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.”
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!
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!).
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
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!