Lochan Hakel (02), Tongue, Sutherland

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NC 56995 52656

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 5375
  2. Lochan Hacoin
  3. Ribigill carving

Getting Here

Carving on the 1878 map

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:

The rock and its island
Some of the cup-and-rings

“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:

From the rock, looking N
The carving from above

“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.


  1. Close-Brooks, Joanna, Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: The Highlands, HMSO: Edinburgh 1995.
  2. Horsburgh, James, “Notes of Cromlechs, Duns, Hut-circles, Chambered Cairns and other Remains, in the County of Sutherland,” in Proceedings Society of Antiquaries Scotland, volume 7, 1868.
  3. o’ Reilly, Kevin, What to See Around the Kyle of Tongue, privately printed 1980.
  4. Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments & Constructions of Scotland, Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the County of Sutherland., HMSO: Edinburgh 1911.
  5. Simpson, J.Y., “On Ancient Sculpturings of Cups and Concentric Rings,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 6, 1866.
  6. 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

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Na Clachan Bhreige, Kirkibost, Strathaird, Skye

Stone Circle:  OS Grid Reference –  NG 5432 1768

Also known as:

  1. The False Stones
  2. Na Clachan Breitheach
  3. Strathaird Circle

Getting Here

Way off from seemingly anywhere this one – on the southern foothills of the great Cuillins, by the western edge of a seemingly unnamed loch. (most unusual) Take the Elgol road (A881) south from Broadford, nearly to its end, keeping an eye out for Kirkibost a few miles from the very end of the road. Just past here, stop and walk the track west to Camasunary a half-mile along, through the small forestry-bit, then follow the line of the trees north and keep going a bit more till y’ reach the nice stream that feeds that unnamed loch. Cross the stream!

Archaeology & History

Alexander Thom's 1967 drawing

Alexander Thom’s 1967 drawing

A fascinating little site this one! Perhaps consisting of as many as eight stones at one time, only three stand visible today.  Alexander Thom (1967) reported finding other stones in this circle “being buried in the peat, but prodding revealed their position roughly” — as shown on his drawing here.  There may at one time have been as many as eight stones here, but the site itself is quite small, making a ring of stones only 21-feet across (or 8 megalithic yards as Thom had it).  The ruinous state of the site was put down to the stupidity of the Church of Scotland issuing “instructions that all stones in Skye were to be thrown down” a few centuries back.

Aubrey Burl's later 'four-poster' summary

Aubrey Burl’s later ‘four-poster’ summary

Aubrey Burl reported that “there were once at least 4 stones here, the tallest being of 6ft 6ins (2m) high,” and wondered whether this was one of the many ‘four-poster’ stone circles that scatter Scotland and elsewhere.  An issue he seemed comfortable to proclaim a few years later in his survey of such sites. (Burl 1988) Of those stones still standing, the tallest is just 5 feet high; but there’s the impressive 11½-foot long monolith laying on the southeast edge of the ring!  Mr Burl also pointed out that some

“casual digging  inside the ring around 1860 uncovered a blackpolished stone about 1½ ins (4cm) long, ‘somewhat resembling a small pestle.’”

I found the proximity of the Cille Mhaire burial ground a mile west of here more than a bit intriguing (though didn’t have time to assess its geomantic relationship further).  And the reported presence of prehistoric cairns nearby imply that the Na Clachan Bhreige ‘circle’ had some relationship with death and burial.


The folkname of ‘The False Stones’ comes from that well-known tale of the site “supposedly being the remains of three men turned into stone for deserting their wives.”  Something which Otta Swire (1964) thought was likely told by christian converts.  It would have probably replaced an earlier tale of the stones being the site where some ancestral spirits lived.  Swire also told that,

“these were once, if tradition is to be believed, Stones of Wisdom who could both foretell the future and show justice as between man and man.”

Burl (1988) also points out how,

“The name, Na Clachan Bhreige, has been variously pointed translated as ‘the judicial stones’, a place where medieval law courts were held, as in several other Scottish rings.  It has also been interpreted as ‘the stone of lies, or falsehood.’”


  1. Burl, Aubrey, Four Posters: Bronze Age Stone Circles of Western Europe, BAR: Oxford 1988.
  2. Grinsell, L.V., Folklore of Prehistoric Sites in Britain, Hale: Newton Abbot 1976.
  3. Swire, Otta F., Skye: The Island and its Legends, Blackie & Sons: Glasgow 1961.
  4. Thom, Alexander, Megalithic Sites in Britain, Oxford University Press 1967.
  5. Thom, A., Thom, A.S. & Burl, Aubrey, Megalithic Rings, BAR: Oxford 1980.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Clach na h-ealea, Clachan, Lismore, Argyll

Legendary Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NM 861 435

Also Known as:

  1. Clach na h-eala
  2. Stone of the Swan
  3. Swan Stone

Archaeology & History

Although the lads at the Scottish Royal Commission (1974) initially described this site as a ‘Standing Stone’, it is in fact,

“an erratic boulder of granite roughly shaped in the form of a cross… It measures 0.8m in height, 0.6m in width at base, and 0.4m in width at the top…(and) the stone is supposed to have marked a boundary.”

The site was evidently of some mythic importance, as the great Cathedral of St. Moluag was built next to the stone — unless the giant cairn of Cnoc Aingil, 500 yards away, was to blame. A holy well of this saint’s name (an obvious heathen site beforehand) is also nearby.


Although this stone was dedicated to swans, I’ve not found the story behind the name.  There were no buried swans here, but local tradition told that this old boulder could give sanctuary to anyone who touched it, or ran round it sunwise.  The Hebridean folklorist Otta Swire (1964) told that,

“anyone who claimed such sanctuary had his case considered by ‘the Elders.’ If they considered his plea justified, they ‘came out and walked sun-wise round the Swan Stone.’ If they did not approve of his right to sanctuary, they walked round it anti-clockwise and the man was then given over, not to his enemies, but ‘to Authority’ to be tried.”

This old tradition derives from well known pre-christian rites. Swire also reported that even in the 1960s here, “at funerals the coffin is always carried round the grave sun-wise before being laid in it.” An old cross placed in the Field of the Cross next to the stone was an attempt to tease folk away from heathen rites of the stone, but failed.


  1. Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, Argyll – volume 2: Lorn, RCAHMS: Edinburgh 1974.
  2. Swire, O.F., The Inner Hebrides and their Legends, Collins: London 1964.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Kinloch Lodge, Tongue, Sutherland

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NC 56201 52713

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 5356
  2. Lochan Hakel A (Gourlay 1996)

Getting Here

Kinloch Lodge carving (by Donna Murray)

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 for 3 miles.  Hereby, keep your eyes peeled for Lochan na Cuilce on your right; keep going past here, into and through the old trees where you’ll then see Lochan Hakel on your left.  Keep going past here until your reach the next small copse on your right.  Stop here.  A small pool is yards into the trees and here you’ll see a single stone between that and the roadside.  You can’t really miss it!

Archaeology & History

Close-up of some cups (by Donna Murray)

An apparently isolated cup-marked stone, some 3 feet by 5 feet, that was first described in Morrison’s (1883) meanderings amidst Sutherland’s awesome wilderness.  It’s quite plain compared to Lochan Hakel 2 and many other carvings, simply consisting of 18 cups of various sizes, mainly on the eastern side of the rock.  Sarah MacLean pointed out that a line running along the length of the stone seemed, in parts, to have been artificially enhanced by the hand of man, or woman.  I have to agree with her.

The Royal Commission (1911) lads included this petroglyph in their superb survey of Sutherland, telling:

“On the W. side of the road to Kinloch, about ½ m. N of the bridge over the Kinloch River (Amhainn Ceann Locha), and on the N edge of a gravel pit close to the road, is a large earthfast boulder, 5′ in length as far as exposed, and 3′ 10″ in breadth, showing on its upper surface eighteen cup-marks of various depths, of which the most distinct is towards the N end of the stone, measuring about 3″ in diameter and 1″ in depth.  The whole length of the stone is not visible, but the markings do not seem to extend to the portion covered…”

Carving in situ (by Donna Murray)
by Kevin o’ Reilly

Simulacra lovers will love the form of this stone in relation to the background of the mountains, as its shape is echoed in that of the rising hills several miles to the south.  …Of course, the depersonalizing ones amongst you lacking an understanding of animism would reject any such association due to your projection of disbelief.  However—and equally—as we lack any ethnographic data on the carving we must also assume some caution…

A fascinating site – and one which is likely to have neighbours hidden in the surrounding moorlands…


  1. Gourlay, Robert, Sutherland: An Archaeological Guide, Birlinn: Edinburgh 1996.
  2. Michell, John, Simulacra, Thames & Hudson: London 1979.
  3. Morrison, Hew, Tourist’s Guide to Sutherland and Caithness, D.H. Edwards: Brechin 1883.
  4. Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments, Scotland, Second report and inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Sutherland, HMSO: Edinburgh 1911.

Acknowledgments:  Huge thanks to Donna Murray for use of her photos in this site profile (aswell as for putting up with me whilst in the area); and also to Sarah MacLean for taking us to the carving in the first place. Many many thanks indeed.  See y’ again soon, hopefully!

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

Lochan Hakel (01), Tongue, Sutherland

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NC 56988 52656 

Getting Here

Lochan Hakel’s cup & ring (photo by Sarah MacLean)

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 and, across from where the small island of Grianan lives, you’ll see this large rounded boulder by the loch-side.

Archaeology & History

Stuck in a veritably stunning middle-o’-nowhere below the outstretched northern moors beneath Ben Loyal & co, there is no previous literary account of this faded petroglyph, rediscovered in early April 2017 when Sarah MacLean took us on a visit to the more renowned multiple cup-and-ringer of Lochan Hakel 2, just yards away above the moorland rise (which is unmissable from here).  It’s not too special in comparison with its neighbour and many others—but try telling Sarah that!

Cup & ring atop of stone (photo by Sarah MacLean)

This large rounded lichen-covered boulder has, at its height, a carved ring around a natural rise—known as a ‘boss’—at the very top of the rock.  On its southern side, Sarah found a single cup-mark, along with a couple of others on the more northeasterly sloping face.  At the bottom of this face is another seemingly isolated small cup-marking.  There may well be other carved elements beneath the mass of ancient lichens, but we thought it best to leave them for the time being.  It’s also quite likely that other unrecorded carvings exist in the area.

Acknowledgments:  Huge thanks to Sarah MacLean, not only for helping to locate this carving, but for use of her photos in this site profile.  Cheers Sarah!  And to Donna Murray, for putting up with me whilst in the area! …Now, let’s find some more of them!

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Fortingall Churchyard, Perthshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NN 7417 4703

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 25003
The stone & the yew
The stone & the yew

Getting Here

Go into the Fortingall churchyard, turning left through the gates (walking across in front of the enclosed sacred yew tree), towards the dip in the walling past the graves.  Go over this wall, turning left and through another small gate.  Immediately through the gate, note the small upright stone on your right, below an offspring of the old yew tree.  That’s the spot!

Archaeology & History

In the legendary churchyard at Fortingall — home to remains from a panoply of beliefs — below the sacred yew tree we find the remains of this hewn piece of stone, recovered from the Earth beneath the roots of the old tree more than 100 years ago.  Upon its crown we see a cluster of cup-markings: Fred Coles (1910) counted 14, I counted 13, the Ordnance Survey boys counted 9, and other surveyors are somewhere in between.

Fred Cole's sketch of the stone
Fred Cole’s sketch of the stone
Photo of the cup-markings
Photo of the cup-markings

Described and illustrated in the Strathtay rock art survey of Sonia Yellowlees (2004), it seems that the earliest mention of the stone was by our Perthshire megalith hunter Fred Coles (1910).  When he wrote about it, the site had only recently been rediscovered.  He told that he was,

“informed by Rev. W. Camphell, minister of the parish, that in 1903, when some alterations were being made in that portion of the burying-ground belonging to the late Sir Donald Currie of Garth, the workmen came upon this Stone lying at a depth of 8 feet, at a point not many feet distant from the stem of the famous Yew-tree. Noticing the cup-marks on the Stone, the workmen raised it and set it up erect on the site it now occupies, close to the western wall of the Garth burial-ground — about 25 feet from the spot where it was unearthed: In the plan annexed (fig.2) the oblong bounded by the letters A B C D shows the dimensions of the base, and the small cup-marked surface, evidently much broken, and 2 feet 10 inches above ground, shows all that now remains of the work of the prehistoric artificer. There are no rings or grooves, and the cups, except for clearness and neatness of finish, do not present any special features.”

...and another angle.
…and another angle.

Mr Coles then made some intriguing suggestive remarks regarding the position of the carving beneath the ancient yew tree (which to those of you who aren’t aware, is believed to be the oldest yew tree in Europe and has a pagan altar next to it), wondering whether the animistic tradition of the tree had anything to do with the carving itself.  It would certainly make sense.  But there is also the possibility that the carving was brought from elsewhere and placed by the tree at a later date.  We simply don’t know.


  1. Coles, Fred, “Report on Stone Circles Surveyed in Perthshire,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 44, 1910.
  2. Yellowlees, Walter, Cupmarked Stones in Strathtay, Scotland Magazine: Edinburgh 2004.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian 

Maiden’s Well, Glendevon, Perthshire

Healing Well: OS Grid Reference – NN 9703 0139

Also Known as:

1. Maiden Well

Maidens Well on 1866 map
Maidens Well on 1866 map

Getting Here

Follow the same directions as if you’re going to the Maiden Castle fairy hill.  About 100 yards before reaching the hill, on the right-hand side of the footpath between the tree-line and the small stream, you’ll see a small pool of water. This is Maiden’s Well.

Archaeology & History

Maiden's Well - and the fairy haunt of Maiden Castle hill behind
Maiden’s Well – and the fairy haunt of Maiden Castle hill behind

A mile northeast of the faerie-haunted Butter Well, just on the border of Clackmannanshire and Perthshire, we find this little-known magickal spring.  More than a century ago, the story of this remote well was heard about hundreds of miles away by one Rev. Andrew Clark of Oxford, “who heard it from the late sexton of the parish of Dollar, in the county of Clackmannan” and who then mentioned its existence to the great Victorian Celtic scholar John Rhys (1901), who subsequently wrote of it as being “a fine spring bordered with flat stones, in the middle of a neat, turfy spot”, close to the legendary faerie hall of Maiden Castle. The well itself has now given birth to a pool whose waters, so folklore and text ascribe, always provides good clear water even in the height of summer.

The local historian Hugh Haliburton (1905) told that the well obtained its name from a princess who was held captive in Castle Campbell in the valley to the southwest, and that she was sometimes allowed out of prison by her captors, to walk to the well and drink its waters.


This tale has been mentioned by various historians and, no doubt, has some religious relevance to the faerie lore of Maiden Castle, close by, Bruce Baillie (1998) told:

“A story associated with it states that it is haunted by the spirit of a beautiful maiden which only appears at night and, should any male attempt to kiss her, coronary thrombosis occurs.”!

The Maiden's Well pool
The Maiden’s Well pool

Earlier accounts tell of magickal rites that could be used to invoke the beautiful maiden, but once again dire consequences may befall the poor practitioner.

To this day, local people visit the well and make offerings to the spirit of the waters, as you’ll see if you come here.  Some of the remains here are very old; and a visit not long ago indicated that offerings were made even when surrounded by depths of snow in the middle of a freezing winter.


  1. Baillie, Bruce, History of Dollar, DMT: Dollar 1998.
  2. Fergusson, R. Menzies, The Ochil Fairy Tales, Clackmannan District Libaries 1985.
  3. Haliburton, Hugh, Excursions in Prose and Verse, G.A. Morton: Edinburgh 1905.
  4. Rhys, John, Celtic Folklore – Welsh and Manx: volume 1, Oxford University Press 1901.
  5. Watson, Angus, The Ochils: Placenames, History, Tradition, PKDC: Perth 1995.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Maiden Castle, Glendevon, Perthshire

Legendary Hill: OS Grid Reference – NN 9710 0141

Also Known as:

  1. Maiden’s Castle

Getting Here

1860 map showing Maiden Castle (and the Maiden's Well)
1860 map showing Maiden Castle (and the Maiden’s Well)

Take the small steep road uphill from the town of Dollar in Clackmannanshire towards Castle Campbell. Less than 100 yards above the small parking spot by the small white house near the top of the hill, turn to walk up the footpath on your right above the house, following the edge of the depleted forestry plantation parallel with the valley.  Cross the valley a few hundred yards up, but keep to path on the other side that stays parallel with the stream.  You’ll hit a small rocky glen a half-mile up. Walk thru it, alongside the very edge of the forest till the trees break and there’s a gap in the hills.  You’ve just walked past the Maiden’s Well and in front of you is a large natural rounded hill, which the footpath bends around. This hill is the Maiden Castle. (if you walk round this, a view into the eastern hills and a small lake opens up ahead of you)

Archaeology & History

The fairy hill of Maiden Castle
The fairy hill of Maiden Castle

A large rounded hill marking the opening of Glenquey to the north and the Glen of Care to the south. Although ascribed in place-names old and new as a ‘castle’, there are no remains as such left here to account for this title. Angus Watson (1995) tells of the possibility of the place deriving its name from the Gaelic Creag Ingheann, or maiden crag. In Bruce Baillie’s (1998) survey of the area, in trying to give some relevance to the place-name, he points out that whilst no hillfort or cairn that might help account for the folklore (see below),

“Large-scale maps indicate a spot opposite on Hillfoot Hill as Greig’s Grave. There would seem to be something ancient here but of what nature it is, at the moment, impossible to say.”

When we visited the place yesterday, snow still covered much of the ground hereby, so we couldn’t do our usual explorations seeking for old sites (even the hut circles 100 yards away were covered over). The legendary healing waters of the Maiden’s Well are below here, by the side of the burn.


This large rounded hillock was evidently a place of some importance in bygone days if the folktale here is anything to go by. Although the story echoes the some of the core sequences of modern ‘close encounter’ abduction events, other ingredients here tell of more arcane peasant rites that were once part of the social structure of our ancient heathen tribes:

“A piper, carrying his pipes, was crossing from Glendevon to Dollar in the grey of the evening. He crossed the Garchil (a little stream running into the Quaich), and looked at the Maiden Castle and saw only the grey hillside and heard only the wind soughing through the bent. But when he had passed beyond it, he suddenly heard a burst of lively music and turned round to look at what was causing it. And there, instead of the dark knoll which he had seen a few moments before, he beheld a great castle, with lights blaring from the windows, and heard the noise of dancing issuing from the open door. He went back somewhat incautiously to get a closer view, and a procession issuing at that moment from the Castle’s open door, he was caught up and taken into a great hall ablaze with lights, while people were dancing on the floor. He was at once asked to pipe to them and was forced to do so, but agreed to do so only for a day or two. At last getting anxious, because he knew his people would be wondering why he had not come back in the morning, as he had promised to do, he asked permission to return home. The faeries seemed to sympathise with his anxiety and promised to let him go if he played a favourite tune of his, which they seemed fond of, to their satisfaction. He played his very best. The dance went fast and furious, and at its close he was greeted with loud applause. On his release he found himself alone in the grey of the evening, beside the dark hillock, and no sound was heard save the purr of the burn and the soughing of the wind through the bent. Instead of completing his journey to Dollar, he walked hastily back to Glendevon in order to relieve his folk’s anxiety. He entered his father’s house and found no kent face there. On his protesting that he only gone away for a day or two before, and waxing loud in his bewildered talk, a grey old man was aroused from a doze beside the fire, and told how he had heard when a boy from his father that a piper had gone away to Dollar on a quiet evening, but had never been seen or heard since, nor any trace of him found. It turned out the piper had been in the ‘Castle’ for a hundred years.”

The Fortean experts John Keel (1971) and Jacques Vallee (1970) both contended, quite rightly, that some aspects of the ancient encounters related in such folklore has strong parallels to modern UFO ‘abduction’ events. In addition, Paul Devereux (1989) cites that such events occur where strong geomagnetic forces exist in proximity to rock outcrops, as found here.

There is the additional feature in these stories of the music of both faerie and pipers alike, whose revelling jigs carry the mortal out of time and, when returning back to human life, find no one recognises them.  This is a condition of some rites of passage in traditional societies, where mothers and fathers no longer recognise their child after they have been through the rituals after visiting spirit-lands and returning as adults for the first time: an element in our faerie-lore that has been overlooked in assessing the nature of these fascinating tales.


  1. Baillie, Bruce, History of Dollar, DMT: Dollar 1998.
  2. Devereux, Paul, Earthlights Revelations, Blandford: London 1989.
  3. Fergusson, R. Menzies, The Ochil Fairy Tales, David Nutt 1912.
  4. Keel, John A., UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse, Souvenir Press: London 1971.
  5. Rhys, John, Celtic Folklore – Welsh and Manx: volume 1, Oxford University Press 1901.
  6. Vallee, Jacques, Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers, Tandem: London 1975.
  7. Watson, Angus, The Ochils: Placenames, History, Tradition, PKDC: Perth 1995.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Lentran, Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire

Cist (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NS 798 973

Also Known as:

  1. Annfield
  2. Canmore ID 47129

Archaeology & History

On the level ground a half-mile south of the large Fairy Knowe prehistoric tomb, Bridge of Allan had a site of its own up until being destroyed sometime in the 19th century.  Nothing much is known about the tomb – or “cist containing a skeleton”, as the Royal Commission (1963) lads called it – apart from the notes given in J.E. Alexander’s (1868) essay on the Fairy Knowe, where he told:

“It is right, however, to mention, that a few years ago, in digging the foundations of the house of Annfield, Bridge of Allan, at nine feet from the surface, there was found in the sand, and apparently undisturbed, a fine cist, containing the skeleton of a young female; and under the right arm was a small clay urn, corroborating the opinion of Professor Innes, that in many cases the so-called urn was simply a domestic jar to contain food for the deceased.”

A Mr R. Swift from Bridge of Allan told that the cist was located at the newly-named Lentran, along Kenilworth Road.  Does anyone know anything more about it?


  1. Alexander, J.E., “Opening of the Fairy Knowe of Pendreich, Bridge of Allan,” in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries, Scotland, volume 7, 1868.
  2. Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments Scotland, Stirlingshire: An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments – volume 1, HMSO: Edinburgh 1963.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Market Cross, Kincardine, Fife

Cross:  OS Grid Reference – NS 93120 87515

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 48126
  2. Mercat Cross

Getting Here

Old Market Cross, Kincardine
Old Market Cross, Kincardine

Dead easy to find. Get into the centre of the lovely little town centre of Kincardine, down High Street, and there upon its steps at the roadside, you can’t miss the it!

Archaeology & History

A few days ago when I came to have a look at this old cross (17th century according to the Royal Commission) it was surrounded by protective railings while some work was being done in the town centre.  Thankfully it was a glorious bright day and allowed for some good photos!

It is a typical mercat cross, as Mair (1988) called them: a stone pillar, mounted on steps, with some sort of crowning edifice on top.  The monument was described in the Royal Commission (1933) report of the region, where they wrote:

“The market cross stands at the southern end of High Street and consists of an octagonal shaft with moulded base and capital, placed on a rise of six octagonal steps, having a spread of 14½ feet.  Above the square abacus is a stone sculptured with the arms of the Earls of Kincardine on the one side and a thistle ornament on the other.  The arms are: Quarterly, 1st and 4th, a lion rampart; 2nd and 3rd, a saltire and chief.  The shield is flanked by two men in armour as supporters, is surmounted by a coronet and helm, mantled and wreathed, and has for crest a naked arm, flexed, issuing out of a cloud and holding a man’s heart.  The cross must be later than 26 December, 1647, when the Earldom was created.”


  1. Beveridge, David, Culross and Tulliallan: Its History and Antiquities – 2 volumes, William Blackwood: Edinburgh 1885.
  2. Mair, Craig, Mercat Cross and Tolbooth, John Donald: Edinburgh 1988.
  3. Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments, Scotland, Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the Counties of Fife, Kinross and Clackmannan, HMSO: Edinburgh 1933.
  4. Small, John W., Scottish Market Crosses, Eneas Mackay: Stirling 1900.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian