Sunday, 8 December 2013

How I got Stoned on Kilmartin Glen Prehistoric Site

 “How many museums can you go to where you can examine a Bronze Age pot and look out of the window and see the burial mound where it came from?” Tony Robinson, Time Team 

Ballymeanoch Standing Stones
Ballymeanoch Standing Stones
        Kilmartin was on my list for one and only reason: its standing stones. I have always been fascinated with these mysterious relicts from the past. Nobody can figure out why the same pattern (dolmens, kromlehs, standing stones) is to be found on the island, in France, Eastern Europe, Caucasus and God only knows where else. They are, beyond doubt, connected with the position of the constellations and probably represent some sort of ancient wisdom.   
       If you are coming from Oban to Kilmartin for a day (as it was my case), you have to limit your choice and check out a certain number of the available 150 prehistoric monuments. But in case you are staying longer, go ahead and try to cover the whole region.

Cairn in Kilmartin Glen
Nether Largie group of standing stones
Nether Largie Standing Stones

         Basically, what I did was a circle, starting from the center and following the pathway behind the church going south. It took me roughly 4 hours of moderate walk. I passed the cairns and then the first portion of standing stones. No blah-blah, take a look at the pictures below.

Cup and Ring Marks on a single stone
Marks on the Stone
           I tried to look for the Cup and Ring marked Rock around Stockavullin. I couldn’t see any indication ,so I decided to go back on the route (to Dunadd Fort). I don’t want to pick on the Scottish folks but a few more signs on the trail could have reassured me I was moving in the right direction.
          My walk went on past a few small farms and numerous herds. When I reached the river, I thought it would be better to turn left and slowly start to go back. All of a sudden, I came across a sign Moine Mhor (I know it sounds like the Lord of the Rings) Nature Reserve. I could not skip this.

Ballymeanoch Row of Standing Stones
Ballymeanoch Row 
        After some time, I heard in the distance vehicles rumbling. The main road was close. I was 80% convinced I had missed the Ballymeanoch group of standing stones. Once again the God of the Scottish Warrior had mercy on me. There they were, right in front of my eyes, scattered around, as if on a giant chessboard. I grabbed this opportunity to touch the megaliths in hope of obtaining some of their magnetism.   
         You can call me stingy ..... but I don’t like spending money on drinks and stuff when I am on a trip. But, in these surroundings, I really felt like spending a few pounds on a cup of tea and home-made cake. So, back in the centre of Kilmartin, I gave my modest share for preserving the local customs and heritage. Make sure you don’t miss the lunar stone and the churchyard with the collection of medieval carved grave slabs, close to the bus station.

                                       Anyway, my overall impression: aye 10 out of 10. 

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