Cotterton, Moulin, Perthshire

Standing Stone:  OS Grid-Reference – NO 03818 63692

Also Known as:

  1. Straloch

Getting Here

Cotterton standing stone

Along the A924 road, just over 4 miles (6.6km) NW from Kirkmichael, or about 8 miles (13km) NE from Pitlochry, you’ll hit the large farmhouse of Straloch.  You’ve really gotta keep your eyes peeled!  A few hundred yards west of Straloch itself, a small parking spot is on the south-side of the road, above the river.  From this parking spot, walk a few yards to the fence that overlooks the river and look into the field below you, where you’ll see the stone.  If y’ walk down the slope, you’ll see a gate on the right that leads you into the field.

Archaeology & History

First shown on the 1900 OS-map of the area, this petrified hunchbacked witch-of-a-stone stands on the flat grassland plain (previously scattered woodland when first raised) forty yards from the River Brerachan: a proximity characteristic found at many of the stones along Strathardle.

Cotterton stone 1900 map
Fred Coles’ sketch

Descriptions of the site prior to 1900 seem non-existent (does anyone know otherwise?).  It was the brilliant antiquarian Fred Coles (1908) who, it seems, was the first to mention the old stone — whose very crooked appearance had an unusual effect on him, saying how “such a decided leaning over towards the north…almost make one uneasy when standing beside it”!  It didn’t have that effect on me, but I was mightily impressed by both its appearance and curious hunched gait.  Twas one of those monoliths that had a distinct ‘feel’ about it, which many people report at such places up and down the country.  Whether it was its position by the river, or the color of the landscape, or the silence, or the shape of the stone, or combinations of them all—which ever it was, there was almost a sense of genius loci residing here…

But in that other world of pragmatic measurements, as Mr Coles told us:

“The Stone is at the base an oblong in shape, measuring 14 inches on its east end, 2 feet 7 inches along its south side, 17 inches at the west, and 3 feet 6 inches on its north side—a girth, therefore, of 8 feet 8 inches.  At the middle its dimensions are the same, but the top is rather less.   At its N.E. apex the Stone is 7 feet 8 inches clear of the ground, and at the west edge 7 feet.  In the illustration…I have shown the monolith from the south, with the craggy profile of Menachban in the background.”

The stone was mentioned in passing in Hugh Mitchell’s (1923) local survey.  A few years later in John Dixon’s (1925) account he repeated the dimensions of the stone that Coles had cited; and although he found there to be no known traditions of the place, he conjectured how it may have been connected with the numerous battles “that in former days occurred along this entrance to the Highlands.”

It’s a damn good site is this.  All you megalith hunters will love it!

References:

  1. Anonymous, Notes on Strathardle, Strathardle 1880.
  2. Coles, Fred, “Report on Stone Circles Surveyed in Perthshire – Northeastern Section,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, volume 42, 1908.
  3. Dixon, John H., Pitlochry, Past and Present, L. Mackay: Pitlochry 1925.
  4. Mitchell, Hugh, Pitlochry District: Its Topography, Archaeology and History, L. Mackay: Pitlochry 1923.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Dane’s Stone, Moulin, Pitlochry, Perthshire

Standing Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NN 9425 5942

Also Known as:

  1. Pitfourie Stone

Getting Here

Dane's Stone under a brilliant sky
Dane’s Stone under a brilliant sky

Going thru Pitlochry town, turn up the A924 road for about a mile till you hit the Moulin Inn on your left-hand side.  Just past here, take the road left and continue for 2-300 yards until the stone in the field stands out on your right-hands side.  Y’ can’t really miss it!

Archaeology & History

I should mebbe have this site entered as a ‘stone circle’ and not just an old monolith, as numerous other standing stones were in close attendant not too long ago and it was said to have been a circle.   Certainly when the great Fred Coles (1908) talked about this place, he

“was informed by the tenant, Mr Reid…that many years ago, in his grandfather’s time, “there were several more stones standing”, all smaller than this monolith and that, upon the orders given by Mrs Grant Ferguson of Baledmund, some of these were saved from total demolition, and are supposed to be lying half-buried in the field to this day.”

...and here's the big man close-up
…and here’s the big man close-up

Though I imagine these remnants have now been removed.  Aerial images, when conditions are just right, might prove fruitful here.

But the solitary stone still standing here is quite a big fella.  Heavily encrusted with quartz and more than 7 feet tall, it’s a nice fat chunky thing, with its lower half being somewhat slimmer than the top.  Well worth having a look at!

Folklore

Once an old moot site, folklore also tells that an old market was once held here (there was some other folklore I had of this place, but can’t for the life of me find it at the moment!).

References:

  1. Coles, Fred R., ‘Report on Stone Circles Surveyed in Perthshire,’ in PSAS 42, 1908.
  2. Liddell, Colin, Pitlochry: Heritage of a Highland District, PKPL: Perth 1993.
  3. Reid, A., ‘Monumental Remains in Pitlochry District,’ in PSAS 46, 1912.

Links:

  1. Stravaiging Round Scotland

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian


Balnakeilly Stone, Moulin, Pitlochry, Perthshire

Standing Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NN 9463 5943

Getting Here

As you go through Pitlochry’s main street, watch out for the right-turn up the A924 road.  Go up here for perhaps a mile.  You’ll know you’re getting close as you pass the Moulin pub and the seeming avenue of trees opens on either side of the road.  A coupla hundred yards up into the trees, there’s the left-turn up the Balnakeilly driveway.  Stop! It’s on your left.

Archaeology & History

The Balnakeilly Monolith
The Balnakeilly Monolith

Knocking on for nine-feet tall, there’s some debate as to the archaic authenticity on this standing stone.  Ian Armit and his mate (1998) certainly wondered whether this was an ancient stone or not and, gotta say, when I came up here a coupla weeks back, I got the same impression.  It doesn’t have that feel about it which comes from the real olde ones; but this could be due to it having been moved in the not-too-distant past.  Though when Alan Reid wrote about it in 1911 he told us that,

“it bears marks of having been…worked slightly into shape by some pointed tool whose traces are plainly seen on several of its angles.”

Not something you’d find on monoliths that are a few thousand years old!  But if this stone was moved when the entrance to Balnakeilly drive was done, or the road widened, this could account for such markings.  We could do with digging into any archives that may exist about Balnakeilly or the Pitlochry roads to see if there’s any record of this stone to end the debate once and for all.  Tis a good site to visit though – check it out!

References:

  1. Armit, I. & Johnson, M., ‘Balnakeilly (Moulin parish), ‘modern standing stone’,’ in Discovery and Excavation in Scotland, 1998.
  2. Reid, Alan, ‘Monumental Remains in Pitlochry District,’ in PSAS 46, 1911-12.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian