If you take the path up to Schiehallion (the great hill of the faeries) from the car park near the Braes of Foss, just a hundred yards or so past the first set of trees onto the moorland, keep your eyes peeled for the long stone on your right, a few yards off the path. Upon its upper elongated surface you’ll notice a series of cup-markings etched onto it, oh so long ago now…
Located below the legendary Schiehallion, or Mountain of the Faeries, this carving is best visited over the winter and spring months (before the bracken encroaches). On its upper surface there are about 25 cup-marks, many of them pecked to about an inch deep, with one of them being more than 6 inches across and 2 inches deep. Weathering over the ages has effected them. It seems to have been rediscovered in the early 1970s and is, officially speaking, an isolated carving; this is most unlikely—and needs the keen eyes of fellow antiquarians to find others in this beautiful neighbourhood.
Acknowledgements: Massive thanks to Michelle Allan for allowing us to use her photos of the Leachd Nam Braoileag carving in this site profile.
From the gorgeous village of Kinloch Rannoch, take the road along the north side of Loch Rannoch for about 2½ miles. As you go along the road, for a good mile or so it is wooded. Where the woods stop and the first field appears on your right, stop! You’ll see the standing stone perched erotically at an angle above you.
Archaeology & History
A fascinating site in a quite beautiful setting, typical of the Highlands. This stone of many names is a curiously-shaped monolith: like an erect stone penis at the edge of the field when seen from the roadside, calling out to christians and pagans alike, to be castigated or rubbed—whatever the religious preference of the surveyor! Leaning over at a slight angle, the stone is still nearly six feet tall and lives upon a large and equally prehistoric stone cairn about 30 feet across. This cairn, it is said, has been added to by locals when the field was cleared of stone and piled on top of the old tomb. No excavations have been done here, nor at the large ‘hut circle’ in the same field about 50 yards away.
So far I have only found a short narrative of this stone in the pages of T.R. Barnett’s (1944) loving account of the Perthshire hills, where he tells that, close by the stone at Aulich, was once
“a famous smith, said to be in league with the devil, and he made the finest claymores in Rannoch.”
Barnett, T. Ratcliffe, The Road to Rannoch and the Summer Isles, John Grant: Edinburgh 1944.
Cunningham, A.D., A History of Rannoch, privately printed 2004.
From the lovely village of Kinloch Rannoch, take the south road over the river that heads (eventually) to Aberfeldy. 3-400 yards along, another small road meets with the one you’re on, on your right. Stop here! Then look across at the field ahead of you, on your left, and you’ll see a small standing stone amidst the green. That’s it!
Archaeology & History
This is a small, squat but impressive standing stone, less than 4 feet tall, set amidst a beautiful landscape which catches the eye in every direction. Found close to the remains of several prehistoric cairns, it seems probable that funerary associations would have happened here, although direct evidence is lacking.
Although I can find nothing specific to account for the Gaelic meaning (“stone of fury”) of the monolith, on the other side of the road in the trees is the old house of Innerhadden, where a curious ghost story told how an old inhabitant there was helped by the spirit of one who died in the Battle of Culloden. (Cunningham 1989)
Cunningham, A.D., Tales of Rannoch, Perth & Kinross District Library 1989.
Follow the same directions to reach the Allt Leathan enclosure and hut circles. Walk along the eastern side of the hill on which the enclosure mainly sits, and as it slopes down the hill, you’ll note an odd-shaped stone leaning at an angle less than halfway down.
Archaeology & History
A truly curious and fascinating site, not previously recorded, but found by Paul Hornby on August 7, 2012, during a venture to explore the nearby settlement and hut circles around Meall Dubh. On the eastern slope over the edge of the Allt Leathan enclosure, with its hut circles and possible cairns, we see this upright worn stone, leaning at an angle, which would stand nearly 5 feet high if pushed properly upright. It is found in association with two other smaller stones, all of which stand and lean in the same direction.
Around the base of the main stone is a scatter of small rocks, as if suggesting that a cairn was once next to the standing stone, perhaps inferring that the stone marked a tomb. There is also a very distinct line of walling running along the axis of the upright stones, meaning that we cannot discount the possibility that the monoliths here were connected with a walled enclosure in some capacity. And considering the excess of other prehistoric remains close by, this may be more likely than not!
Although found within the parish of Fortingall many miles to the south, this site is much closer to Kinloch Rannoch, just a few miles northwest. From Kinloch Rannoch, take the south road, heading east for about 5 miles, till you go past the small Lochan an Daim on the left (north) of the road. As the moorland opens up ahead of you, about a half-mile further on, watch for the dirt-track running up onto the hills on your left. Cross the road from here, over the stream and bogs, onto the small hill ahead of you. You’re getting very close!
Archaeology & History
The Canmore entry for this site tells of just a large single hut circle being here, 13.5m by 12m across, but this is in fact part of a much larger enclosure system with extensive walls rising to heights of up to 3 feet in places and covering a very wide area indeed across the sloping grass-covered ridge above the streams on either side. The walling is typically Iron Age in structure and there are remains of other internal features that we gave only cursory attention to (other sites were calling out for us!).
What seem to be a cluster of several very overgrown cairns, roughly 20 feet across and 3 feet high, are evident on the south side of the enclosure walling. These need examining in greater detail. Also, on the eastern slope below the edge of the main walled enclosure, Paul Hornby found what seems to be a prehistoric standing stone, leaning to one side, which if completely upright would be about 5 feet tall. There are also the remains of at least two other large walled enclosures further onto the hillside, just before you start walking up the slopes to Schiehallion. They appear to be similar in nature and structure to this one at Allt Leathen, but I can find no account of them in any records.