Standing Stones: OS Grid Reference – NN 7926 4668
Also Known as:
- Canmore ID 24910
- Newhall Stones
- Taymouth Standing Stones
Pretty easy to find. At the eastern end of Loch Tay, go through the old village of Kenmore along the A827, towards Aberfeldy, for about a mile. At least a mile past Kenmore, keep your eyes peeled for a small left turn which takes you back into the grounds of Taymouth Castle. Go on this small road, pass the ornate walling, and you’ll see these two standing stones in front of you, before the trees, on the left. If you reach the Croftmoraig Stone Circle, you’ve gone a few hundred yards past the turning.
Archaeology & History
These fine-looking standing stones a mile northeast of Kenmore village, on the edge of the grounds of the superb Taymouth Castle, are worthy old monoliths, encrusted by the lichens of many centuries, resting within the long grass beside the track that runs to the castle. But they have received little attention in archaeological terms. When Fred Coles (1910) described them, he thought them to be the remains of a stone circle — an impression echoed by Margaret Stewart (1966) many years later (I got the same impression aswell), but no other stones have been found to substantiate this (although Mr Gillies’ folklore remnant is intriguing). There is a notable rounded hillock immediately behind the two stones which may, or may not, have had other uprights surrounding it; though I can find no further data anywhere to substantiate such a thing.
In William Gillies’ (1938) historical survey of the area he related Mr Coles’ earlier findings of the two stones, telling us:
“There are two great standing stones just within the Principal Gate leading to Taymouth Castle. The stone A (see plan) stands at a distance of 54 feet to the NNW of B — a somewhat greater diameter than is common among the Perthshire Circles. These stones are almost equal in height — A is 4ft 9in, B is 4ft 7in — and they are both rugged blocks of a rough species of diorite. Stone A measures round the base 10ft 8in, and stone B 14ft.”
But it seems that little else has been found about the place. It’s in a gorgeous setting (but, round here, everything’s in a gorgeous setting!) and must have related to other sites in the area, but it’s hard to contextualize the place on a single visit. If you stand behind the two stones, the shape of their ‘heads’ fits very nicely onto the rounded hillock on the northwestern skyline — which seems to have later been used as a hillfort. Whether this has any astronomical potential, I aint checked. (though Thom says nothing about them)
In geomantic terms both of these stones possess a distinct female flavour to them; the easternmost thinner of the two, particularly so. But then I could just be talking bullshit! I’d have loved to have spent more time with these two stones — bimbling, sitting, focussing, dreaming — as people of olde naturally did; but we were on the move and had other places to see. Tis a delightful spot indeed…
(NOTE – This site was first given a grid reference of NN 801 477 in Margaret Stewart’s (1967) fine essay on the standing stones at nearby Lundin; and the grid-ref has since been reproduced in texts by Burl (1993), Thom (1990) and others. Please note that this grid-ref is incorrect and is nearly a mile away from the actual position of the stones.)
There is the possibility that this site once played a part in an important megalithic stone row. Mr Gillies (1938) once again notes an old tradition told by local people which “says that at one time there was a paved way connecting the circle, of which these stones are the remains, with the great Croftmoraig circle.” Very intriguing indeed…
- Burl, Aubrey, From Carnac to Callanish, Yale University Press 1993.
- Coles, Fred, “Report on Stone Circles Surveyed in Perthshire,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 44, 1910.
- Gillies, William A., In Famed Breadalbane, Munro Press: Perth 1938.
- Stewart, M.E.C., “The excavation of a setting of standing stones at Lundin Farm near Aberfeldy, Perthshire“, in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 98, 1966.
- Thom, A., Thom, A.S. & Burl, Aubrey, Stone Rows and Standing Stones – 2 volumes, BAR: Oxford 1990.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian