Cup-Marked Stone: OS Grid Reference – NN 54584 20876
Also Known as:
From Balquhidder village, walk eastwards along the road for a few hundred yards until you reach Auchleskine Farm on your left. A short distance past here there’s a gate taking you into the rough field on the left. Go through here and note a large clump of rocks diagonally up the slope about 100 yards away. That’s your spot!
Archaeology & History
Very little has been said of this large cup-marked stone, just up from the road near Balquhidder. It was first found and described in J.M. Gow’s (1887) fine essay on the local antiquities of the area, where he told:
“About 400 yards directly east from the farm-house there is a group of three large water-worn boulders of coarse mica-schist, with veins of quartz, the largest of which is about 15 feet long, 7 feet broad, and nearly 5 feet above ground. On the top of this stone there are seven cup-marks of various sizes. The largest are 5 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep; the smaller ones are shallower and from 1½ to 2½ inches in diameter. There may have been more marks on this stone, as a portion of the top near the marks has been broken off, and there are several other faint hollows, but, in my opinion, not sufficiently pronounced to indicate that they ever were cups.”
Although his caution on the number of cups on the stone is to be commended, it was obvious during our visit to the site a few days ago that there are at least 18 cup-marks on the surface of this large rock. There may be more (the grey cloudy day and misty light wasn’t good in allowing us to see the carving clearly). The most pronounced of the cups are on the very top of the stone, whilst others were carved mainly on the eastern slope of the rock.
At least two other cup-marked stones occur at the farmhouse itself, whilst on the road immediately below was once the cup-marked healing stone known as Clach nan Sul. It’s likely that other carvings are hiding away in the hills hereby…
- Gow, James M., “Notes in Balquhidder: Saint Angus, Curing Wells, Cup-Marked Stones, etc”, in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries Scotland, volume 21, 1887.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian