst looking around the pretty town of Chipping Norton I made the short walk from the town centre to this stone (follow the blue car park sign)

The stone is easy to spot on the right (as you approach the car park) but it had a row of various coloured wheelie bins lined up alongside it. I don't know what was in the bins but it stunk to high heaven in the warmth of the day. We didn't linger too long - unlike the smell.

Cultoon (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.7.16

Adjacent to a minor road leading north out of Portnahaven. A short distance south of Kilchiaran cup marked stone. The stones can be seen from the road to the west. Access is via the usual rusty metal gate.

This is a fine stone circle with good sized stones. This is a good place to build a stone circle with fine views out over the sea. Other than having to walk across boggy ground this is a very easy site to access. It is very unlikely you will have to share your visit with anyone else that's for sure!

Islay is a nice Island with plenty to offer the visitor. Friendly people, lots of interesting places to see, some fine beaches and lots of wildlife. I am really pleased to have finally got here. It's not the sort of place that many people get chance to visit so I do feel very fortunate. Some people I know think I am mad taking my summer holidays in such places but I know who the lucky one is. Give me an Islay over a Costa Del Sol every day of the week! :)

p.s. I agree with Merrick - that is definitely a cairn next to the stone circle.

Kilchiaran (Cup Marked Stone) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.7.16

Next to the ruined St Ciaron's Church which is alongside the minor road north of Portnahaven. The church is sign posted and parking is easy enough.

Even by Islay standards this is pretty remote.

I like old churches and this is a lovely, ruined old church situated in a lovely spot overlooking Kilchiaran Bay. The fact it has a cup marked stone immediately next to it obviously adds to its attraction!

The various cup marks are of different sizes and depths. The largest one has worn right through the stone.

It's a nice enough stone and worth stopping off for however I must say the church was my biggest thrill. Inside and overgrown were several medieval grave stones. The rocky shore of Kilchiaran Bay only a short distance away. No doubt this must have been a place of pilgrimage. It is a very atmospheric place and one I would highly recommend visiting.

Achadh-Chaorann (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Miscellaneous

Achadh-Chaorann is a short distance to the east of the Carse stone row - along the same road.

The rain was by now coming down hard and we were running late for the ferry so I had to settle for a 'drive by'. The stone is visible from the main road.

I was initially disappointed not to have a closer loot at the stone and its cup marks but as it turns out we only just made the ferry so it turned out to be a blessing in disguise :)

Hopefully I will get a proper when next in the area?

Carse (Stone Row / Alignment) — Fieldnotes

After visiting the Kilberry sculptured stones (H.S. site) we stopped off on the way to the ferry to have a look at these fine stones, which are visible from the road.
Both fields are easily accessed via metal gates.

There is a single stone in one field - approximately 7ft high. The two other stones are in the field next door. These stones are approximately 8ft and 10ft high respectively. The tallest stone has large lumps of quartz veined throughout it.

There are fine views over Loch Stornoway.

These stones are very easy to access and are a 'must see' when visiting this fairly remote part of mainland Scotland.

Giants' Graves (Chambered Cairn) — Fieldnotes

Visited 27.7.16

There is a signpost for the Glenashdale Falls and the Giant's Grave is then signposted off this path to the left - all zig zag uphill. On the way up you pass a tree that has been planted in memory of Terry, and photos, who passed away in 2013.

It takes 30 minutes to walk to the tombs and you need to be fairly mobile to be able to make it but the path is easy to follow. Once you reach the site there are good views over to Holy Island and the Scottish Scotland.

It was amazing the difference in the weather from when I started to when I got to the top. When I started there was little wind and although overcast it was fairly warm. At the top it was windy, misty and cold!

The two tombs are well worth the effort to walk up the hill. The first tomb you come to is the better preserved and it was good to be able to clamber about the stones and look inside to see how it was constructed. The remaining upright stones are of a good size. The nearby second tomb is not as extensive but obviously still worth checking out. It was no great surprise to find I had the hilltop to myself. I have found that when visiting any site on the Scottish islands / highlands you are virtually guaranteed to get the place to yourself. Orkney and Callanish excepted of course!

It is surprising how some very good sites are not under the care of Historic Scotland etc yet lesser preserved sites are. This site is well worthy of such recognition.

Cnoc Seannda (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

This very large mound is right next to the visitor centre. You can't possibly miss it! In the museum they have the Time Team episode playing on a loop when they visited and excavated the mound in 1994.

Also outside the visitor centre is another smaller stone. I asked the lady in the museum if she knew anything about the stone. She said that it was unknown at present if the stone is prehistoric or connected to the time of the Lord of the Isles. She added that a chap was due to visit the site later this year to carry out a dig. It was hoped that more can be discovered about the stone then.

The Time Team dig revealed animal bones, a flint arrowhead of Bronze Age type and a bone disc within a stone-lined chamber on top of the mound. There was found a Bronze Age cairn next to the chamber.

Finlaggan (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 31.7.16

Finlaggan is sign posted off the A846 south of Port Askaig. There is a visitor center and adjacent car park.
The stone is in a field overlooking the visitor centre. Access is via a metal field gate above the stone.

The stone is a good size and overlooks and predates the famous Finlaggan - home of the Lord of the Isles. The visitor centre and museum is well worth visiting and some prehistoric flints etc are on display. The walk down to the island and ruins, across a wooden walk way is well worth it.

A great place to visit - my favorite place on Islay.

Camas an Staca (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.7.16

Upon arriving on the lovely island of Jura take the A846 (the only road) towards Craighouse. As you start to reach the southern end of the island you will see a wooden sign directing you to the stone on your right (south). You can park near the sign. The top of the stone can just about be seen from the road.

You need to walk back down the road a bit to find the stile to get over the fence. Just to confuse you the sign doesn't align itself to the stile! (It's an 'island thing' a local told me!)

Once over the stile it is only a short walk but very boggy, particularly near the fence where the ground is at its lowest. It gradually dries out as you get higher. The whole area is covered in chest high ferns. This is of little relevance to the stone which dominates its surroundings. The stone is huge, a real whopper. Given its size and location I would assume it was erected as a marker to be seen by those travelling by boat?

Whatever the reason for its erection it is a very fine stone and well worth visiting if you are lucky enough to be able to visit Arran.

Holm of Daltallochan (Stone Circle) — Fieldnotes

Visited 30.7.16

Driving north out of Carsphairn on the A713 you shortly come to a minor road to your left (west) which runs past a farm house. The stones can be seen in a field opposite the farm house.

I would suggest you park at the turning and not do what we did which was to drive up the 'road' which rapidly becomes narrower and very rough. There is no way of turning around and you have to drive all the way to the end of the track which ends at a farm - and then all the way back - all the time giving your suspension and tyres a bit of a kicking!

I viewed the stones from the track as the field was full of cows. It's not that cows bother me too much but when I looked at the stones I had the distinct impression that this wasn't a stone circle. I am not expert by any stretch of the imagination but it just didn't look or feel right.

I have visited many stone circles over the years, all over the country, but have never seen one built on such uneven ground. It just didn't look right. Even my O/S map has them marked as 'stones, and not as you would expect 'stone circle'. I have checked Canmore who also only state that this is a possible stone circle. Reading Canmore's comments they too have their reservations about this site.

Perhaps another TMAer can visit when in the area and give their views?

Ossian's Mound (Round Barrow(s)) — Miscellaneous

Drive by 27.7.16

Driving west out of Kilmory this barrow can be easily seen as a rough, gorse covered mound.

Canmore states:
A turf covered mound with several large protruding stones which occupies the top of an overgrown hillock. The spread mound has merged with the hillock.

North Sannox (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 27.7.16

Just to the north of Sannox is a signposted turning for a forestry commission picnic / camping area. Follow this narrow road until you reach the car park at the end. The cairn is right next to the car park - can't miss it.

Strangely enough the info board at the car park makes no mention of the cairn.

The cairn is approximately 3 metres high x 25m across. The mound has many large stones scattered all around and on top of it amid the long, rough grass. One of the stones lying on top looks like a giant arrowhead! On top of the cairn is a 'standing stone' made up of lots of pretty pink quartz pieces.

This is a nice cairn in a nice spot. Dominated by the surrounding mountains of north Arran.

Deer Park (Standing Stones) — Fieldnotes

Visited 28.7.16

Driving north out of Brodick you soon come to the Arran cheese and Arran aromatic centre on your left. Park here (free). Directly opposite is a rough track. Walk along the track (past a house on your right and a lake on your left) until you reach the tarmac road. Turn right and you will shortly see two metal field gates opposite each other. The 3 stones can be seen in their respective fields from these gates.

I left Karen and the children to browse the shops, sample cheese and sniff smellies whilst I walked along the track to the see the stones. The day was dry but it was cloudy and rain threatened - as it often does on the Scottish islands.

I first peered over the gate to my left and easily spotted the single stone, the smallest of the three. There was no crop in the field but it was like a bog all around the gate and getting any closer to the stone would have meant trudging shin height in mud. I settled for the view from the gate.

I then crossed over to the opposite gate and was rewarded with a stunning vista. The field was golden, full of wheat, and out from it stood the two tall standing stones. The stones were surrounded by hills which had clouds of mist swirling around. It was all very atmospheric. No wind and no noise other than a bird of prey shrieking somewhere in the trees and mist in the distance.

I walked along some tractor tracks to get as close to the stones as possible without damaging the crop. Once I got as close as I could I just stood and stared and tried to take it all in. Wonderful, simply wonderful. This is what makes Scotland the special place it is and why I save up all year in order to make my annual pilgrimage to sample some of its delights.

The sign at the visitor centre proclaims that you can 'experience' of Scotland by buying the cheese or the smellies. No my friend, you get a real 'experience' of Scotland by crossing the road and visiting the stones and taking in the wonderful scenery.

As an aside, the cheese is very nice! :)

Machriewater Foot (Standing Stone / Menhir) — Fieldnotes

Failed visit 27.7.16

Somewhere near the first and second tee of the golf course, next to a house.

This is an odd place. The road goes through the first / second tee and the house provides a further challenge to those of a golfing nature. Fortunately there was no one playing golf so we parked up next to the tee!

When we were on Arran last year I distinctly remember spotting the stone as we drove past. This year I couldn't find it! I walked around the first / second tee and house several times but couldn't see the stone. Although the area is surrounded by chest high ferns (another challenge for the golfers) I didn't think they were high enough to obscure the stone?

In fact I returned the next day for another quick look but again failed to find the stone. Therefore it is either shorther than I remember and swamped by the ferns (but surely that would have applied last year?) or I was looking in the wrong place or the stone has fallen or been removed?

In all probability it is still there - but I couldn't find it. One mystery for the next TMAer to visit Arran to solve!

Bowes Barrows (Round Barrow(s)) — Fieldnotes

Visited 4.8.16

Immediately west of Bowes Castle (E.H. site)

The O/S map shows 4 barrows. They can be observed as slight 'bumps' in a grass field.

The village of Bowes is small but very pretty. The nearby castle is worth a look and the church also looks interesting. Unfortunately it was locked on my visit.
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I have visited both historic and prehistoric sites for a number of years but since 'discovering' this website my visits have spiralled out of control!
I am now out 'exploring' as often as possible and have been to many wonderful places I didn't even know existed before using this website.
Having visited all the CADW sites I am now trying to visit all the E.H. sites and as many H.S. sites as possible.
In trying to achieve these goals I get to travel all around the country and with it the chance to visit as many sites as possible mentioned on this fine website. I hope some of you find my contributions a little helpful?
I have certainly found the contributions made by others to be both very informative and often quite amusing!
I must also mention the lovely Karen whom without her help, encouragement and understanding I would not be able to visit half of the places I do.
I am forever grateful.

My TMA Content: