West Dron Hill, Bridge of Earn, Perthshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NO 11845 15169

Getting Here

West Dron’s petroglyph

In the middle of Bridge of Earn village, take the Heughfield Road until, ⅓-mile on you hit the T-junction.  Turn left along Forgandenny Road and go along the curvaceous road for just over a mile where you need to keep your eyes peeled for the small left turn that takes you up the dead straight road.  At the top, turn left at the junction and go ⅔-mile, turning right at the next junction until after 400 yards you reach the houses on your right.  Go up the footpath opposite the houses (south) until, after nearly 400 yards, it splits.  Bear right and zigzag up the track for nearly a mile till you reach a large opening in the forest.  40 yards up the slope to your left is the stone—at last!

Archaeology & History

After the trail to get here, you might not be overly impressed by what you see – and it’s nothing special to look at to be honest.  But its location is a good one: reasonably high up on a sloping plateau which would have given good views were it not for the surrounding forestry plantations.  The only literary description of the site was the brief one in Discovery & Excavation Scotland, shortly after being rediscovered.  Mrs Johnson (1960) wrote:

Close-up of the carving

“A cup-marked stone was found by Mr. J. R. Morrison on the N side of West Dron hill.  The stone measures approx. 4ft long by 1ft 9in broad.

There are 17 cup-marks: five of which have channels, and two of which are joined in the form of a dumb-bell.  The stone lies with its longer axis NE-SW, and its broad face uppermost.”

Its seeming isolation is a peculiarity that I don’t buy.  Other carvings are going to be in the locale, probably on the same north- or north-east facing ridges – but due to the dense forestry, any other petroglyphs will remain hidden for quite some time…


  1. Johnson, M., “Dron, Perthshire,” in Discovery & Excavation Scotland, SRG 1960.

Acknowledgements:  Huge thanks to Theresa Hughes for the use of her photos of this carving.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Montalt, Dunning, Perthshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NO 06 13

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 26675
  2. Mount Alt Farm

Archaeology & History

Montalt’s curious cup-marked stone

This is a curious stone and may not be the type of ‘cup-marked’ rock we’re used to.  Maybe… It is presently housed in Stirling’s Smith Art Gallery & Museum, where a small note tells that is was originally found “on the top of the Ochils, near Mount Alt Farm, Path of Condie in 1893.”  The stone was found at the same time, and adjacent to, a prehistoric collared urn—which implies it had an association with a cairn or cist, or burial site of some sort (which isn’t uncommon).  However, the exact location of its original whereabouts has been forgotten.

Broken off from a larger piece of stone, the remaining piece of rock has six cup-markings cut into it, between one and three inches across.  The smallest cup is what we might call a ‘normal’ size, but the rest of them get increasingly large and may have been more functional than purely mythic in nature.  In a small note attached to the stone in the Museum, they add the interesting note that,

“There are…indications that in some places they may be related to transhumance: the practice of moving sheep, cattle and goats to higher pastures in the summer, where they may have been used to mark routes or sources of water.”

They may indeed – amongst a variety of other things too.  But the suggested relationship with cattle occurs in stones found near Haworth, West Yorkshire, where large man-affected carved ‘cups’ such as the ones here, were known to be filled with milk at specific times of Nature’s calendrical rhythms, for the spirits of the place to give good fortune to the farmer and local people.  We know of one instance where this practice still occurs and goes back generations in the same family.  Examples of this animistic practice have also been found in the Scottish Highlands.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian