Kerrycrusach, Bute, Argyll

Tumulus:  OS Grid Reference – NS 08878 61033

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 40375
  2. Scoulag Moor

Getting Here

Liz Sykes, Saul and I wandered up to see this lovely spot a few years ago, to be found perched upon the top of the grassy boggy ridge a few hundred yards southeast of the Kerrycrusach houses (a coupla miles south of Rothesay, down the B881, on your left-hand [east] side). There are a few easy ways to get up here and it’s a nice amble, though you’ll get yer legs pretty wet if She’s been raining!

Archaeology & History

It was pouring with rain when I visited this small round tumulus with Liz, but a damn good view opened 360-degrees all round us when we hit the spot, the old tomb talking with others scattered on a select few hilltops from here: an obviously important ingredient to those who put it here.  Mentioned only briefly in Marshall’s (1978) archaeological survey as being “seen on the skyline looking south from the West Road,” one side of the tomb had fallen away slightly, revealing numerous large pieces of quartz rocks in the construction: another obviously important ingredient (for whatever reason) to the doods who built it.  The tomb, deemed as Bronze Age by Marshall, is about 3-4 feet high above the moorland and about forty feet across. Although this tomb officially sits alone here, it’s likely there are other sites close by that have yet to be found.

If little Saul (7 year-old at the time) wouldn’t have been all freezing and saturated and dying to get back home, I’d have sat on top of this old tomb for quite sometime. Twas a fine feeling: hills talking with hills, tombs with tombs, and a soaking-wet Paulus breathing the tranquility of it all.


  1. Marshall, Dorothy N., History of Bute, Bute Museum 1978.


  1. RCAHMS: Kerrycrusach, Scoulag Moor, Bute – The archaeological info on this old tomb, from the hallowed database of the Royal Commission for Ancient & Historic Monuments, Scotland.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Townhead, Rothesay, Isle of Bute, Argyll

Settlement (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NS 086 635

Archaeology & History

Pottery remnants

Somewhere beneath the modern cemetery and adjacent factory close to St. Mary’s church on the southern outskirts of Rothesay, right by the roadside, was once an important prehistoric settlement.  All remains of the site however, have long since been destroyed.  An axe that was found here was held in the local museum.  There are several scattered accounts of the place, one of which was written by J.G. Scott (1968), who reported that,

“between 1914 and 1929, a series of finds — pottery, a polished stone axehead, a saddle quern, hearths and remains of shallow trenches — was made at Townhead…at a now disused gravel pit.  Excavations in 1929 revealed several slots in the original gravel surface, which suggested the remains of sleeper beams for wooden buildings.  All the pottery recovered was neolithic… Amongst it were sherds of two vessels of Rinyo-Clacton ware.  Most of the rest of the pottery…showed well-developed rims, often thickened and bevelled externally and sometimes everted.  This pottery recalls the Abingdon style of southern Britain, and has been termed Rothesay ware by the writer.

“Sherd from one of these Rothesay vessels were associated with charcoal, possibly from a hearth, with hazel-nut shells and small fragments of bone.”

Scott told that radiocarbon analysis dated the finds  at around 2120 BC.  A couple of hundred yards away are the enclosed remains of St. Mary’s Holy Well, whose waters may well have been of magickal repute all those centuries ago…


  1. Scott, J.G., “A Radiocarbon Date for a West Scottish Neolithic Settlement,” in Antiquity journal, volume 42, no.168, December 1968.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian