Clach a’ Choire, Vaul, Tiree

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NM 027 487

Also Known as:

  1. Kettle Stone
  2. Ringing Stone
  3. Singing Stone

Archaeology & History

This is a fascinating large coastal boulder with around 53 cup-markings on it — but whether these are all man-made is a matter of debate.  Some of them may be natural.  However some of the cups have lines and faint rings around them, showing that at least they’re man-made; and also in one of the large cups are placed small pebbles, similar in form to the well-known Butter Rolls, or bullaun stone at Feaghna, Ireland.

Folklore

This large boulder (suggested to have been dragged and dropped here from the Isle of Rhum in an earlier Ice Age) is known in the modern tongue as the ‘Ringing Stone’ because, allegedly, if you knock the surface hard with another stone it supposedly chimes with a metallic noise.  As one of the links below shows, however, it doesn’t necessarily do the trick!  Local folklore tells that if the stone is ever destroyed, or falls off its present platform of smaller stones, Tiree itself will sink beneath the waves.  Other lore tells that this great rock is hollow; and another that it contains a great treasure. According to Otta Swire (1964),

“Some believe this to be a treasure of gold, others claim it to be the resting place of the Feinn who there await the call to rescue Scotland.”

References:

  1. Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, Argyll – volume 3: Mull, Tiree, Coll and Northern Argyll, HMSO: Edinburgh 1980.
  2. Swire, Otta F., Inner Hebrides and their Legends, Collins: London 1964.

Links:

  1. Images of the Clach a’ Choire, from the Images of Tiree website.
  2. Brief video of Tiree’s Ringing Stone (which doesn’t seem to work too well!)

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

 

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  56.536331, -6.836882 Clach a’ Choire