Dalnavaid (1), Glen Brerachan, Moulin, Perthshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NO 0089 6351

Getting Here

Dalnavaid (1) petroglyph

The quickest and easiest route is to take the A924 road from Pitlochry to Kirkmichael.  It’s a gorgeous route in itself!  Anyhoo… Once you’re out past the houses of Pitlochry and Moulin, you begin to make the real ascent up the winding road, past the hairpin bend and, 5 miles up where the road has levelled out and the craggy moorlands surround you, green fields begin to appear on your left.  The first farm on your left is Dalnacarn and less than a half-mile past here, on your right, a small track takes you to Dalnavaid house. Walk along here, past the house and into the field, then the next field where a section rises up towards the fencing.  On top of this are several rocks.  You can’t really miss it!

Archaeology & History

This typically female rounded rock has, unusually, a series of cups in almost three rows along its easternmost slope, with one or two single cups on its top and southern side.  It was first described by Fred Cole (1908) merely as “a small boulder, with a remarkable triple row of cup-marks, resting on a cairn-like mound”; but it wasn’t until John Dixon (1921) came here that a full description appeared.  He told us,

Primary rows of cups
Long worked (?) line

“About 200 yards due east of (Dalnavaid) house a ridge or spit of land juts out from the adjoining hillside on to an almost level field. The ridge has sloping sides, and the nearly flat top is 10 or 12 feet above the general surface of the field.  Near the end of the ridge stands the cup-marked stone…  The dimensions of the stone are: length 4 feet 8 inches; width 3 feet; height from 1 foot 11 inches to 2 feet 4 inches.  The cups are all near the north-east side of the upper surface of the stone, and are more or less in rows.  Some are large, with a diameter of 3 inches and a depth of nearly 1 inch; others are much weathered, and vary from small, scarcely measurable, hollows, to cups 2 inches in diameter and ½ inch deep.  The hollows are no doubt cups almost obliterated by ages of weathering. Reckoning them so, there are in all thirty or thirty-one cups.  All are of the plain type, without rings or connecting grooves.”

Looking (roughly) west

A few years later Mitchell (1923) counted 26 cups on it.  Along the western side of the stone are two natural cracks that run across it roughly north-south.  It wasn’t until I crouched down to look at what seemed to be another cup on its vertical face that I noticed how these lines appeared to have been enhanced by human hands.

For petroglyph enthusiasts, this is a decent carving well worth the visit.  What looks to be a cup-and-ring design is found on a stone due south of here and, in all probability, others are hiding away nearby—the “lost” cup-marked stone of the Clunskea Burn, a mile north of here, being one such place.  Let us know if y’ find it!

References:

  1. Coles, Fred, “Report on Stone Circles Surveyed in Perthshire – North Eastern Section,” in Proceedings Society Antiquaries Scotland, volume 42, 1908.
  2. Dixon, John H. “The Balvarran Cupped Stone, the “Bloody Stone” of Dunfallandy, and a Cup-Marked Stone in Glen Brerachan,” in Proceedings Society Antiquaries Scotland, volume 55, 1921.
  3. Dixon, John H., Pitlochry, Past and Present, L. Mackay: Pitlochry 1925.
  4. Mitchell, Hugh, Pitlochry District: Its Topography, Archaeology and History, L. Mackay: Pitlochry 1923.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

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