Braid Hills, Edinburgh, Midlothian

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NT 251 696

Archaeology & History

Braid Hills carving

This is a fine-looking old cup-and-ring stone!  Although no longer in situ (one of those really important golf courses needed to be built, so it had to go!), the 3 or 4 cup-and-rings seen here, carved at the end of what look like some sort of ‘stalks’, emerging from a distinctive radial under-curve, gave me a somewhat anthropomorphic impression of chaps in a boat — perhaps sailing into the Firth o’ Forth a short distance away! The Scottish Royal Commission (1929) report said the following of the stone:

“In 1897 a boulder of white sandstone with cup-and-ring markings on its surface was discovered on the Braid Hills golf course, and it was later presented to the National Museum of Antiquities.  The stone measures almost 3 feet by 1 foot 9 inches, by 1 foot thick and is roughly oblong.  The markings comprise seven cups in all, and at least three of these are completely surrounded by a ring and cut by a radial channel.”

Although nothing was said in the RCAHMS account, the stone gives one the impression it was associated with a tomb.  And I know it aint the same, but when I first saw this carving, it reminded me of the Ri Cruin carving in Kilmartin, Argyll.  It’s the potential “boat” feature that did it for me!


  1. Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the Counties of Midlothian and West Lothian, HMSO: Edinburgh 1929.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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