Cup-and-Ring Stone: OS Grid Reference – NN 53447 35669
Also Known as:
- Canmore ID 24181
- Duncroisk 5 (Canmore)
Two real ways to get here. Either (i) follow the directions to get to the Stag Cottage carvings of Duncroisk 1, then walk down to the fence by the riverside and walk along to the left for a coupla hundred yards till you reach a second metal fence-post sticking out of a rock on the other side of the deer-fencing; or (ii) from the roadside burn a coupla hundred yards along the road before you reach Stag Cottage, follow it down to the riverside, then head along the footpath behind the fencing, parallel with the river’s edge. It aint far. Within 100 yards you’ll reach the stone with the metal pole sticking out of it and the carvings are on this!
Archaeology & History
Confusingly redesignated as Duncroisk 5 carving by the usually efficient Canmore people, we’re sticking with this stone’s original name given by Ronald Morris (1981) in his British Archaeological Report of this and nearby carvings — and a quite fascinating carving this is as well!
As with many cup-and-rings, erosion and lighting has a powerful effect on seeing the design correctly. On my visit here in recent months there were quite distinct additional elements in the carving which haven’t been noted by previous archaeologists. But in saying that, there were also some elements that were reported by the earliest antiquarians that proved difficult to see in the grey light of day when I was here. The earliest report of the carving by C.G. Cash (1912) told there to be five rings, whereas today only 3 or 4 are visible (though this will probably change when viewed in other lighting conditions).
When Mr Cash told of this stone in his essay on the antiquities of Killin it sounded as if it was lucky to have survived, as it had previously been dug out and left by the roadside, before then being reused by a local to fix a fence-post in! Mr Cash told us that the local,
“had used it as the foundation stone of the stretching post at the south end of the easternmost fence on the farm, and there I found it, near the brink of the river, buried in sand and turf. I cleared it and then in pouring rain crouched over it to make a hasty sketch. It bears eighteen cups, of which five are surrounded by rings. The largest cups are 2½ inches and the rings 6 inches in diameter.”
When I visited the place the weather was much the same as Mr Cash described: lovely teeming rain, typical of the mountains, with the surrounding trees breathing moisture onto the slopes as ever.
Years later when Ronald Morris (1981) came here he saw “4 cups-and-one-ring…probably complete rings, up to 12cm (5 in) in diameters and 10 cups up to 2cm deep.”
If you stand and face the stone, the cup-marking on its lower right side (see Morris’ old photo, above) has a pecked line running from it further to the right and down to the edge of the rock. You can clearly make it out on the top photo. This carved line also seemed to touch another carved line which can be seen running along the outer edge of the stone — although the poor light didn’t allow me to view this with absolute confidence. I’ll have another look at it again when I’m up in the area in May and hopefully confirm or deny it with greater confidence (and if anyone else gets here in the meantime, have a look and see what y’ think).
- Cash, C.G., “Archaeological Gleanings from Killin,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, volume 46, 1911-12.
- Morris, Ronald W.B., The Prehistoric Rock Art of Southern Scotland, BAR 86: Oxford 1981.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian