The Journal Of Antiquities

Ancient Sites In Great Britain & Southern Ireland


Torphichen Sanctuary Stone, West Lothian, Scotland

Torphichen Sanctuary Stone

   OS Grid Reference: NS 96842 72506. An ancient standing stone known as the ‘Torphichen Sanctuary Stone’ is to be found at the west-side of the kirkyard and preceptory of Torphichen parish church, 2¼ miles to the north of Bathgate in west Lothian, Scotland. The stone has five small prehistoric cup-marks, but also a Celtic-style carving from the Dark Ages when St Ninian lived here, while on the top of the stone there is a medieval incised cross and a small hollow.  It is the central-most stone of three – the other two being within a 1 mile radius of the preceptory. The thinking is that the santuary stone came from the ancient site of Cairnpapple Hill, about 1½ miles to the east. Torphichen’s medieval church and preceptory are located at the east-side of the village on The Bowyett, which runs off from the B792 road. You will find the little standing stone set amongst the gravestones at the west-side of the grassy kirkyard.

   The little standing stone was set up here in the 12th century by the Knights Hospitallers (Knights of St John) to mark out a place of sanctuary or refuge for local people and pilgrims from further afield who wished to seek ‘a place of safety here’, or more likely the stone was already here when the Knights founded their preceptory/hospital and church in 1168; an incised cross was carved on the top of the stone and the little hollow carved to either hold a cross or maybe holy water? But the stone was used at an earlier date by St Ninian, who had settled here in the 4th century and, in the 7th century St Fechin, an Irish monk and missionary from the monastery of Fore, County Westmeath, apparently also made use of this standing stone – the Celtic-style carving on the stone would date from this time. The five small cup-marks on the side of the stone date from the early Bronze Age when it stood on Cairnpapple Hill where there is a Neolithic henge monument and Bronze Age cairn. The pre-ceptory which was the Knight’s Hospitallers Scottish base, is now in ruins although the central tower, west tower-arch and transepts remain; the nave was rebuilt in the 17th century and now forms part of the present parish church. Some of the domestic buildings and parts of the hospital also still stand.

   There are two other associated sanctuary (refuge) stones (West and East) both of which stand about 1 mile distant from the central stone here in the Torphichen kirkyard. The W stone, which had a Maltese cross carved upon it, is located at Westfield farm (OS grid ref: NS 9437 7211) while the E stone is at Easter Gormyre farm near the hamlet of Gormyre (OS grid ref: 9806 7311), according to the Canmore website entries.

Sources of information and related websites:-

Ancient Monuments — Scotland, Volume VI, H. M. Stationery Office, Edinburgh, 1959.

Bottomley, Frank, The Abbey Explorer’s Guide, Kaye & Ward, London, 1981.

The AA, The Illustrated Road Book Of Scotland, The Automobile Association, London, 1963.

http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=30653

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torphichen_Preceptory

http://www.armadale.org.uk/torphichen.htm

https://canmore.org.uk/site/47929/torphichen-churchyard-refuge-stone

https://canmore.org.uk/site/48010/westfield-farm-refuge-stone

https://canmore.org.uk/site/47915/gormyre-refuge-stone

                                                                                     © Ray Spencer, The Journal Of Antiquities, 2017. 


Les Causeurs Menhirs, I’le de Sein, Finistere, (Bretagne) Brittany

Les Causeurs Menhirs (photo credit: portalix - Wikimedia).

Les Causeurs(photo credit: portalix – Wikimedia).

    Latitude: 48.038149. Longitude: 4.851246. On a grassy mound at the south-west side of St Guénolé’s church on the I’le de Sein (Sein Island) – five miles off the Finistere coast at Pointe du Raz (Bretagne), Brittany, are two tall granite standing stones (menhirs) that are said to date from the Neolithic. These two standing stones may originally have been part of a stone circle. There are a number of myths and legends associated with these menhirs, and also the surrounding area in which they stand. The island, known as Enez Sun in Breton, is also steeped in pre-Christian myths and legends associated with druidic ritual. The standing stones can be seen on a low, grassy mound at the south-western side of St Guénolé’s Church (Eglise Saint-Guénolé) on the Place Francois-Le-Sud – just to the west of Port du Men-Briel.

    The two menhirs (long stones) are also known in the Breton language as Ar Brigourien – the Talkers, and Ar Fistillerian – the Orators or Gossipers, and sometimes Ar Predicateurs – the preachers. The smaller stone seems to lean toward the taller one – hence the name “The Talkers”. They stand on a low grassy mound which long ago may have supported a circle of standing stones – these two are all that remain of that, but where the other stones went to is not known. Or maybe they originally formed part of a stone row or sacred way. It is thought they were erected here in the Neolithic period of prehistory (6,000-2,500 BC). Les Causeurs menhirs stand respectively at 2.8m (9 ft 3′) and 2.3m (7 ft 6′) in height. The church of Saint Guenole (alias St Winwaloe) was obviously built close to the stones to Christianise what was, long ago in the island’s dark past, a pagan ritualistic site associated with the druids and, mysterious pagan priestesses called “The Senes” – the island taking its name from them

    The Breton author Henri Queffelec in his work ‘Un Recteur De L’ile De Sein’, tells us more about the island’s dark past. He says that: “In early times, the île de Sein was thought to be the haunt of supernatural beings. In the first recorded mention of the island in 43 A.D., in the work of the Roman geographer, Pomponius Mela, we are told that the Insula Sena possessed an oracle which was served by nine vestal virgins who had the capacity to control the elements and cure the apparently incurable. This tradition is later exploited by Chateaubriand in book IX of Les Martyrs (1809) in his description of the sacrificial activities of the Celtic druidess Velleda some of which take place on the “île de Sayne, île venerable et sacrée”. In the Middle Ages, the île de Sein is caught up in the Arthurian legends and according to some storytellers, is the birthplace of two of the most accom-plished magicians, the wizard Merlin, and Morgan La Fée.”

    Queffelec goes on to inform us about the legendary ville d’ Ys, which was the kingdom of King Gradlon: “the ville d’ Ys, according to legend, was once the kingdom of King Gradlon in the sixth century A.D. situated somewhere between the Point du Raz and the île de Sein, and protected from the sea  by a system of dykes. King Gradlon’s daughter, Dahut or Ahès, was captivated by the charms of a handsome young man who was really the devil in disguise; as a proof of her love for him, he ordered her to get the keys of the dykes from Gradlon, her father. Once in possession of the keys, the devil opened the dykes and the town of Ys was submerged for ever. Gradlon managed to escape and went to Quimper where his statue can be seen on the cathedral; Ahès was changed into a siren, the Marie Morgane who lures unsuspecting sailors to their end. The story of the submerging of the ville d’ Ys is related by Queffelec in his novel, Tempête sur la ville d’ Ys, published in 1962.”

    The Insight Guide ‘Brittany’, says of: “the fabled, drowned city of Is, [it was] the legendary capital of the kingdom of Cornouaille (echoes of Cornwall here).” It goes on to say that: I’le de Sein was the: “last refuge for the druids in Brittany.”

Sources and related websites:-

Insight Guide, Brittany, (First Edition), APA Publications (HK) Ltd., 1994.

Queffelec, Henri, Un Recteur De L’ile De Sein, George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd., London, 1972.

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Causeurs                                                                                                                                      (Photo displayed under the Licence Creative Commons 3.0).

http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=8863

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winwaloe

http://www.lafermedekerscuntec.fr/peninsulas-islands-brittany.htm

http://www.brittanytourism.com/discover-our-destinations/quimper-cornouaille/unmissable-sites/sein

The Ile de Sein

 


Standing Stones At Stones, Near Todmorden, West Yorkshire

Tall standing stones at the hamlet of Stones, near Todmorden.

Tall standing stone at the hamlet of Stones, near Todmorden.

    OS grid reference: SD 9252 2359. There are three standing stones at the hamlet of Stones near Todmorden, West York-shire, but in this case they seem to be reasonably “modern” in date. This off-the-beaten-track hamlet with the name “stones” is a curious one. It seems to be ‘in another time or realm of its own’, but an idyllic one. It lies just south-west of the imposing Victorian ediface Dobroyd Castle, once home to the industrious Fielden family of Todmorden. At least one of the standing stones was erected in the early 19th century, while the other two were put up around the same time or a bit later – perhaps in more recent times? And there is a fourth stone but this is recumbent and now lies in front of a well. To reach these standing stones it is best to drive into Bacup town centre, then the A681 (Bacup Road) through Sharneyford, and at Cloughfoot turn left onto the steep Sour Hall Road, then turn right onto Parkin Lane which soon becomes Stones Lane. The tallest of the stones is in front of you on the left-hand side. It will, however, be difficult to find a parking place on this narrow lane and difficult to turn around again!

Stone No 1 viewed from different angle.

Stone No 1 viewed from a different angle.

    The tallest of the three standing stones known as (No 1) is said to be 12 feet high and can be found in a farmer’s field beside Stones Lane and just to the west of Stones Farm. It is a hefty pillar of grey-black millstone grit from a local quarry that was obviously long exposed to the industrial chimney smoke of Todmorden in days gone by. We don’t really know when the gigantic stone was set up, and whether this is its original position, though it looks to be well supported at its base by a number of sturdy stones. It may have been erected after the Battle of Waterloo in 1812, rather like the other standing stone over to the north on the hillock called Centre Hill, or maybe this stone was placed here following another, perhaps, more recent battles like those of The Great War 1914-18. This seems more likely as there is evidence saying it was placed here in 1921, but other than that, we may never really know with any certainty. It is the fourth tallest standing stone in Yorkshire (Billingsley, John, ‘Folk Tales from Calderdale – Volume 1’.

Standing stone on Centre Hill. This is known as Stone No 2.

Standing stone No 2 on Centre Hill.

Stone No 2 on Centre Hill (from a different angle).

Stone No 2 on Centre Hill (from a different angle).

    The slightly shorter and thinner standing stone known as (No 2) stands atop a grassy hillock called Centre Hill (OS grid ref: SD 9254 2369) which is partly surrounded by a wooded area at the south-side and, just below that, a private residence called Model Farm. It is located some 95m north-east of, but more or less, in the same field as Stone No 1, although there is a low wall in between this and the little hillock.  This particular stone is held in place through the central hole of a large millstone – which is in turn supported below that on some other flat stones arranged in an equally circular fashion. We do know, however, with some sort of certainty that this stone was brought to its present position after 1812 and erected to commemorate ‘The Battle of Waterloo’. Centre Hill was originally the site of a beacon, according to author Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian. It looks as if this standing stone has at some point been used as a gatepost!

Stone No 3 at Stones Lane, near Todmorden.

Stone No 3 at Stones Lane, near Todmorden.

Stone No 4 lies in front of the well near Stones Lane.

Stone No 4 lies in front of the well near Stones Lane.

    Standing stone No 3 is located at the east side of a farmer’s field some 330m to the north-west along Stones Lane (OS grid ref: SD 9225 2380). It stands at just 4½ feet high and is a thin pillar compared to the other two stones, but it is quite a nice little standing stone. We do not know when this stone was placed here though it looks as if it might have been here for a much longer period of time. A little to the south of this stone, close to the wall, there is a well that has a ‘good’ constant supply of fairly clear water that comes down from the low hillside above. At the front of the well there is a 5 foot long, flat recumbent stone; this is considered to be the former standing stone No 4. The spring apparently began to flow or re-emerge when the stone was being dug-up, according to Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian. However, this well is not marked on recent OS maps nor are any of the standing stones for that matter!

    I think that in the recent past there were many other standing stones here but unfor-tunately these have been dug up and moved elsewhere in the locality, many being broken up and put to use in nearby walls.  The standing stones can be photographed from Stones Lane, but a word of caution here:  It is ‘unwise to climb over the walls’ to look at these standing stones.  There are gates, however, and if the farmer is driving along the lane in his tractor he might open these gates to allow access for one to get up closer!

Sources and related websites:-

Billingsley, John, Folk Tales from Calderdale, Northern Earth, Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, 2008.

https://megalithix.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/stonesfarm/

http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=10342

http://davidraven-uk.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/stones-of-stone-lane-in-er-stone-near.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dobroyd_Castle


The Calderstones, Allerton, Merseyside

The Calderstones (Photo Credit: Sue Adair (Geograph)

The Calderstones  (Photo Credit: Sue Adair (Geograph)

Os grid reference: SJ 4052 8757. Inside the palm house of the Calderstones Park Botanical Gardens at Allerton, Merseyside (originally in the county of Lancashire), stand 6 prehistoric megaliths known as The Calderstones, or the Caldwaye Stones, which are said to have come from a burial mound in the Allerton area back in the 1840s, although there is a record of them as far back as 1568 when they were being used as boundary markers and, at that time there were only three of them on view; the other three stones were excavated in the mid-19th century. These stones are thought to have ‘once circled’ the low mound which apparently had a burial chamber, or possibly a passage-grave at its centre. They are of interest, also, because they have carvings (rock-art) on them. The six standing stones, as they have always been referred to, were eventually brought to the Palm House in Calderstones Park, having stood near the entrance on Calderstones road (A562) and, opposite the aptly-named Druids Cross road. Liverpool city centre is 1 mile to the east.

The Calderstones, Allerton (1824)

The Calderstones, Allerton (1824)

The six stones range in height between 3-8 feet and probably date from the Bronze-Age. They are made of a hard sandstone. Of great interest are the carvings on them, there are a number of cup-and-ring marks on each one as well as spirals, and some other carvings that are more uncertain. When the mound at Allerton was excavated clay urns containing cremated bones and other artefacts were found, according to Mr W.A.Herdman in his work ‘A Contribution To The History of The Calder Stones near Liverpool’ (1896), adding credence to the probability that this was a burial chamber or passage-grave, but it could well have been a cairn circle due to the very fact that ‘these’ six megaliths had been discovered here; the stones would have almost certainly surrounded the chamber within the low burial mound (tumulus).

In 1845 the six Calder Stones were re-erected at the entrance to the park, and in 1864 they were examined by Sir James Simpson who declared them to be ‘part of a stone circle’; it was Sir James who identified the cup-marks and spirals and also wrote about them in 1865-7. In 1964 the stones were re-housed inside the Palm House (also called the Harthill Greenhouses), and here they stand as a fitting tribute to the antiquarians who discovered them back in the Victorian age.

Sources:

Photo credit:  Sue Adair (Geograph) © Copyright Sue Adair and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Geograph: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/401915

Fields, Kenneth., Lancashire Magic & Mystery, Sigma Leisure, Wilmslow, Cheshire, 1998.

Herdman, W.A., “A Contibution To The History of The Calderstones, near Liverpool”, Proceedings & Transactions of the Liverpool Biological Society, volume 11, 1896.

Simpson, James., “On the cup-cuttings and ring-cuttings on the Calderstones, near Liverpool”, Proceedings & Transactions of the Liverpool Biological Society, Volume 17, 1865.

Please see Paul Bennett’s very interesting, enthusiastic and in-depth site-page on The Northern Antiquarian: http://megalithix.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/calderstones/


Gray Hill Stone Circle, Llanfair Discoed, Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy)

Gray Hill Standing Stone (Photo credit Paul Sheppard/Geograph)

Gray Hill Standing Stone (Photo by Steve Sheppard)

Os grid reference: ST4380 9352. On the southern ridge of Gray Hill* (Mynydd Llwyd) 260 metres (854 feet) above sea-level and overlooking Penhein, Shirenewton, Caerwent and the Bristol Channel, in southern Monmouthshire, stands Gray Hill Stone Circle, a Bronze Age monument said by some historians to be older than Stonehenge! This ancient monument is best reached from Wentwood reservoir, then by ‘climbing up’ the hill and along the eastern ridge, and then dropping down the south-side of the hill to where there are some ancient quarry workings and, just below stands the circle of stones, quite a few of which now lie recumbant. There is another single standing stone over on the north-west side of the hill and another stone to the east on Mynydd Alltir-Fach (also known as Money Turvey Hill) which is aligned with Gray Hill Stone Circle. Llanfair Discoed is 1 mile to the south of the hill, Penhein is 2 miles to the south and the Roman town of Caerwent is 2 miles south-east. Caldicot is about 3 miles to the south-east. [*Gray Hill can also be spelt as ‘Grey Hill’].

Two Standing Stones on Gray Hill (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Two Standing Stones on Gray Hill (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

There are at least 13 stones ranging in height/length between 1.5 and 2.3 metres in a resonably well-defined (albeit broken) circle that is 32 feet (9.8 metres) in diameter, but there are also a few outliers; the stones are ‘said’ to have come from the quarries back up the hill. The circle is broken, miss-shapen at the west and east sides, the stones from these sides having been robbed-away in the mid 19th century. Only two of the thirteen stones are now standing, these are at the north and north-east of the circle, while a third stone has fallen over; one outer stone is still up-right, while another is recumbant. The outer up-right stone may well line-up with the Midwinter sunrise; the north-east stone and the fallen inner stone could also line-up with the Midwinter sunset. The two standing menhirs, which may be part of the cove, are rather jagged and ridged on their tops, one being quite tall, the one other small, but all the stones here are very sturdy and very substantial. It would have been quite a sight when they were all standing in the circle. A sort of ‘processional way’ to the second (outer) standing stone and barrow cemetary are evident at the east side of the circle, according to authors George Children & George Nash in their work ‘Prehistoric Sites of Monmouthshire’ 1996. Aubrey Burl described the monument as a cairn circle in 1977. So, with that in mind it’s plausable to say that there may have been a burial in the centre of the circle.

Fred Hando in ‘Hando’s Gwent’ 1987 seems quite passionate about the monument and informs us about his own theory regarding the circle and says: “when the ancient observers saw their stones in line with these horizon sunrises and sunsets they were able to advise their agricultural tribesmen what the seasons were. Such knowledge was power!”

Authors George Children & George Nash in their work ‘Prehistoric Sites of Monmouthshire’ mention that there is a ‘second possible stone circle’ to the west on Garn Wen at SO2803 2553 which is over 500 metres above sea-level and overlooks the Afon Honddu Valley and, and they go on to say there is a barrow cemetary at ST4410 9320 and a field system in the area of Gray Hill. Children & Nash say that “Gray Hill is regarded as one of the most important Bronze Age landscapes in the whole of Monmouthshire.”

An amusing end piece to this site is given by the author Chris Barber in his book ‘Mysterious Wales’  1987 in which he says: Historian W.H.Greene, in 1893, claimed to discover not one stone circle, but “acres of them” on Gray Hill. He recalled “that the hill was covered with prehistoric monuments and that the number could be counted in thousands.”

Sources:

Photo Geograph:  Copyright Steve Sheppard and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Photo Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_Hill,_Monmouthshire

http://www.ggat.org.uk/cadw/fun_rit/english/stone_circles/sc2.html

Children, George & Nash, George., Prehistoric Sites of Monmouthshire, Logaston Press, Almeley, Herefordshire, 1996.

Hando, Fred., Hando’s Gwent, ed. Chris Barber, Blorenge Books, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, 1987.

Barber, Chris., Mysterious Wales, Paladin, London W1X, 1987.

Palmer, Roy., The Folklore of (Old) Monmouthshire, Logaston Press, Almeley, Herefordshire, 1998.

Barber, Chris & Williams, John Godfrey., Ancient Stones of Wales, Blorenge Books, Abergavenny, 1989.

 


Men-an-Tol, Madron, Cornwall

Men-an-Tol, Cornwall, by J.T.Blight, 1874. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Men-an-Tol, Cornwall, by J.T.Blight, 1864. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

OS grid reference: SW 4264 3494. On the moors about halfway between Morvah and Madron, in Cornwall, stands the late Neolithic monument known as Men-an-Tol (the holed stone), with three standing stones and one now lying down, dating back to between 2,000-3,000 BC the late Neolithic to early Bronze-Age. This alignment of stones lies on a moorland footpath which branches off a track just to the west of the site. Here there is an alignment of three standing stones, the central stone (the Crick Stone) has a very large hole, while the fourth stone is recumbant; there may have been others here when the site was much bigger – quite a bit of the monument having been robbed-away over the centuries, prior to which it may have formed a circle of stones. Nearby, there are other prehistoric sites of interest. Madron village is 3 miles to the south-east, the town of Penzance is 3 miles to the south, and St Just is 4 miles to the south-west.

The three standing stones are all roughly 1.0 to 1.2 metres (3 foot 5 inches to 4 feet) high, the large ‘perforated’ hole in the central, round-shaped stone being 0.5 metres (1 foot 6 inches) in diameter (though Borlase, in 1749, says it is 1 foot 2 inches), and each stone is about the same distance apart (8-9 feet); the western-most stone was moved to its present position in the early 19th century and aligned with the others – along with the recumbant stone there are five or maybe six other outliers buried in the ground close-by, which make-up this circular ancient site, covering upto 18 metres (59 feet). To the south-east there are the faint earthworks of a cairn, its low mound just visible. Over the last two hundred years or so antiquarians have often ‘pondered,’ and been ‘rather puzzled’ as to whether these standing stones once formed a much larger stone circle and, some go even further, in thinking there was once a burial chamber or mound here, though today there are no signs of either of these, very sadly.

Men-an-Tol in 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Men-an-Tol in 2006 (Photo credit: Waterborough, Wikipedia)

The holed-stone was obviously used for fertility rituals and, maybe even magic, and the pointed stones next to it being ‘phallic in shape’; this being borne-out through the folklore and customs of the locality and its people in ‘days gone by’. The well-known authors Janet and Colin Board in their book ‘Mysterious Britain’, 1984, say that: Many of these stones are supposed to be helpful in curing certain illnesses, and children were once passed through the Men-an-Tol when they were suffering from rickets. Stones with holes big enough to crawl through, and with similar beliefs attached to them, can be found all over the world. There may once have been some benefits to be gained from such customs, …….certain stones can hold powerful currents passing through the earth, could not the hole serve as a focus for this power, which would pass into the body of, and give renewed vitality to, anyone climbing through the hole?” Young people would come to the holed-stone in order to consult the stone (oracle) with regard to their future love life, and two pins would be placed like a ‘cross’ on top of the stone and then they would, hopefully, move in a certain way. “This was interpreted in answer to a question put to the stone,” according to Bill Anderton in his book ‘Guide To Ancient Britain,’ 1991. Young children with tuberculosis, rickets and spinal problems were passed through the holed-stone three times, while a ‘childless’ women would have to crawl through the hole nine times to receive a cure. After that, hopefully they were cured!

There are several other important prehistoric monuments close by, the closest to Men-an-Tol being Men Scryfa Standing Stone half a mile to the north, and The Nine Maidens Stone Circle, 1 mile to the north-east. And 2 miles south stand West Lanyon Quoit and the more famous Lanyon Quoit.

Sources:

Bord, Janet & Colin., Mysterious Britain, Paladin Books (Granada Publishing Ltd)., London, 1984.

Anderton, Bill., Guide To Ancient Britain, Foulsham & Co. Ltd., London, 1991.

Darvil, Timothy., Ancient Britain (Glovebox Guide), The Automobile Association (The Publishing Division), Basingstoke, 1988.

http://www.megalithics.com/england/menantol/mentmp.htm

http://sacredsites.com/europe/england/men-an-tol_cornwall.html

Wikipedia  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mên-an-Tol

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%AAn-an-Tol


Inveryne Standing Stones, Argyll And Bute, Western Isles, Scotland

Os grid reference: NR9156 7496. In a field some 200 metres from the shoreline of Auchalick Bay in the west Cowal region and the parish of Kilfinan, Argyll and Bute, are three prehistoric standing stones known as the Inveryne Standing Stones or Auchalick Standing Stones, which are in fact a stone row, an alignment of shaped and jagged stones placed here 4,000 years ago. To reach these stones you need to come off the B8000 road about halfway between Kilfinan and Portavadie and ‘trek’ up a steep track passing Corr Mheall and then towards Inveryne farm – there are a number of other footpaths that lead in the same westerly direction but, be prepared for a long, arduous walk. The standing stones are approx 800 metres south-west of the farm, just to the north of Tigna Cladaich house. You can also reach the site from Melldalloch further to the east. Lochgilphead, the nearest town, is 8 miles to the north-west across Loch Fyne.

In the corner of a field near the footpath and a wooded area are three standing stones in a row looking rather forgotten and lonely in this rugged windswept landscape overlooking Loch Fyne and, in the distance the town of Tarbert. According to Canmore RCAHMS site no 39914 (1988) the three slabs vary in height and shape. The first stone at the north-east side stands at 0.75m (2ft 5) high and is straight-sided with a rounded top; the central stone is 0.95m (3ft 1) high, mainly rounded in shape with a natural depression, and the third south-westerly most stone is 1.05m (3ft 6) high and has a jagged top with slanting sides. A fourth stone, which is rarely mentioned lies abandoned on the ground close-by. There may have been other stones forming this alignment and, if that’s the case these must have been robbed away?

I do not know why these ancient stones are standing in this windswept location, unless they are in some way connected to a cup-marked rock to the north-east at Os grid reference NR9217 7578, which can be found beside the footpath to Inveryne farm, south-west of Corr Mheall and the B5000 road. There are other standing stones and ancient burial sites in the Cowal region and, also over on the Isle of Bute.

Sources: Canmore RCAHMS  http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/39914/details/inveryne/

Cowal and Bute Essential guide 2012, E & R Inglis Ltd., Dunnon, Argyll and Bute, 2012.

The Megalithic Portal  http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=1984&m_distance=0.0