Cup-and-Line Stone: OS Grid Reference – NN 88831 26261
A couple of miles east of Crieff, take the A822 road from the Gilmerton junction towards the Sma’ Glen. After literally 1¾ miles (2.8km)—just 100 yards before the track up to Connachan Farm—you’ll reach a dirt-track on your left that leads into the hills. Go along here for 250 yards (230m) yards (the track has straightened out here) and then walk into the reeds on your right. About 15 yards in, look around!
Archaeology & History
Another one of those fascinating carvings that had me here for an hour, maybe more, poring over more and more features as the light, shadow and rock gave more and more depending on how I looked at it. Tis the same with many petroglyphs, of course… But I liked this one.
On initial impression it didn’t seem up to much: maybe a few faint cups—some certain, others no so much. But the more attention we gave this stone, so more of those unlikely faint cups became much more real. At first there were a dozen; then 15 or more; but as we gave it more and more attention, so more of the petroglyphic design showed its original form. They do that, these stones! When George Currie rediscovered this carving in 2008 he found 17 cup-marks on the stone, but at least thirty of them go to make up this petroglyph. There may even be a very faint, albeit incomplete ring around one of them, but I’ll let the computer-tech kids work that one out!
This carving has that peculiar and not-too-infrequent element of having some cups carved into the natural cracks in the stone. In this case, at least four of them can be seen etched into the large deep crack that runs along its more northern edge. They’re quite distinct once you get your focus on them. In this case—albeit it to a much lesser extent—this feature reminded me of the impressive West Strathan carving in Sutherland. But where this natural crack finishes, it has been artificially extended until it reaches the eastern edge of the stone. You’ll also notice in the photos highlighting this feature, that another artificial line has been carved at right-angles to it, heading south, until it meets another natural crack in the stone. It’s quite distinct. And along this second artificial line, you’ll notice another cup or three—one of which has been cut into the line. These two man-made extended cracks in the stone, give the simple impression of an early cross symbol. Features such as this, whilst seemingly trivial to the bog standard explorer, possess some very curious myths in some living traditions elsewhere in the world; but such things are beyond the remit of this site profile.
- Currie, G., “Falls of Monzie, Perth and Kinross (Crieff parish), Cup-marked rock”, in Discovery & Excavation Scotland (New Series) volume 9, 2008.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian