Piper’s Crag Stone, Addingham Moorside, West Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 08497 47097

Also Known as:

  1. Carving no.44 (Hedges)
  2. Carving no.212 (Boughey & Vickerman)
  3. Piper’s Stone

Getting Here

Piper Stone (photo by James Elkington)

Follow the directions to reach our superb Swastika Stone from Ilkley, visible due to the iron railing that surround and protect the carving on the cliff edge.  From here, keep walking west along the Millenium Way footpath, over the stile of the first wall, then the second wall—six in all—for ⅔-mile (1km), where you’ll see another small crag of rocks on your right, just yards from the footpath.  You’re damn close!

Archaeology & History

When the great J. Romilly Allen (1882) visited the Ilkley petroglyphs in 1878, the Piper Stone was one that he wandered over to see—and he had this to say of it:

“At the edge of Piper’s Crag is a horizontal rock-surface, and on a portion of it, measuring 5ft by 7ft, are carved a series of fifteen cups varying in diameter from 2 to 3 ins.  Of these, one is surrounded by a single ring, four by a double ring, and one by a triple ring.”

Hedges 1986 sketch
Cowling’s 1940 sketch

This type of description, whilst accurate on the whole, rarely does justice to the carving.  It was echoed more than 100 years later in John Hedges’ (1986) survey, when he described the large rock jutting out to possess merely, “a complicated design of cups, rings and grooves.”  When Boughey & Vickerman (2003) did their follow-up survey, they added nothing more.

In an attempt to give some sort of meaning to the carving (and many others), the late great Eric Cowling (1940; 1946) placed it within Henri Breuil’s (1934) classification system, which assigns all carvings different degrees of complexity and form, from Classes 1-4.  The Piper Stone entered Breuil’s Class 3A, being one “with deeply cut and smoothed down grooves.” Whilst this may sound good on the surface, in truth such classifications are utterly meaningless outside of the tables and graphs of statisticians and the boring.  They give the appearance of quantitative research, but they have as much bearing on the nature of the carvings as an energy dowser healing the place with crystals.

Piper Stone (photo by Josh Millgate)

In the flesh, in the real world—so to speak—from the Piper Stone we are looking, not just at the carving, but its place in the landscape: an ingredient that more and more emerging archaeologists are recognizing has a synergistic relationship with some petroglyphs.  And here we have an impressive landscape that reaches out ahead of us for many miles.  We look primarily to the north: the Land of the Dead in many traditional northern cultures.  But our panorama here is 180º, with east and west horizons having the potential for measuring equinoctial periods in the cycle of the year.  But in truth this is sheer speculation.

It’s a worthwhile carving to see, both for its views and its excess of non-linearity.  In its form, Rorscharch impressions of early humans emerge; the usual solar and lunar symbols can be seen; star systems seem apparent; maps or settlement ground-plans could be there.  We know that somewhere within it is the animistic ‘spirit’ of the rock itself, but the forms it exalts are, once again, all but lost on us modern folk…

References:

  1. Allen, J. Romilly, “Notice of Sculptured Rocks near Ilkley,” in Journal of the British Archaeological Association, volume 38, 1882.
  2. Allen, J. Romilly, “Cup and Ring Sculptures on Ilkley Moor,” in The Reliquary and Illustrated Archaeologist, volume 2, 1896.
  3. Anonymous, Walks around Cup and Ring Stones, TIC: Ilkley n.d. (c.1990).
  4. Baildon, W. Paley, “Cup and Ring Carvings: Some Remarks on their Classification and a New Suggestion as to their Origin and Meaning,” in Archaeologia, volume 61, 1909.
  5. Bennett, Paul, “Cup-and-Ring Art”, in Towards 2012, volume 4, 1998.
  6. Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Milverton 2001.
  7. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS: Wakefield 2003.
  8. Breuil, Henri, “Presidential Address for 1934,” in Proceedings Prehistoric Society East Anglia, 7:3, 1934.
  9. Collyer, Robert & Turner, J.H., Ilkley: Ancient and Modern, William Walker: Otley 1885.
  10. Cowling, E.T., ‘A Classification of West Yorkshire Cup and Ring Stones,’ in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 1940.
  11. Cowling, E.T., Rombald’s Way: A Prehistory of Mid-Wharfedale, William Walker: Otley 1946.
  12. Hedges, John (ed.), The Carved Rocks on Rombalds Moor, WYMCC: Wakefield 1986.

Acknowledgements:  Huge thanks to Josh Millgate and James Elkington for use of their photos in this site profile.  Cheers guys. 🙂

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Allt a’ Choire Chireinich (06), Ben Lawers, Kenmore, Perthshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NN 65309 39553

Getting Here

Allt a’ Choire Chireinich 6

Follow the directions to reach the faint but impressive Allt a’ Choire Chireinich (04) petroglyph.  Standing here, you’ll notice the large boulder that looks as if it’s fallen down the slope immediately to your left.  You can’t really miss it.

Archaeology & History

Beneath the gorgeous excess of ancient lichens you can make out at least three cup-marks on the south-facing sloping rock-face in the top-half of the boulder.  There may be some other faint cups on here, but due to the lichens they are very difficult to see, so I’m erring on the side of caution regarding their veracity.  This is another one of those carvings likely to be interest only to the most ardent petroglyphic nuts amongst you.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Allt a’ Choire Chireinich (05), Ben Lawers, Kenmore, Perthshire

Cup- Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NN 65305 39555

Getting Here

Allt a’ Choire Chireinich 5

Follow the directions to reach the faint but impressive Allt a’ Choire Chireinich (04) petroglyph.  Standing here, look straight down at the dried-up burn barely ten feet below you, where you’ll see a small sloping rock.  That’s it!

Archaeology & History

Nothing much to see here apart from a single shallow cup-marking.  Most likely of interest only to the most ardent petroglyphic explorer.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Nether Glenny (42), Port of Menteith, Perthshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NN 5643 0229

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 87397

Getting Here

Archaeology & History

The stone in situ

The easiest way to see this is to reach the Nether Glenny 2 Cairn, looking north to the slope a coupla hundred yards away, where you can see a long rock halfway up.  If you can’t see it from here, walk to the impressive Nether Glenny 35 Carving, where the large long slab is much more obvious on the hillside. Walk through the gates to the Nether Glenny 37 carving and then diagonally up to the rock itself.  You can’t really miss it.

This 15-foot long stone halfway up the slope was said by the Royal Commission lads to have “four possible cup-marks” on it, whereas there are at least nine of them and maybe as many as eleven!  Most of them are dead certs as prehistoric etchings, not just ‘possibles’.

Small faint cluster of cups
Some of the faint cups

The more visible cup-marks here are found on the more western end of the stone, just below the grass-line.  The cups here are quite distinct, measuring some two-inches across and nearly half-an-inch deep in two of them.  The others in this section are a little smaller and further down the slope of the rock.  Seemingly not noticed for a long long time however is a small cluster of very faded cups, gathered like a very faint 4-star Pleiades cluster more than halfway along out in the photo here (I hope!).

The biggest of the cups

This entire area is covered with cup-and-ring stones, possessing one of the greatest densities of carvings anywhere in Scotland.When we visited the place last week, Nature was pouring with rain, so we weren’t able to sketch the design.  Something that we’ll hopefully amend in the near future!

References:

  1. Brouwer, Jan & van Veen, Gus, Rock Art in the Menteith Hills, BRAC 2009.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian


Nether Glenny (37), Port of Menteith, Perthshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NN 56322 02162

Getting Here

Another Netherglenny carving

About 1 mile west of where the B8034 meets the A81, between the Port of Menteith and Aberfoyle, a small road on the right (north) at Portend takes you up the single-track road to Upper Glenny.  Go 2-300 yards up past Mondowie Farm and take the next track, left.  Walk up through the gate for nearly 300 yards, going through the gate on your left and onto the fields.  Follow the fence for 300 yards then go through the gate into the next field—past one of the Nether Glenny cairns—and walk across it until you reach an open gate at the far side, just where the hillside goes up.  It’s nearly under your feet!

Archaeology & History

Close-up of the cup&ring

This single cup-and-ring carving, found amidst the massive cluster of both simple and highly complex petroglyphs between Ballochraggan and Upper Glenny, doesn’t seem to have been included in any previous surveys.  It was located during the incredible rains yesterday on Sunday 7 February, wetting this and other rocks, enabling better visibility of otherwise invisible symbols faintly remaining here and on other stones.  The carving appears to have been etched into naturally occurring notches and fissures.  Certainly worth looking at when exploring the other incredible carvings on this hillside.

References:

  1. Brouwer, Jan & van Veen, Gus, Rock Art in the Menteith Hills, BRAC 2009.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian


Nether Glenny (35), Port of Menteith, Perthshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NN 56425 02099

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 24041
  2. Menteith 26
  3. Nether Glenny 19

Getting Here

Archaeology & History

Netherglenny 35 stone

Take the same directions as if you’re visiting the nearby Nether Glenny 2 cairn. Once here, walk less than 100 yards further down into the same field, north, roughly parallel with the fencing.  You’ll reach several large rocks, and the elongated one on the slight rise closer to the fence is the one you’re after.  You’ll find it!

This is one in a number of impressive cup-and-ring stones scattered along this grassy ridge overlooking the Lake of Menteith and the Gargunnock Hills to the south.  Petroglyph lovers amongst you will love it!  And it seems that with each and every analysis, the carvings gives up more and more of its ancient symbolism.  When it was first described (in a literary sense) by Maarten van Hoek (1989) he told it to be:

“Irregular outcrop with at least 72 single cups; 3 cups with 2 rings; 6 cups with 1 ring and 2 possible horse-shoe rings only.”

But when Kaledon Naddair (1992) visited the site a few years later he amended this initial description, telling us how,

“Further temporary turf removal extended the total to 124 solo cups, and 9 cups with 1 ring, and 5 cups with 2 rings.”

Cups & rings & cups….
Western side of carving

Naddair’s description is closer to our own inspection, although I think that a small number of the ‘cups’ are natural.  Other features that we’ve found occur on the more western side of the rock.  A faint partial-double-ringed cup is accompanied a few inches away by a carved element that seems to have been unfinished.  An initially indistinct circle, faintly pecked, has internal lines at the quadrants, akin to an early cross form.  A line emerges from this symbol which also seems to have been slightly worked.

Subsequent investigations of this carving has uncovered much more which, to be honest, requires almost an entire re-write of this profile……

…to be continued…

References:

  1. Brouwer, Jan & van Veen, Gus, Rock Art in the Menteith Hills, BRAC 2009.
  2. Naddair, Kaledon, “Menteith (Port of Menteith parish): rock carvings”, in Discovery & Excavation Scotland, 1992.
  3. van Hoek, Maarten, “Menteith (Port of Menteith parish) rock art sites”, in Discovery & Excavation Scotland, 1989.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian


Nether Glenny (28), Port of Menteith, Perthshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NN 5619 0197

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 78348
  2. Menteith 20 (van Hoek)

Getting Here

Netherglenny 28 carving

Take the same directions to reach the Nether Glenny cairn (about 1 mile west of where the B8034 meets the A81, between the Port of Menteith and Aberfoyle, up a small road on the right [north] at Portend) and walk to its companion cairn 100 yards north. From here, walk west across the field towards the nearby forest.  Nearly 20 yards from the wall and about 35 yards from the corner of the field where it meets the forest, this elongated stone lies amidst the grasses and reeds. You’ll find it.

Archaeology & History

…and from another angle

Looking somewhat like a small fallen standing stone (the Royal Commission list just such a stone nearly 200 yards east), this slim elongated rock was first described in Maarten van Hoek’s Menteith (1989) survey where he told it to be a “loose slab north of the…burn, bears at least thirteen cups.”  But of the “thirteen cups”, only five of these (seven at the most) appear to be man-made.  The others are, quite distinctly, geophysical in origin (and in all probability, the other cups were forged from the geological nicks and dimples).  One of them may have the faint remains of a ring around it, but this is uncertain.  When we visited the site yesterday, the light was poor and although this ‘ring’ seems to show up on a couple of photos, I’m erring on the side of caution.

References:

  1. Brouwer, Jan & van Veen, Gus, Rock Art in the Menteith Hills, BRAC 2009.
  2. van Hoek, Maarten, Menteith (Port of Menteith parish) Rock Art Sites,” in Discovery & Excavation Scotland, 1989.

Acknowledgements:  Huge thanks to Paul Hornby and Nina Harris for their help and endurance at this site, amidst healthy inclement Scottish February weather!  Another damn good day!

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian


Allt a’ Choire Chireinich (04), Ben Lawers, Kenmore, Perthshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NN 65306 39560

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 238575

Getting Here

The petroglyph & its associates

The petroglyph & its associates

Along the A827 road between Killin and Kenmore, park-up at the Tombreck entrance and cross the road, taking the long track which eventually zigzags up the slope of Ben Lawers.  Keep your eyes on the copse of trees a few hundred yards east that runs up the slopes.  Head towards this, past the multiple-ringed Allt a’ Choire Chireinich stone, then AaCC 2 and AaCC3 carvings, then notice on the other side of the stream a couple of large boulders.  That’s the spot!

Archaeology & History

This faint but intricately carved petroglyph is one in a cluster of three carvings, right next to each other—and it’s the best of the bunch by a long way.  A single cup-marking is found on the flat stone beneath this one (AaCC5); whilst the large egg-shaped boulder in front has perhaps a half-dozen cups on it (AaCC6).

Alex Hale's sketch of the carving

Alex Hale’s sketch of the carving

Faint remains of concentric rings

Faint remains of concentric rings

The large flat-topped boulder of AaCC4 however, possesses at least seventeen plain cup markings, along with twenty-four cup-and-rings, six cup-and-double-rings, three cup-and-three rings, three cup-and-four rings, and one cup-and-five rings!  There are some carved lines that emerge from several of the cups, with all of the three cup-and-four rings having a carved pathway emerging from the central cup and going out of the concentric system.  It’s quite a beauty!  And it sits upon the ridge next to the clear drinking waters of the burn, gazing out over Loch Tay and the mountains all around in a quite beautiful landscape.

Immediately above and below the carvings are a number of settlement spots or shielings, known to have been used until recent centuries.  They were quite ideal living quarters and some of the old folk here, in bygone days, would have known old customs and stories of this petroglyph.

References:

  1. Hale, Alex, “Prehistoric Rock Carvings in Strathtay,” in Tayside and Fife Archaeological Journal, 2009.
  2. Yellowlees, Sonia, Cupmarked Stones in Strathtay, Scotland Magazine: Edinburgh 2004.

Acknowledgments: Huge thanks to Lisa Samson, Fraser Harrick and Paul Hornby for their help reaching this site and exploring still further.  Let’s do it again sometime before I vanish forever up into the far North!

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian


Allt a’ Choire Chireinich (03), Kenmore, Perthshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NN 65249 39579  –  NEW FIND

Getting Here

Allt a' Choire Chireinich 03 Stone

Allt a’ Choire Chireinich 03 Stone

Take the same directions to reach the large rounded Allt a’ Choire Chireinich 02 carving.  Walk 65 yards (60m) northwest diagonally uphill to another large rounded stone of similar size.  That’s the one!

Archaeology & History

A large cup-marked boulder, not previously recognised, was rediscovered on the afternoon of May 15, 2015.  The great majority of the rock surface is covered in aged lichens, but at least three well-defined cup-markings were noted on the upper rounded surface of the stone: one near the middle of the stone; one near the centre-north; and another towards the top northwest section of the stone.  The cups are more than an inch in diameter and eighth-of-an-inch deep.  Others may be in evidence beneath the vegetation.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian


Allt a’ Choire Chireinich (02), Kenmore, Perthshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – NN 65218 39525

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 291477

Getting Here

Allt a' Choire Chireinich 2 stone

Allt a’ Choire Chireinich 2 stone

Along the A827 road between Killin and Kenmore, park-up at the Tombreck entrance and cross the road, taking the long track which eventually zigzags up the slope of Ben Lawers.  Keep your eyes on the copse of trees a few hundred yards east that runs up the slopes and when you are level with the top of it, walk along the line of walling that heads to it.  Go past the top of the trees and the first big boulder you reach is the fella in question.

Archaeology & History

Adjacent to an ancient trackway that runs across the slopes of the mountain, this large glacial boulder sits proudly on the slopes calling out for attention — and attention it certainly received countless centuries ago, when local people (perhaps) decided to cut at least nine cup-markings onto the top of the rock.

Lichen-encrusted cups

Lichen-encrusted cups

Lichen-encrusted cups

Lichen-encrusted cups

The surface today is encrusted with olde lichens of colourful hues, beneath which may be other cup and ring carvings; but as I’m a great lover of such forgotten medicinal primers, I wasn’t about to scratch beneath their bodies to find out.  This petroglyph is worth looking at when you’re exploring the other, more impressive carvings in this Allt a’ Choire Chireinich cluster.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian