Follow the same directions as if you’re going to the Corrycharmaig East 3 carving. Walk off the rocky outcrop here, below the tree, and head diagonally across the boggy grasses back towards the River Lochay. After about 50 yards you’ll see a rocky promontory ahead of you that overlooks the very edge of the river, with trees around it. That’s the spot – right on the edge above the river!
Archaeology & History
For me, this was the most intriguing of the newly-found Corrycharmaig East carvings. Intriguing because this is on the same geological ridge as that on which the brilliant Stag Cottage carvings are found, right across on the other side of the river. That singular rise of rock emerging from the field, heading to the river, continues on this side — though is much less conspicuous here, and is much smaller and covered with olde trees and Nature’s marshy greenery. It was this fact which led me to look at these rocks in the first place…wondering if our neolithic ancestors had continued etching their mythographies on the other side of the living waters. And so it turned out.
But don’t expect anything like as impressive as the Stag Cottage carvings. Here instead, as the photos show, are just five distinct cup-markings: three running along one line near the SE side of the stone, with another two on its NW side. The cups are all roughly the same size, being a couple of inches across; one is an inch deep. There may be more beneath the excess of mosses along this and the adjacent rocks, but I didn’t look.
Follow the directions as if you’re visiting the other Corrycharmaig carvings, but as you cross the bridge over the River Lochay, turn immediately left and follow the edge of the river down the field till you reach the fence. Go over here, but then head up the slope away from the river, over another fence up the small grassy hill ahead of you. As you near the very top of the hill, you’ll find the stone in question.
Archaeology & History
Found near to the famous Stag Cottage and Duncroisk carvings, this previously unknown example is found on a small rounded female stone, barely 2 feet by 2 feet across. The most notable feature is the large cup-marking, 2-3 inches wide and half-and-inch deep. When I first found the stone, twas a cloudy grey day and I wasn’t sure whether a small carved arc along one edge of the cup continued into a semi-circle — but as the photo here shows, the cup-mark seems to have a large faint ring going about three-quarters of the way round it. Hopefully I’ll get some better images of the stone when I visit again in the coming weeks.
The stone gave the impression that it belonged in a cairn of sorts, but a brief rummage in the grasses immediately around the rock showed nothing. However, barely 10 yards down the grassy slope there was a small overgrown cairn — though it didn’t seem to have that prehistoric pedigree about it. This carving is one in a group of at least four others—including Corrycharmaig East 3—not previously catalogued. It’s likely that more remain undiscovered on the many other rocks nearby.
Follow the directions from Killin, down Glen Lochay, as if you’re going to the other Corrycharmaig carvings; but as you cross the bridge over the River Lochay, turn immediately left and follow the edge of the river along the field, crossing the first fence, keeping close to the riverside and over and over another fence. Head across the boggy grassland and you’ll see a small green outcrop of rocks just above the tree-line above the river. That’s the spot!
Archaeology & History
Another carving that’s a short distance from the famous Stag Cottage carvings on the opposite side of the river. This lovely moss-covered rocky mass has two sections of cup-markings on it – both of which have proved difficult to photograph because of the vivid green primal cover. It’s found less than 100 yards from the CE04 carving and below the hillock of the CE02 cup-and-ring (as you can see in the photo above).
The rock itself has two carved sections: an upper and lower section, with at least three cup-markings on the lower section and three on the upper portion as well. Some natural geological marks on the lower part of the rock may have been added to, but this is by no means clear. There may well be other elements to this ancient carving, but I wasn’t about to strip all the lovely moss from the stone just to find out. It’s a truly beautiful stone in a gorgeous setting and, despite the day being grey and overcast, I wasn’t about to defile the greenery here. It’s one of a group of at least four carvings east of Corrycharmaig that have not previously been catalogued. Other carvings likely remain to be found close by.
Go thru Killin and, just past the Bridge of Lochay hotel, take the tiny road on your left. Go down here for 3 miles till you pass the gorgeous Stag Cottage (with its superb cup-and-rings in the field across the road) for another 300 yards, until you see Duncroisk Farmhouse set back on your right. On the other side of the road, go thru the giant deer-gates (close ‘em behind you) to the river-bridge and across it. Walk along the track till you reach the turning to Corrycharmaig House on the right (over the stream), but here, go up into the field thru the gate. Walk up the hill ahead of you with its trees on the left, walking up onto the grassy level, over the deer-fence, then up again to the rounded knoll another 100 yards up. You’re here!
Archaeology & History
On my first visit to this stone, in overcast and wet conditions — the easternmost of at least four separate carved rock faces along the same geological ridge — I only noticed a handful of cup-marks etched onto the northeastern section of the stone. But I was sure there were supposed to be more. And when I returned home to check up, found that Ron Morris (1981) said there were “40 widely scattered cups of which, however, 29 well-defined cups are in a compact group, of which 6 are in a line.” Much more than what I saw! And when I checked further, it was evident that even more cup-marks were once visible on the rock. In the very first description of this carved stone, E.A. Cormack (1952) told:
“On the easterly area there are about 70 small cups, roughly one inch in diameter, in groups of ten to twelve. Most are on the flatter rock surface, but some are on the steeper slope facing south, which also bears the marks of deep glacial scorings.”
So on our visit here again a few weeks ago when we stayed at Corrycharmaig house*, a couple more visits allowed a slightly better investigation, albeit in even wetter and cloudier conditions than our first visit! And the more we looked, the more we could see; and it was plainly evident that a number of cup-marks had become receptacles for moss-growth! We counted at least 40 cup-markings on this ‘Corrycharmaig 1’ stone, but it seemed pretty obvious that beneath the grasses and vegetation, more carvings would be found.
Walking SSE along the same rocky ridge brings you to the other rock faces of Corrycharmaig 2, 3 and 4 — all with their own carvings. Corrycharmaig 2 possessing the only known complete cup-and-ring on the ridge. More carvings remain hidden nearby…
Follow the same directions to reach the Duncroisk Crosses stone. From here, look up the slope to your right and you’ll see the line of fencing running uphill. Follow this until you reach the ruined remains of the old sheepfold building. From here, look towards the tree-lined gorge of Duncroisk Burn, a few hundred yards west and walk towards it for about 50-60 yards. There’s a group of three rocks hereby, two are large, but the carving’s on the smallest one in the middle.
Archaeology & History
This cup-marked stone was rediscovered as a result of the fine archaeological survey work by that Glasgow bunch of Certified Field Archaeologists, in their assessment of remains in and around Duncroisk Farm. As well as mentioning — albeit briefly — the carvings of Duncroisk Farm and Duncroisk Crosses, Dugald MacInnes (2001) and his team came across another that hadn’t been recorded before. Described in their survey as ‘feature 2’, he told,
“Some 20 metres downslope from the sheep fank and about 60 metres NW from it, there is a group of large boulders. On the southeast sloping face of one of these there are three previously unrecorded cup-marks. These are oriented vertically on a northeast to southwest alignment and are no more than 4cm apart. They are all about 7cm in diameter and 2.5cm deep.”
The carved rock is a relatively small one sitting roughly in between two much larger rocks, both of which are easily visible from the Duncroisk Crosses stone less than 100 yards down the slope. It’s probably only gonna be of interest to the rock-art purists among you and some may even question its veracity, particularly the bottom of the three cups, which gives the impression of being unfinished. If you visit the site in summer and autumn it will be much harder to find, as it gets overgrown with bracken. (we did take a number of photos of this stone, but managed to somehow delete them all before saving to disk – so have gotta check it again when we next visit here)
MacInnes, Dugald, An Archaeological Field Survey of a Deserted Settlement at Duncroisk Farm, Glen Lochay, Association of Certified Field Archaeologists: Glasgow 2001.
Follow the same directions to get to the Corrycharmaig 3 carving; and just a yard or two to the right of the far western edge of the rock, you’ll see another smaller slightly sloping rock, closer to the fencing, with faint cup-markings. That’s the one! (note that the 10-figure grid reference given here might need adjusting slightly)
Archaeology & History
This small slightly sloping piece of exposed rock is on the western extremity of the Corrycharmaig cluster of carvings, but is a distinctly separate piece of rock from the Corrycharmaig 3 stone (though part of the same outcrop). The stone itself has two sections to it, with a natural crack in the rock defining eastern and western section — both of which possess cup-marks.
The easternmost section of the stone has seven cup-marks, some of which were only recently uncovered. A large single cup-mark sits near the middle of this portion of the rock; this is probably what Mr Cormack (1952) was talking about when he told that, “further west (of the Corrycharmaig 3 carving, PB) is one isolated larger cup of 4-inch diameter.” On the western side of the stone, we find just two or three cup-marks, though one large cup-marking here would seem to be Nature’s handiwork.
It is highly likely that beneath the excessive vegetational growth around this carving and others along this ridge, other sections of prehistoric carvings remain to be found.
Pretty easy to find this. Go up Glen Lochay for 3 miles or so, on the road past the brilliant Stag Cottage carvings for a couple of hundred yards where you’ll see an old run-down army-looking building and past that is a curious large wooden and wire construction. Go up the farm-track next to this, past Duncroisk Farm, taking the footpath through the gates that go up to the side and behind the farm. You’ll see a rounded grassy knoll ahead of you. Head straight for it!
Archaeology & Folklore
This carving would appear to have been described for the first time by Mr Cormack (1952) in his longer essay on the cross-marked stones nearby. He said briefly:
“On the top of a small rock-strewn knoll about 300 yards behind Duncroisk farmhouse is a recumbent boulder, at one corner of which is a group of five fairly deep cup-marks of 2- to 3-inch diameter.”
Little else has been said of the site and even Ron Morris (1981) only gave the carving a brief mention in his survey, saying in passing how “east of a prominent rocky knoll, on whose summit is a cup-marked boulder…”, as he journeyed further uphill to explore the fascinating Duncroisk 4 carving with its scant cup-marks, human figurine and other curious insignia. And although this carving is probably only worthwhile for the real fanatics amongst you, I like the place — sad fella that I am!
There are five very distinct cup-marks etched onto a small, almost triangular section of the rock, sat close to a couple of other larger stones on top of the grassy knoll overlooking the glen, not far from some iron age walling. The cups are etched onto the topmost (northern) section of the rock, which is defined by a natural crack running across the surface, almost splitting one part of the stone from the other. The five cups are in no discernible linear formation. A possible sixth cup-mark and extended line may have been started on the other side of the crack on the stone, but its execution was stopped for some reason. This is by no means certain though.
Of some note is the larger stone immediately adjacent on top of this knoll, which — as Paul Hornby pointed out — is encrusted full of small garnets all over its surface. This may or may not have some significance to the cup-marked stone here. According to Mr Hornby, the nearby cup-and-ring stone at Duncroisk Burn also has garnets in it.
Go thru Killin and, just past the Bridge of Lochay hotel, take the tiny road on your left. Go down here for 3 miles till you pass the gorgeous Stag Cottage (with its superb cup-and-rings in the field across the road) for another 300 yards, until you see Duncroisk Farmhouse set back on your right. On the other side of the road, go thru the giant deer-gates (close ’em behind you) to the river-bridge and across it. Walk along the track till you reach the turning to Corrycharmaig House on the right (over the stream), but here, go up into the field thru the gate. Walk up the hill ahead of you with its trees on the left, walking up onto the grassy level, then up again to the rounded knoll another 100 yards up. You’re here!
Archaeology & History
This is the most visually impressive of the set of four cup-marked rocks along this ridge — although if you visit here when the light is poor, or the sky’s overcast, you’ll be lucky if you can actually see much of the material. For example, I counted 38 cups on this particular stone on a day when the sky was bright, but upon checking later, found that Mr Morris (1981) described there being, “40 widely scattered cups of which, however, 29 well-defined cups are in a compact group of which 6 are in line.” Whereas more recently the Canmore website told there to be,
“At least 48 cupmarks are visible on the most westerly exposure. The cupmarks range in size from 25mm in diameter and 5mm in depth to 100mm in diameter and 40mm in depth. A straight line of six cupmarks arranged close together is orientated running from NW to SE.”
This line of six cups is very distinct and stands out as the most notable aspect on this carving, probably because it gives a sense of ‘order’ or linearity, whereas the rest of the carving (as with oh so many of them, thankfully) possess that non-linear feature of scattered cups and lines, dissolving reason and ego, and eliciting the natural meditative state, if one so cares to allow. On our most recent visit here, our eyes and fingers traced what appeared to be the faint remains of a carved line running along the bottom edge of the row of cups and then bending around the bottom cup in the same line — a little bit like the carved lines which run around the edges of the row of cups on Ilkley Moor’s Idol Stone. You can just make this ‘line’ out in the photo, below.
On our most recent visit to the site when we stayed at Corrycharmaig house below (huge thanks to Sylvana!), other sections of the carving were visible that we’d missed before, highlighting at least 45 cup-marks that we counted. Several of the cups had been exposed by animals (sheep or deer – we couldn’t tell) cutting into the soaking wet earth and in carefully checking a couple of cups whose edges were exposed, found a small worked flint within one of the cups! I looked at it, held it, puzzled over it, then laid it back where we’d found it. You can see it in the photo here, on the right.
This carving obviously grows on you with time. And like its carved companions of Corrycharmaig 1, 2 and 4 both left and right of here, the stone rests within a natural theatre of dreams, eliciting — if only in a slight way — the non-focal perspective necessary to receive the carvings as its executor knew…