To make it easier for contributors to add new sites, the pages for Scotland are currently being reorganised according to the present Scottish Council areas.
A map of these can be seen on the Gazetteer for Scotland website.
Reclusive American leaves Scotland his £2.5m fortune
A 79 year old recluse has left his fortune to the National Trust of Scotland. He had never visited apparently and his conception of Scotland was based on the film Brigadoon. His only friend, the barber, got the pug and a vet's bill.
Ramblers Scotland is backing a petition to force a Scottish Government review on unsightly vehicular hill tracks and electrified deer fencing in the Scottish countryside. "Neither requires planning permission and both cause scars on our wild landscapes" says Helen todd, Ramblers Scotland's development officer... continues...
Mathematical analysis of Scottish Stone Art points to lost language?
At New Scientist web site:
"Elaborate symbols and ornate depictions of animals carved in stone by an ancient Scottish people have given up their secret – to mathematics. Statistical analysis reveals that the shapes are a forgotten written language... continues...
In a silent move, the RCAHMS switched to a state-of-the-art update of the good old Canmore database on 11th March 2009.
It really looks much better and there are obvious advantages over the old format like direct access instead of a log-in procedure and, when available, a 10-digit gridref... continues...
The Hunterian museum is re-assembling his(mostly Northern Isles) donation and adding this to their catalogue as they go http://www.huntsearch.gla.ac.uk
At present this is text-only but images will be added over the coming months
The name "Thunderbolt" was also given in Scotland to stone axes until within recent years. A finely formed axe of aphanite found in Berwickshire, and presented to the Museum in 1876, was obtained about twenty years before from a blacksmith in whose smithy it had long lain. It was known in the district as "the thunderbolt," and had probably been preserved in the belief that it had fallen from the sky.
In Shetland stone axes were said to protect from thunder the houses inwhich they were preserved. One found at Tingwall was acquired from an old woman in Scalloway, who believed it to be a "thunderbolt," and "of efficacy in averting evil from the dwelling in which it was kept;" while another, believed to have "fallen from the skies during a thunderstorm," was preserved in the belief that "it brought good luck to the house."
In the North-East of Scotland they "were coveted as the sure bringers of success, provided they were not allowed to fall to the ground."
In the British Museum there is a very fine axe of polished green quartz, mounted in silver, which is stated to have been sewed to a belt which was worn round the waist by a Scottish officer as a cure for kidney disease.
The late Sir Daniel Wilson mentions an interesting tradition regarding the large perforated stone hammers, which he says were popularly known in Scotland almost till the close of last century as "Purgatory Hammers," for the dead to knock with at the gates of Purgatory.
Mr. Stuart adverted to the varying circumstances under which flint arrowheads were found. The popular belief which long regarded them as "elf-darts," and which was not confined to Scotland, had been expressed by the well-known Scottish geographer, Robert Gordon of Straloch, about two centuries ago. After giving some details about them, he adds that these wonderful stones are sometimes found in the fields, and in public and beaten roads, but never by searching for them; to-day perhaps one will be found where yesterday nothing could be seen, and in the afternoon in places where before noon there was none, and this most freqently under clear skies and in summer days. He then gives instances related to him by a man and woman of credit, each of whom while riding found an arrowhead in their clothes in this unexpected way.
Described on p174 of 'The Gentleman's Magazine' Jan-June 1861.
Insular stone Circles :-
In a talk on Wednesday by Colin Richards his subject was the Stone Circles in Orkney and Lewis, which contrary to expectation turned out to be of different natures and for different purposes. Those in Orkney are constructed of material from seperate areas (Stones of Stenness five different sandstones, Ring of Brodgar twelve different geologies in distinct segments of the circle that significantly aren't always curved arcs) whilst those on Lewis are built of rock from their immediate vicinity (also the evidence is that both Orcadian circles were intentionally incomplete, from which he infers the rituals of the construction were an end in themselves). His ?new idea is that those on Orkney had place as the key factor (place of origin, spatial community) whilst those on Lewis had folk as the key factor (family, dispersed community [moiety ?] }.
From which is extrapolated that our obsession with geometry and algnments isn't theirs, that what looks incomplete to us is meant as is, and that whatever comes after is most likely not the original intent, that being the construction process itself.
"I left Banks very happy and made my way to the Tomb of the Eagles. In comparison to Banks this place seems better organised in terms of signage and parking. I paid my entry fee (£6.80 I think it was) and was led into an adjoining room where a member of the staff was talking to a small group of visitors about the tomb."
"I was awoken at 5am by some other person arriving and parking right next to me with their radio blasting out… what is it with people and their need to make as much noise as possible regardless of what other people might think… I was very glad when the ferry arrived and I booked in, boarded and sat down somewhere quiet."
"After successfully transferring from train to bus and finally plane, I arrived in a reasonably sunny Inverness. It was about 4pm and after picking up the hire car I made my way towards the Bronze Age Clava Cairns, a short distance east from the city. On the way I noticed a sign for the Culloden battle field and decided to take a quick look (well, I was already going past it after all)..."
Cairn, cairnfield, hut circle and a nearby cist at Bruachaig.
Culaneilan cairn (NH 0375 6258)
This cairn, which is situated on a terrace at the foot of a slope, measures 7.7m in diameter by 0.6m in height. Its perimeter is defined by a kerb of boulders.
On the sloping terrace to the N, there is a partly robbed hut-circle, measuring 8.5m in diameter within a stone-faced bank about 1.3m in thickness and 0.4m in height. It is robbed of stone on the E and a gap has been cut through on the W.
Culaneilan settlement (NH 0371 6255)
This hut-circle, which lies to the N of a burn on moss-covered terrace, measures 9m in diameter within a wall of boulders 1.5m in thickness. There is an entrance on the SE marked by a dip in the bank and two external boulders set about 2m apart. The hut-circle is surrounded by sinuous stony dykes and small cairns.
Bruachaig cist (NH 0400 6219)
A short cist, containing a beaker was found in July 1898 at Bruchaig, Kinlochewe. The two flags covering the cist were at ground level.
Mrs. MacKenzie of Gairloch has lent the beaker to the National Museum - L.1963, 29. Other short cist burials seem to have been found in the district as Dixon records that "...an ancient burial-place was discovered some years ago at Bruchaig... where the bodies had been buried in a doubled-up position."
Mrs. MacKenzie confirmed the position of the cist at Bruchaig, which is now in ruins. Nothing is now visible at the spot nor have further burials been found.
A stone ball was found in or around this site, and appears to have been kept by Mr MacKenzie's nephew, Roderick, at his house. The ball was handed to Gairloch Heritage Museum after Roderick's death circa 1986.
On a terrace on a S-facing slope at the SW end of Gleann Bianasdail, beside the footpath to the summit of Slioch, there are the bracken-covered remains of a hut-circle, overlain by a shieling-hut and a small pen. The hut-circle measures 8.6m in diameter within a wall spread to 1.3m thick. No outer face is evident, but parts of the inner face survive, especially on the W and N, consisting of edge-set sandstone blocks up to 0.6m high, while a robber trench marks the line of that face on the S and E. Within the hut-circle there are the footings of a subrectangular shieling-hut, aligned NNW-SSE, and immediately beyond the robbed SSE arc of the hut-circle there is a small pen constructed of large stones.
A cist lying in the valley next to the River Bran. The cist was destroyed during road straightening, but added to TMA as it provides a tantalising hint that the apparent dearth of prehistoric occupation in these highland valleys is probably illusory.
Canmore has the following:
A short cist containing a beaker burial was found, late in July 1959, during road straightening through a natural morainic hillock.(W G Bannerman, County Road Surveyor) Only a piece of charcoal was found with the beaker which is in the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (NMAS)
A tale of strange fairy cows, that usually live (obviously) under the sea. Traigh Niosaboist is the beach immediately near the chambered cairn.
Several generations ago a herd of cows came ashore at Nisabost, which then formed part of the farm of Luskentyre, in South Harris. In order to prevent their return to the sea, if possible, the natives got between them and the shore, and drove them inland with the assistance of such weapons as lay ready to hand. It was discovered that even handfuls of sand thrown between these sea-cows and the shore checked their return to the sea. In many respects these particular animals resembled ordinary Highland cattle, although they were known to dwell under the sea, and to feed on the sea-weed called meillich in the Gaelic. Some of them broke back to the sea: others settled down at Luskentyre.
There doesn't seem to be much if anything left of the stones of the dun wall here at Balephuil, according to Canmore. But it was built in a very well protected spot, on a corner of a rocky stack sticking out into the sea.
I like this story a lot.
One night toward the close of the eighteenth century, when a certain Dugald Campbell was tending the cows belonging to the farm of Baile-phuil, on the coast of Tiree, a small, red cow came among the herd. The Baile-phuil cows immediately proceeded to set about it with their horns. When it fled, they followed it. Dugald joined in the pursuit, during which, as he himself testified, the little, red cow at one moment seemed to be quite near him, and at another moment very far off. The chase was brought to an abrupt end when the little, red cow entered the face of a rock, and thus disappeared from view, never to be seen again by human eye.
In relating this incident, Dugald Campbell insisted that he had the greatest difficulty in preventing the Baile-phuil cows from following the intruder into the face of the rock.
From The peat-fire flame by Alasdair Alpin MacGregor (1937). The cow of course is a red fairy cow, one of the cro sith which you might find on Tiree.
There is a folk-tale still told in Tiree of how an islander, when crossing the machar near Kennavarra, came within sight of [a cu sith, or fairy dog] crouching by a sand-dune, and immediately altered the direction in which he was making for home. Reflecting on this sinister spectacle the following morning, he resolved to put his courage to the test, and re-visit the sand-dune. Upon the sand at this point he discovered the imprints of a dog's paws, "as large as the spread of his palm." The imprints he traced for some distance, until they came to an end. He saw no dog anywhere, nor any beast likely to have left marks of this kind; and so he concluded that the object he had seen the previous evening was not of earthly origin, and must have been a faery dog.
From The peat-fire flame by Alasdair Alpin MacGregor (1937). As he explains, they are a creature of ill omen and move swiftly and noiselessly. They bark three times, 'and there is usually a fair interval between each bark, which gives to the terror-stricken hearer a chance of making for safety before he hears the third bark. Otherwise he is liable to be overtaken and destroyed by the faery dog'. Just to warn you.
Canmore's record for the fort (in the area of Ceann a' Mhara) is here.