A couple of miles east of Crieff, take the A822 road from the Gilmerton junction towards the Sma’ Glen. After literally 1¾ miles (2.8km)—just 100 yards before the track up to Connachan Farm—you’ll reach a dirt-track on your left that leads into the hills. Go on here and after an easy walk of 400 yards or so, you’ll reach a conspicuous large boulder just by the track-side, on your left. It’s impossible to miss!
Archaeology & History
Immediately adjacent to the Falls of Monzie (7) carving, this petroglyph was located by Paul Hornby on a recent visit to the Falls of Monzie cluster.
More than halfway up its south-sloping face are two very distinct cup-marks, some two inches across and up to half-inch deep: one near the western-edge and the other closer to the middle of the rock face. You can’t really miss them. They seem to be accompanied by a third about 2 feet further across to the right on its more eastern side. In formation, the three of them form a small raised arc. With the naked eye they’re very easy to make out, but were difficult to photograph due to the daylight and angle of the stone; hence in the photo here, I’ve numerated them.
This stone circle was found close to the roadside and is remembered today only by the street-name of ‘Pipers Stones’. Shown on the first OS-map of the area, the site was destroyed sometime before 1838.
In a folklore motif found at a number of megalithic rings, Grogan & Kilfeather (1997) tell us that the name of this circle,
“refers to a tradition that people caught dancing on a Sunday were turned to stone.”
Grogan, Eion & Kilfeather, Annaba, Archaeological Inventory of County Wicklow, Stationery Office: Dublin 1997.
o’ Flanagan, Michael, Letters Containing Information Relative to the Antiquities of the County of Wicklow, Bray 1928.
Whether you take the A836 or A838 into Tongue (through truly beautiful wilderness), make sure you go into the village itself—and then keep going, south, along the tiny country road. Nearly 2½ miles along, note the small loch of Lochan na Cuilce on your right. A few hundred yards past this, on the other side of the road (barely visible at first) is Lochan Hakel. Walk around to the south-side of the loch until you find the Lochan Hakel 1 carving. Then look up at the rock right above you. That’s the one!
Archaeology & History
In James Simpson’s (1867) primary work on British petroglyphs, he mentions this site as being in the lands of “Ribigill, near Tongue”, although it is a little further to the south. A certain “Mr Mitchell” had come across it in one of his many rambles in the hills. Simpson told that he had:
“discovered cups and circles upon a large stone, about nine feet square, apparently lying in its original position, close to the edge of a loch, which contains the remains of an old castle… The surface of the stone shows eighteen or twenty round cup excavations, about an inch deep. There is a ring of ‘hollow around each cup.'”
Although there aren’t rings around every cup, a great number of clear and impressive rings exist around many of them and are, thankfully, still reasonably visible amidst the mass of lichens.
Around the same time as Mr Simpson’s description, James Horsburgh (1868) wrote about the carving, telling us:
“On the edge of the precipitous bank of the loch, and exactly opposite the island, there is a large boulder with a flat top, and on this there are a number of cups and rings… This stone is not generally known. Old Ross, the gamekeeper at Tongue, first told me of it, and he and I scraped off the moss and exposed the whole. He thought it was for playing some game. On the left of the stone, on a bit separated by a crack, there is a sort of a figure which appears to have been formed by cutting away the stone around it and leaving it in relief, and also some artificial cutting on the right, a sort of circular groove.”
A better description of the carving came near the beginning of the 20th century, when the Scottish Royal Commission (1911) lads included the site in their inventory. They told:
“At the S end of Lochan Hacoin, to the SE of the islet on the top of the bank, is a large earth-fast boulder, on the flat upper surface of which are a number of cup and ring marks placed irregularly over it. The total number of undoubted markings is thirty-four, of which those surrounded by a ring number eleven. No cup with a double ring round it is observable. The best defined cup-mark measures 3″ across by 1¼” deep, and the enclosing ring is 7″ in diameter. Eight of the markings are well defined; the others less noticeable. At the S end there is a boss or projection, roughly rectangular, measuring 12″ x 6″. A sketch of this stone, made about the year 1866 by Mr James Horsburgh, is preserved in the library of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.”
Does anyone know if this drawing still exists?
In Horsburgh’s essay on the prehistoric remains of the area, he said how local people told that the cup-and-rings “were made by the high heels of a fairy who lived in the castle” on the island of Grianan about 40-50 yards away.
Close-Brooks, Joanna, Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: The Highlands, HMSO: Edinburgh 1995.
Simpson, James, Archaic Sculpturings of Cups, Circles, etc., Upon Stones and Rocks in Scotland, England and other Countries, Edmonston & Douglas: Edinburgh 1867.
Acknowledgments: Huge thanks to Sarah MacLean for guiding me to this carving, and also for the kind use of her photos in this site profile. Cheers Sarah! And to Donna Murray again, for putting up with me whilst in the area! Also – Huge thanks for use of the 1st edition OS-map in this site profile, Reproduced with the kind permission of the National Library of Scotland.
Travelling north from Perth on the A94, take the left hand turn to Strelitz as you go into Burrelton, and follow that road for two miles, and park up about 300 yards past the turning to Gallowhill. The circle stood at the far end (south-east) of the field on your left. Keep the distant gap in the hills in sight and the probable site of the circle is in a dip in the land in front of the ditch.
History & Archaeology
The circle had been destroyed by the middle of the nineteenth century, but was remembered by locals who gave this description to the Ordnance Survey bods:
‘The authorities quoted says that this is the site of a number of standing stones, they formed a circle, and one stood in the centre and according to tradition they were the remains of a Druidical Temple.’
In 1969 an Ordnance Survey archaeologist wrote:
‘There is no trace of this circle, the site being in a level arable field. Immediately to the SE in a ditch running parallel to the fence are about a dozen large boulders cleared from the field, possibly from the site of the circle.’
The boulders have now gone but there are some broken stones on the banks of the drainage ditch which may or may not be the sorry remains of some of the stones. There is a depression in the field just in front of the ditch which is the likely site of the circle based on the position shown on the 1867 map.
What is interesting is the gap in the horizon facing south east from the site of the circle. On the left of the gap is Black Hill, and on the right Dunsinane Hill of Macbeth fame. My reading of the angle from the probable site of the circle to the gap using a hand held compass was around 135° to 140°, and that may indicate a midwinter sunrise alignment from the lost circle. Something to be checked out when winter comes.
And there is a legend of a giant who leaped from Black Hill to Dunsinane who also tossed a boulder which stands between the two hills – whether this legend has anything to do with the possible solstitial sighting line from East Whitehill is an intriguing question.
Take the B936 out of Auchtermuchty, and park at the small car park for Auchtermuchty Common on your right just before Lumquhat Mill. Follow the path through the Common southwards and along the narrow strip until the Common opens out past the boundary stone. Head for the sign board on the right and when you get there turn left and march straight up the hillock and the stone is ahead of you in front of a gorse bush.
Archaeology & History
A curious little stone that I found quite by chance. It is wedge shaped in plan, bearing one large cup mark on its top surface. The cup is approximately 2″ in diameter and about ¾” deep. The raised part of the stone is about 3′ high, it is 3′ long and about 13″ wide at the blunt south end, although at ground level it is nearly 3′ wide at this end.
The stone is orientated due N-S, the south end aligning with the peak of East Lomond (a mythic hill of which at least one legend survives), while the north end points to the river port of Newburgh. It gives the impression of having been carved as a direction marker from what was a much larger stone, which, if this is the case may have originally borne more cups.
The first time I visited, there were three small polished coloured stones at the foot of the rock, while the second time there were four stones within the cup. A long term resident out walking his dog told me he knew of no folklore relating to the stone, but that over the last thirty years he had kept seeing offerings of stones in the cup, so the rock clearly still has some ritual significance for local heathens/pagans…
In times of olde on this prominent tree-covered hill, a tomb of some ancient ancestor once lived. It had already been destroyed by some retards by the time the Ordnance Survey lads came here in 1885; but thankfully, memory gave its existence the note it deserved. The place had thankfully been given the once-over by some archaeologists in the middle of that century, giving us a pretty good idea as to its size and nature. Measuring some 90 feet across and fourteen feet high, this was no mere toddler!
A Mr W.T. Collings (1846) gave his Intelligence Report to the archaeological journal of the period, from which the following description is gained:
“The excavation of this tumulus in 1845 was made from east to west, commencing from the eastern side, in the direction of its centre, in which, at a depth of about three feet, there was found a cinerary urn in an inverted position, slightly tilted on one side, and surrounded by charcoal and burnt earth. It was filled with charcoal, but contained only one small fragment of bone. This vessel, which was of the simplest manufacture, moulded by the hand, and sun-baked, measured in height five inches, and its diameter at the largest part was five inches and a half. From the deep red colouring, and the general appearance of the surrounding soil, it would seem that a small hole had been first dug, charcoal and bones burnt in it, the vase placed on the fire in an inverted position, and the whole covered up. About ten feet eastward of the central deposit, on the south side of the line of excavation, and half a foot deeper, a deposit of fragments of bone was found apparently calcined, but with little charcoal or burnt earth, forming a layer not more than three inches thick, and two feet in circumference. There were several pieces of the skull, a portion of the alveolar process, inclosing a tooth, apparently that of a young person, pieces of the femur and clavicle, and other fragments. A little to the north of this spot there appeared a mass of charcoal and burnt earth, containing nothing of interest. After digging five or six feet deeper, operations were discontinued; and on the next day shafts were excavated from the centre, so as completely to examine every part, without any further discovery, and in every direction charcoal was found mingled with the heap, not in patches, but in fragments.”
Collings reported the existence of another burial mound a short distance to the south. It was one of at least five such tumuli in the immediate locale, all of which have been destroyed by retards in the area.
Collings, W.T., “Archaeological Intelligence,” in Archaeological Journal, volume 3, 1846.
Tumulus (destroyed): OS Grid Reference – TQ 192 735
Also Known as:
Archaeology & History
Oliver’s Mound was highlighted as early as 1746 on John Roque’s map of the Country Near Ten Miles Round (London) as still standing. One hundred and fifty years later, when the Ordnance Survey lads came to map the area, it had gone. We don’t know exactly when it was demolished, so Historic England (not necessarily a good measure of accuracy) tell us its demise occurred “between 1760 and 1868”, so giving themselves at least some degree of safety!
As we can see in Mr Roque’s old map, an avenue of trees led up to the barrow. This avenue will have been created when Richmond Park and its gardens were laid out.
The round barrow was most likely Bronze Age in origin. The historian and folklorist Walter John (1093) reported that in 1834, three skeletons were found at a depth of a yard beneath the surface.
Traditional tells that the name of this barrow comes from when the religious extremist, Oliver Cromwell, and his men, set up camp here. A slight variant tells that Cromwell stood here to watch a skirmish.
Tumulus (destroyed): OS Grid Reference – TQ 222 709
Archaeology & History
It seems that a great number of prehistoric remains used to exist in and around the Wimbledon Common area. This one is mentioned only briefly in Thomas Stackhouse’s (1833) rare work on early British remains, where he wrote:
“Near an old single-trenched Camp at the South West comer of Wimbledon Common, is a very small flat Barrow cut into the form of a cross: I don’t know that it has been noticed by any writer.”
The “single-trenched Camp” he described is today known as Caesar’s Camp hillfort. By the time the Wimbledon historian William Bartlett (1865) came to write his survey, the site had been destroyed. In Mr Johnson’s (1903) survey, he seems to confuse this site with the large barrow cemetery that used to exist on the northern edges of Wimbledon Common described by William Stukeley and others.
(the grid-reference to this site is an approximation).
Bartlett, William A., The History and Antiquities of Wimbledon, Surrey, J. & S. Richards: Wimbledon 1865.
Johnson, Walter, Neolithic Man in North-East Surrey, Elliot Stock: London 1903.
Located on the old boundary line between Clapham and Battersea, what might have been a forgotten tumulus, whose memory was thankfully preserved by the renowned folklorist and historian Walter Johnson (1903), was described in his work on prehistoric Surrey. He seemed to think it serious enough to add to his survey, where he told us that,
“there still exists, near Cedars Road, Clapham, what may possibly be a round barrow. It is in the garden of a house opposite St. Saviour’s Church, and is visible to anyone passing along the old, narrow passage called Wix’s Lane. Mr. J.W. Grover, who brought the matter before the Archaeological Association in 1884, had been struck by the discovery that old maps marked the spot ‘Mount Nod Fields.’ …The mound must originally have been 70 or 80 feet across, but had been tampered with on one side for the construction of an ice-house. Mr. Grover suggested that the mound may be of Celtic date. To us, the height—some 12 feet or more—together with marked signs of reconstruction at a comparatively modern date, indicate the necessity of withholding judgment. The original tumulus may simply have been increased in height, but…digging alone could settle the question.”
Local historian Michael Green (2010) has found that there were prehistoric tombs on Clapham Common only 500 yards away, so this one along Cedar Road was not in isolation. Is the site named on the boundary perambulation records? Has it been explored since Johnson wrote about it and, if so, has its veracity as a prehistoric tomb been ascertained, or is it merely the remains of some post-medieval creation?
From Killin, take the A827 road to Kenmore. 6 miles along, on your right, is the track down to the Big Shed at Tombreck. Keep on the A827 for exactly ⅓-mile (0.53km), and opposite the driveway to Craggantoul is a small parking spot. A few yards on the road, over the burn, go thru the gate on your left. Follow the straight line of walling up for 400 yards it meets where another line of walling running right (E), into the boggy pasture-lands. Walk along here for roughly another 400 yards then go up the slope as if walking up Ben Lawers (N). You’ll come to 2 large boulders next to each other where the slope levels out. It’s the one on your left!
Archaeology & History
This carving is really for the purists amongst you. It’s like most of the carvings along this contour line in that the design is simplistic. Consisting of at least nine cups all on top of the stone, they can be difficult to see amidst the rough garnet and lichen-encrusted rock.
On one of our visits here, when the light cut across the surface at a lower angle, it seemed as if one of the cups had a faint ring around it; but it looked as if the outline of it had been started, but then for some reason the ring was never actually carved. This outline is very faint. We’ve found examples of this at two of the Duncroisk carvings, several miles to the west, where the faintest trace of a ring was outlined, but never carved. Of the cup-marks: five of them are carved on the east-side of the rock and are pretty easy to see (with the ring around one of them), whilst the other four—slightly more difficult to make out—are on its west side. A couple of hundred yards north you can see the Cragganester 10 carving.