Loch Ardinning, Mugdock, Stirlingshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone (lost):  OS Grid Reference – NS 56 77

Archaeology & History

The hidden Loch Ardinning stone

The hidden Loch Ardinning stone

This site-profile is one for the explorers amongst you.  It was last reported by the rock art author Ronald Morris (1981) who himself looked several times for this multiple-ringed carving, but never managed to find it.  The carving was rediscovered and described by the Glasgow archaeologist J. Harrison Maxwell, who took the only known photograph of the carving (reproduced here).  Sadly, he only left a short note about the site which read simply: “cups-and-rings to the west of Loch Ardinning.”

It seems probable that the carving would be in the area between the loch and the A81 road (between Strathblane and Bearsden) and not on the western side of the road—but we cannot be certain.  It may be hidden in the trees somewhere between the road and the lochside—which means that it’s probably completely overgrown by vegetation.  Morris (1981) described the carving as:

“a cup-and-four-rings, 2 cups-and-two-rings, and at least 4 cups-and-one-ring. Some rings are complete without radial groove and some are gapped with groove from the cup.”

If any explorers out there manage to unearth this lost carving, please give us a shout!


  1. Morris, Ronald W.B., “The Cup-and-Ring and Similar Early Sculptures of Scotland; Part 2 – The Rest of Scotland except Kintyre,” in Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society, volume 16, 1969.
  2. Morris, Ronald W.B., “The cup-and-ring marks and similar sculptures of Scotland: a survey of the southern Counties – part 2,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 100, 1969.
  3. Morris, Ronald W.B., The Prehistoric Rock Art of Southern Scotland, BAR: Oxford 1981.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian


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  55.968930, -4.300721 Loch Ardinning

Echo Stone, Mugdock, Stirlingshire

Legendary Rock:  OS Grid Reference – NS 5493 7710

Also known as:

  1. Historic Environment Record Stirling 3745

Getting Here

Echo Stone on 1865 Map

Echo Stone on 1865 Map

Enter Mugdock Country Park from the south-east entrance along Mugdock Road from Milngavie. The Stone is visible in rough grass from the path to the south – west of Mugdock Castle. It is about 2 feet high and is identified by a small coloured wooden marker post.

Archaeology & History

The earliest records of this stone occur in the mid-nineteenth century.  Writing in 1854, Hugh Macdonald described the Stone:

“There is an echo of considerable local celebrity at Mugdock, the reverberative powers of which are frequently put to the test by visitors. The spot from which the echo is most distinctly heard is a slightly projecting rock, on a verdant declivity, about a hundred yards to the south of the castle. A person standing on this, looking towards the edifice, and speaking pretty loudly, will hear his words, or even short sentences uttered by him, repeated with startling distinctness, as if from some mimic at the old tower. Of course, we give the echo sundry specimens of our vocality, and to its credit we must say that it flings them back with amazing fidelity. Paddy Blake’s echo, which on the question being put to it of ‘How are you?’ invariably answered ‘Pretty well, I thank you!’ was unmistakeably a native of the land of Bulls. The Mugdock one must be as decidedly Scottish, as it answers each question put to it by asking another. If there were any doubt on this subject, however, we might mention, in support of our supposition, that it is quite au fait at the Gaelic, as we proved to the entire satisfaction of a cannie bystander, who, after listening in silence for some time to our mutual interrogations in that classic tongue, at length exclaimed, ‘Od, man, that’s curious! Wha wad hae thocht that a Lawlan’ echo could hae jabbered Gaelic?’”


The Stone with its marker post

Samuel Lewis, writing before 1846:  “At a distance of about 300 yards from this castle is a remarkable echo, which distinctly reverberates a sentence of six monosyllables, if uttered in a loud tone; and this not till a few seconds after the sentence is completed”.

You'll be impressed by the echo!

You’ll be impressed by the echo!

Stand by this low, flat topped stone, and your calls will echo distinctly, whether or not you face the castle. We found that the echo seemed more pronounced after dark, but that may have been a result of there being less ambient noise at night. We can only speculate as to how people in distant times reacted to the echo, and it is interesting how MacDonald’s Gaelic-speaking friend reacted to the echo, almost as if he believed it to be a living organism which he did not expect to reply in his own language. We were both impressed by this powerful natural phenomenon.


  1. MacDonald, Hugh, Rambles Round Glasgow, Descriptive, Historical & Traditional, John Smith & Son: Glasgow 1854 & 1910.
  2. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland – 2 volumes, S Lewis & Co.: London 1846

Acknowledgements:  Thanks and a tip of the Hatlo hat to Nina Harris for informing me of the existence of the Echo Stone and for driving me up there a couple of times.

© Paul T. Hornby, The Northern Antiquarian 2016


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  55.964984, -4.325561 Echo Stone

Craigmaddie Muir (2), Baldernock, Stirlingshire

Chambered Cairn (destroyed): OS Grid Reference – NS 58 76

Also Known as:

  1. Blochairn 2
  2. Canmore ID 44421
  3. STR 3 (Henshall)

Archaeology & History

Close to the ruined Craigmaddie Muir cairn could once have seen a companion, of roughly the same size and structure and made up of thousands of small stones, covering a long internal chamber. It was described in David Ure’s (1793) early history work on the area which, even then, thanks to “frequent dilapidations, will soon be annihilated.” The cairn was included in A.S. Henshall’s (1972) magnum opus in which she wrote:

“There was a second cairn in the vicinty of Craigmaddie Muir I. It was also ‘of an elliptical shape.’ Writing in 1793, Ure says that it ‘was laid open last year, and, though not so large as the other, was of the same construction, which seems to be Danish.  Some of the stones placed in the rows at the bottom are considerably large… Among the contents, upon opening…were urns… One of the fragments of an urn is ornamented, near the mouth, with two shallow grooves. The diameter of the circle of which it is a segment seems to have been at least 20in.”

Fragments of human bones were also found within the site, but the entire cairn was sadly destroyed a long time ago. In the Stirlingshire Royal Commission report (1963:1) it was speculated that the urn found herein,

“must have been either a neolithic vessel or a cinerary urn. In view of the method of construction of the chamber it may be assumed that both cairns were related to the Arran or Clyde-Carlingford types.”


  1. Henshall, Audrey Shore, The Chambered Tombs of Scotland – volume 2, Edinburgh University Press 1972.
  2. Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments, Scotland, Stirlingshire – volume 1, HMSO: Edinburgh 1963.
  3. Ure, David, The History of Rutherglen and East Kilbride, Glasgow 1793.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 


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  55.960627, -4.268409 Craigmaddie Muir (2)