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

Fieldnotes by pebblesfromheaven

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Camperdown (Standing Stone / Menhir)


With trees all around, there is a nice open view down the fairway to the river from here, possibly towards Myerkirk circle.

The access road to the east of the stone was closed off when I visited but at least it provided a nice parking place. To find the stone, go inside the gates past the derelict gatehouse cottage, the top of the stone may be just visible from here behind the bank on your right.

Disabled access: Quite good, part of a park / golf course. There’s a path avoiding the bank.


Devil's Stone (Invergowrie) (Standing Stone / Menhir)


Asked permission and went round the back of the building. Certain amount of curtain-twitching going on from the rooms above the conference centre.

The stone is a massive, heart-shaped beast. Would have cost a fortune to get out of the way when the wall was built so thankfully they left it be.

Disabled access: you’ll have to squeeze round the outside of the building into a garden on the grass.


Balgarthno (Stone Circle)


More directions: From the bypass, follow the road signposted to Charleston helpfully named Myerkirk Road. Park just on the left; the circle is on your right in the corner of the playing field opposite.

There was football practice on tonight with a load coach bawling instructions, and a flock of starlings squawking on the overhead cables. I tried to ignore them all, I felt they were all laughing – but the stones called me over. They had been a bit uncared for. The vandalism is disgusting. Sorry to say, but at least Asda may have saved the place from the horrible state it’s currently in. Keeps getting hit by footballs too - how humiliating. Felt sympathy and sadness here for an abused place in what felt like the wrong location.

Disabled access: In an open field. Fine once over the road.


Leys of Marlee (Stone Circle)


Whatever possessed anyone to build a road right through these stones?!
If this was further south I would have suggested the R*mans, after all they like straight lines and were a bit mad.

You could touch these stones from an open car window. I bet some people do. Just remember to slow down first. There is space to park at the recycling depot about 50m away. Watch for cars!

One stone has been broken and repaired.

Disabled access: Aye right.


Clava Cairns


After the French tourbus left, there were only two other cars here – not too bad for this site, but it was nearly sunset.

A lovely place, purposefully peaceful. The trees make the sunlight stripy. Although the site has obviously been prepared to be enjoyed by as many visitors as possible, the atmosphere is still wonderful. Spend as much time as possible here.

Disabled access: There are two large gates to allow easy access but when I visited they were padlocked. The remaining access is a swing-gate into a small fenced area created by the locked gates, which would allow a wheelchair inside, it’s tight but it looks like an experienced driver could squeeze through the space. Once inside the site, a path has not been cleared so the ground is quite uneven, but firm. At the far end, there is a kissing gate out to the road.


Cullerie (Stone Circle)

11th September 2003

What a bloody crap circle.

To start with, some other people arrived at the same time, which always annoys me. There is a nice tree-lined avenue to the circle, framing it nicely as if designed that way. Oh, hold on, it was. Someone has redesigned this site into what it should look like if it was in a TV garden project. There is a total municipal feel to the place caused by the careful placing of blue-grey foreign gravel in a very regular way around what “they” see to be the limits of the area. As a result, the stones appear bored and lifeless. The internal cairns seem like an uncomfortable, tidied version of their original state. As a redeeming feature there appeared to be a genuine cup-mark on one of the internal cairn curbstones.

The site is on relatively low ground, not sure what’s there on a clear day but there were no views tonight.

I left quickly after double-checking the info board for Charlie Dimmock’s photo.

What not to do with a prehistoric site.

However, on the plus side, disabled access: Excellent! No gate, there is a ramp from the road down to a smooth grassy field, and a distance of about 100m to the circle.


Easter Aquhorthies (Stone Circle)

11th September 2003

As I approached, the thing that struck me most was the stones individual beauty – this wasn’t a group chosen for shape and size alone.

The first welcoming stone looks like it’s made out of dark pink sugar.
Then there’s the focal point: the mackerel-striped recumbent, the dark grey one beside with the white quartz lines, then a granular pink round boulder, the smooth pale uprights…
The size felt irrelevant, a collection of pebbles a thousandth of this size would be just as beautiful to me. Even now I am left with a persistent memory of the colours left by the stones and the landscape, something I usually only get after spending a day at the beach.

Over the back towards the black Mither Tap, I could hear the sound of rhythmic drumming (I think it was a pile-driver); this and the dark skies should have made the place threatening but I’m sorry it was just too beautiful.

Disabled access: The carpark has a gate to the path but this can be avoided by going around by the road. It’s a fair distance uphill to the site. I would say it’s 400m but it’s tarmac. I think it may be possible to get a car right up the hill lane, but not sure about the permission for this. Unfortunately when you get to the top, the remaining piece of the track is very rocky and there is a small kissing gate into the circle itself.


Kettley Crag (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

5-7-03. Visited in misty rain, almost disappeared down the numerous badger holes, and the bracken was waist-high!

The Matfen Stone (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Coming in from the south, you can't miss the house - and I spotted the top of the stone peeping over the hedge.
Easy access, right on the road.

Thornborough Henge South

The slopes here have been flattened slightly. The result is a relaxed, curvy outlook, which feels almost submissive with the area wide open to the skies.


Thornborough Henge Central

This had an industrial feel to me, as if people had been taking advantage of it.
The wildlife in the area surrounding this henge seemed to consist of seagulls and plastic bags blown here from the nearby landfill site.
Recently a crop circle appeared in the next field: now I like crop circles but this seemed to be laughing at the henge; well the last laugh is at the wheatfield, it is one which is earmarked for quarrying. A sad place.


Thornborough Henge North

Entering the wooded area, I immediately saw the banks, steep and dark, under the trees. It was impossible to see the henge as a whole, hence difficult to get a scale.
This henge had a sleepy, foreboding nature, and felt a little creepy to me.


The Thornborough Henges

I visited this area three days previously but was looking in the wrong direction; I only found the northern henge. Armed with a map and compass and personal guide, I found the others this time ;-)

Lundin Farm (Stone Circle)

Spotted a farm called Lundin: thinks to myself ah I wonder if it's any coincidence (having been to Lundin Links a little while ago). Hmm knew I should have investigated..... next time - I shall be back

Croft Moraig (Stone Circle)

17-6-03. Was visiting Aberfeldy with work and wasn't organised enough beforehand to plan anything (give me a laptop grrr). This was the only site noted around here in my otherwise bald roadmap. Note to self : must buy OS!
Luckily by previous experiences I at least remembered to search out any cups ;-)
Had a lovely little break here even though it's right next to the road. Then off south.


Ros Castle (Cup Marked Stone)

Been back a few times but I remembered this time to look out for the Cups. StanBeckinsall's wonderful book told me the Rock Art was to be found at the base of the hill: There were a few largish rocks here, about half of them had some sort of cup marks, and although visible on the day the photos didn't come out very well!!

Lindisfarne (Cup Marked Stone)

New discoveries are still possible!

Saturday, 3rd May 2003. Decided to go to one of my favorite places Holy Island for a bit of a wander. I took a route around the island, away from the tourists and had the fantastic beaches almost to myself. I was walking towards this Big White Triangle Thing (some kind of landmark for shipping) as usual looking at my feet at the wonderful pebbles thereabouts. Couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it, literally. A big chunk of sandstone rock art. I mean, it couldn't be, not here, right? I decided to move it up the beach, away from the tide, onto the dunes and hid it where I could find it again. I didn't feel right taking it, but I couldn't leave it where it was. I made a note of the largest stone nearby as a landmark.

That night, I emailed RockArtUK for an opinion. Jan & Gus got all excited and the next day I decided to go back for it - only one problem: by the time I'd made the decision, the tides were against me! That night I kept waking up worrying about it!! And Monday, although it was a bank holiday, I was working. There was no option - I phoned for the afternoon off and went back on Monday 5-5-2003 to retrieve it. I planned where to park the car, but this was still a mile from the spot. I did it anyway, lugged this massive stone back. The stone I had memorised was nowhere to be seen - the sand had shifted and must have buried it. I'm glad I moved the stone when I did!

I decided to keep it quiet for a while, because I wasn't convinced it was really carved; there are lots of holed stones naturally occuring on the island but this was different.

I emailed Stan Beckinsall for advise. As luck had it, he was in the area and could he come to see it in person? Er - yeah!

The verdict - not sandstone, possibly metamorphic due to the high density. Probably not local, possibly washed from Scotland, Micro-cups.

I am keeping the stone for now, but intend to report it.


Old Bewick (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

Went back to Old Bewick to find the hogback... Luckily Jan&Gus had come all the way from Holland to show me the way:-)
It it hard to find as it is sunk below the normal ground level.

Fowberry Cairn (Cup and Ring Marks / Rock Art)

25-5-03. Visited as part of a group (RAM03), with permission from the farmer.
There are several panels of art here, some very worn, but some very deep.
Lovely feel to this site, set in a wood which today had lots of bluebells. Later in the year the panels may be hard to find through the ferns.

The Mare and Foal (Standing Stones)

Passed this site on my way home, the sun was just going down after a beautiful clear day. Hadrian's wall is situated to the north of this site; the whole of this area is fantasically open-skied and remote [not far from where the bit in Prince of Thieves was filmed, movie fans ;-) ].

I didn't read the previous information posted here before my visit so I couldn't possibly comment on it's origins as a circle: but I took it as a pair of stones and the setting was lovely: Just on top of high ground within a valley which is naturally sheltered, with views to the west to the Solway Firth.
There seemed to be "earthwork" trenches immediately beside the site; anyone know anything about these?

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Previously known as Pebblethief...

Based currently in north Northumberland but soon to be returned to Cumbria.
Area covered by travels includes Scotland and north of England.
Often to be seen wandering aimlessly staring at the ground dragging a large rucksack (contents usually assorted cameras, GPS, batteries, bananas, plastic bags, pebbles).
Favoured habitats are places with plenty of sky and powerful scenery.


My TMA Content: